About 8 years ago, while in the midst of his book promotional tour after he was caught fabricating and plagiarizing quotes for the New York Times, I did an email interview with Jayson Blair. At the time, this was a great get for a website called The Black Table and our media interview series, even though Blair was trying to sell his book and had pretty much accepted any request without hesitation.
Former NYT managing editor Gerald Boyd lost his job after the Jayson Blair scandal, which could be interpreted either as just desserts for snoozing while Blair fucked up the paper, or as an unjustified bit of scapegoating—made worse by the fact that Boyd was black, and the NYT wasn't exactly swarming with minority execs at the time (or ever!).
• Get ready to see commercials appear inside magazines. CBS is embedding tiny screens in an upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly, which will play a clip promoting the network's fall season. What will it look like? Like this. [WSJ]
• Poor Rupert: The billionaire chairman of News Corp. only collected a compensation package of $18 million for the most recent fiscal year, which is down from $30 million, or 40 percent, from a year earlier. [AP]
• David Letterman continues to beat Conan O'Brien in the ratings. [NYT]
• Did Glenn Beck get yanked off the air after stirring up so much controversy recently, or is he on a regularly scheduled vacation? It's a mystery! [Politico]
• 60 Minutes is planning to air a tribute to Don Hewitt this Sunday. [NYT]
• Meghan McCain is returning to The View as a guest host. How thrilling. [NYP]
• Reader's Digest is one step closer to officially filing for bankruptcy. [NYT]
• What is Jayson Blair, the disgraced ex-New York Times reporter, up to these days? He's a "certified life coach" for a mental health facility. [Gawker, AP]
On Monday at a Manhattan screening of We Live in Public, a documentary about Pseudo's late-'90s experiments in 24/7 Internet broadcasting (you can watch the trailer here, a bearded man got up and started ranting about how his obsession with one of Pseudo's programs, Toilet Boys, forced him to seek high-speed Internet access at the local library at 11:30 at night. He then called Harris a "fucking megalomaniac," lept onto the stage, and attacked him.
Keri Russell turns 33 today. Kenneth Cole turns 55. Chef Tom Valenti is 50. Author Jonathan Ames is 45. Ex-con shoe mogul Steve Madden turns 52. Real estate broker Leslie Garfield turns 77. Actress Catherine Keener is 50. Disgraced ex-Times reporter Jayson Blair is 33. Chaka Khan is turning 56. Actress Michelle Monaghan is turning 33. Perez Hilton is 31. Ric Ocasek of The Cars is 60. Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew, is turning 19. And John Bobbitt—remember him?—turns 42 today.
We were sent this tear-jerking tale of the going-away party for a New York Times employee who got the best gift ever. "The story: Merrill Perlman, the director of copy desks at The Times, who has 'chosen' to leave the paper (read: got pushed out) received a send-off today in the same spot where the Pulitzers were given out earlier this year. (This, after the farewell had originally been scheduled for the Page One conference room - never mind that the copy editors constitute the biggest staff in the New York office.)" Read on!
Superstar MarketWatch media columnist Jon Friedman remembered recently that there was this young fellow who worked for the Times once who got in trouble for making things up and lying. It was a bit of a scandal! It happened five years ago this... season, so Friedman asks a couple folk what they think of the current state of media ethics. Salon's Joan Walsh says the Jayson Blair (for that was the fabricator's name) scandal forced writers and editors to remind themselves not to lie, or to maybe fact-check once in a while. Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell says the scandal encouraged more papers to issue corrections more often and not plagiarize so much. But a couple critics note that Jayson Blair is really the least of the newsmedia's woes in 2008.
Lehman Brothers' Japan office is under scrutiny for making a little mistake: it lost a $350 million investment in a fraud. They thought the project they were investing in was backed by a reputable Japanese trading house, but it really wasn't. How did the scammers pull off their master plan? With fake stationery and business cards. Yes: somebody showed them some documents with an "official" company seal, handed over that genuine-looking business card, and next thing you know, $350 million! When things like this—or, say, a low-level trader at Societe General losing $7 billion by himself— happen at some of the world's top financial institutions, the impulse is to call those involved idiots or crooks. And sometimes they are. But guess what: getting scammed can be way easier than you think. And that especially goes for journalists!
Thanks ever so much to those who submitted possible sin-erasing obituaries for ex-New York Times staffer Jayson Blair. The challenge was to come up with a first line that could successfully supplant likely references to Blair's career crash at the NYT. Hardly any references to hard drug use, disappointingly. The winner and honorable mentions, after the jump.
We're glad to see that disgraced New York Times journalist Jayson Blair is larding his self-pity with more angry cynicism these days. However, in Matt L. Perrone's otherwise charmingly angry extended interview on PopMatters (conducted when Blair served as MC at a high school awards ceremony in Virginia), the man shows the strain a bit. When asked how his death notice would read, a grin-deflated Blair responds, "I cannot imagine anything I could do, no matter how long I live, that will change that first line of my obituary."
We were recently directed to PX This., the "witty, irreverent (star-studded) four year journal of a struggling New York commercial-artist/fashion-designer moonlighting as a maitre d' at some of Manhattan's most well-known restaurants." While perusing its contents, we came upon the following entry (all contents completely [sic]):