Don't Blame It on Jayson Blair

Big media's big problem isn't plagiarism--it's a passion deficit

When the New York Times's Jayson Blair was busted for plagiarism and fabrications--and then its star writer Rick Bragg was suspended and quit after claiming an intern's reporting as his own--the media lit up like the switchboard of a gossipy small town. Reporters investigated reporters. The Times newsroom erupted in finger pointing. Journalism professors raised themselves up on their suede elbow patches to tsk-tsk. Newspapers worriedly reviewed their policies. Collectively, we agonized: Will the public ever trust us again?

Don't sweat it! the public replied. We didn't trust you in the first place! That's the message, anyway, of a USA Today/CNN/Gallup...

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