February 12, 2015
DOES IT MATTER if Brian Williams ever returns to his anchor chair? Not to me. I'm not among the 26 percent of Americans watching network news daily. But his story is important - for what it tells us about ourselves, for what it means to journalism. On one level it's familiar: a person in a powerful position pulled down by his own faults; a case of obvious intelligence overridden by judgment gone AWOL. We see such stories regularly. It's just that this one involves someone at the pinnacle of a profession who's supposed to seek the truth yet, sadly, seems to have trouble knowing it when he sees it. The "NBC Nightly News" boss, who early in his career (1986-87)
December 6, 2007
WHEN YOU READ the following, consider the so-called "Bonnie and Clyde" couple: "Let's face it. Everyone cheats. You may think you don't, you may try to convince yourself that you're above reproach, but you're not. "It's part of the human condition to be a little bit sneaky, a wee bit opportunistic and just a tad shady. We all strive to be our best selves, but deep down in the darkest recesses of our souls, there's always a part of us that says, 'Try to get it done the easy way, and don't worry about stepping on that other guy!
September 22, 2004 |
THEY WERE doing the monkey dance around the still-sizzling corpse of Dan Rather's career yesterday. It was like that scene from "The Wizard of Oz" where the apes leaped gleefully as the Wicked Witch of the West fizzled into oblivion. Between conservative talk-radio hosts and acid-penned bloggers, it was a confirmation ball for people who believe the major media are willing tools of the liberal establishment. Rather, who will be 73 soon, is in the stretch run of a mostly distinguished career.
April 25, 2004 |
Jack Kelley dazzled his editors at USA Today with gems no other reporter could find, such as a trek to Osama bin Laden's terrorist camps, and a bullet-by-bullet account of an ambush in the Yugoslav mountains. But those stories proved wholly or substantially untrue, while others were lifted from other publications. And much like last year's Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times, a leading newspaper found itself duped by a charming fabricator and information swindler. Last week, following the resignations of top editors at USA Today, journalists were asking what they should do to prevent such frauds and retain the public's trust.
March 21, 2004 |
Jayson Blair has been on a media blitz to promote his memoirs, Burning Down My Masters' House, which details his notorious stint as a reporter with the New York Times, during which he fabricated at least three dozen stories. In the book, for which he reportedly received a six-figure advance, Blair says he's been forced to take hard look at his struggle with drug addiction and depression. But Blair's newfound candor isn't paying off. According to Nielsen BookScan figures, the book, which came out March 6 with a first printing of 250,000, has sold a dismal 1,400 copies.
March 10, 2004 |
Burning Down My Masters' House By Jayson Blair New Millennium Press. 298 pp. $24.95. In stores now. Jayson Blair's confession is incredible. That's no compliment. Blair's account of his brief but calamitous career at the New York Times really is hard to believe. "I lied and I lied - and then I lied some more," he begins. "I lied about where I had been, I lied about where I had found information, I lied about how I wrote the story. And these were no everyday little white lies - they were complete fantasies, embellished down to the tiniest detail.
February 29, 2004 |
Chicago prosecutors Friday dropped seven of the 21 charges against R&B singer R. Kelly in a child-porn case. The seven counts, including charges of soliciting a minor to appear in child porn, stem from Kelly's June '02 arrest after a videotape surfaced that allegedly showed him having sex with an underage girl. "It's a matter of course in cases like this that we'd drop charges right before trial," said Jerry Lawrence, a spokesman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Kelly's rep said the move to drop charges was "the first official acknowledgment of the weakness of their case.
November 9, 2003 |
The arrival of Master and Commander on Friday unofficially starts the holiday "prestige movie" season. Following are other highlights - class acts and not - from the pile of pics set to open by January, when the last of the Oscar hopefuls straggles into Philadelphia. Release dates are local and subject to change. Friday Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World See story at right. Looney Tunes: Back in Action Bugs, Daffy, Porky & Co. run amok with humans Brendan Fraser, Steve Martin and Jenna Elfman in this animation/live-action hybrid.
September 14, 2003 |
Avid fiction readers are likely to experience a serious case of cross-media deja vu this fall, when a whole shelf of best-sellers rematerialize as Hollywood movies. In The Human Stain (Oct. 3), based on the Philip Roth novel, Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman star as a college professor living a lie and his consoling, many-years-younger cleaning lady. Robert Benton directs the likely Oscar contender. In Under the Tuscan Sun (Sept. 26), Diane Lane plays a divorcee seeking solace in Chianti country.
September 11, 2003 |
IN THE world of journalism, an "exclusive" is a prized possession. It's the story you've got that no one else has got. The story that can make your career - unless, of course, you've made it up (see next item). Sometimes it's a story that everyone should care about - like Watergate. Other times, it's a story that no one should care about, but for some reason they do - like the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck wedding to have been held this weekend in sunny California. As you may know by now, the wedding is reportedly off. Shocking, eh?