Like all of us, I've been following the public discussion surrounding the Jayson Blair fiasco at the New York Times. I agree with the general assessment that quota-based "affirmative action" was at the root of a problem which allowed an incompetent young man to rise through the ranks at the Times. The devotion to the facade of "diversity" by using skin color as the benchmark is nothing more than a patronizing dog-and-pony show which has nothing to do with real diversity--that of the intellectual variety. New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines' obsession with the shallowness of skin color simply eclipsed any requirement for basic competence.
That's the real story, by the way. Some people are still scratching their heads, asking how is it that someone as pathetic as Blair could not only get hired at the Times, but thrive. The answer is really quite simple--Jayson Blair represents the Left's Ideal Man. After all, the insult of affirmative action stems from the idea that America is racist, and those poor black people need the generous, helpful White Man to help them make a good life.
When Perpetual Victimhood keeps young black men especially from being able to succeed, it's inevitable in the view of Leftists, that only incompetent young black men are available. Of course, that's not their fault, the Left argues. It wasn't Jayson Blair's fault either, you see. No, it's the fault of everyone else. As a result, Howell Raines, in all of his insulting, myopic, cloying Leftist pandering, is only able to see and promote and embrace a young black man as unfit as Blair.
That's why a 22-year-old Ward Connerly or Thomas Sowell would never be able to get in the front door of the Times. Young black men who think differently, challenge the status quo and by their very existence contradict the Leftist worldview, are invisible to patronizing buffoons like Raines. God help us, they might not even be Leftists, "liberal," and they might even see Jesse Jackson and Maxine Waters for the circus clowns they really are.
So how does the Left explain independent black men who have come into their own? They call them names and try to isolate them. Like the New York Times refusing to go to them for opinion, to use their quotes or to ask for their critical assessment of the world we live in. When they're not being talked to by mainstream media, epithets are being tossed their way. They're Uncle Toms, or Puppets of the Right, or misguided. "House boy" is another favorite the magnanimous and tolerant Left love to hurl at black men who dare to be radical individuals and refuse to be victims.
By contrast, what has Jayson Blair been called before and after his unmasking? "Brilliant." "Charismatic." "Troubled." "Victim." In other words, he was perfect for the New York Times. At least he's not an Uncle Tom.
The New York Times shows us that there is bias in the mainstream media, and it is indeed aimed at black men: the truly brilliant, truly intellectual independent young black man, that is, who challenges the status quo, who is determined to report reality whatever road it may take him down, including one that is non-Leftist. That man will always be discriminated against by the Left.
Of course, there's also an additional explanation why Blair fit so well within the Times culture. The mainstream media in this nation, led by that newspaper of record, has a singular Leftist agenda. After all, if the Times itself refuses to consider and fairly report on people and issues that contradict the Leftist agenda (a major segment of the real world), that's a culture which lies by omission. So ironically, Jayson Blair gets nailed for lying about details and making things up at a newspaper which misrepresents reality every day to every reader. It must make it much easier for the individual reporter to figure, hey, we're not being honest about the world itself, this little made up quote or plagiarized paragraph isn't such a big deal.
Consequently, it's not just Jayson Blair who has been caught bending the rules at the Times for misrepresenting a dateline or a quote. In just the beginning of an investigation which will inevitably uncover a festering mess, two other reporters have now either resigned or been suspended. One of its primary opinion writers (and malignant narcissist) Maureen Dowd has also been caught twisting and misrepresenting a quotation of President Bush. Surprise.
The Left expects, demands and excuses the worst in everyone. It, in fact, revels in the hopelessness someone like Blair represents. Because the world is an awful place, because there is no hope, so we can do no better. That is Howell Raines' world, and it is the damaged, myopic world of the New York Times.
Just as none of us expected the fall of the Soviet Union, it was inevitable. The crumbling of the Soviet system was the best thing that ever happened to the Russians. Now, the best thing New Yorkers and everyone else who has a commitment and expectation of fair and balanced journalism should hope for is the collapse of the New York Times. It deserves to fail because we deserve better.