Howell Raines, Five Years Later

May 7th, 2008 — 8:09am

It’s been five years since the Jayson Blair scandal doomed Howell Raines’ career at the New York Times. In a recent interview with Editor & Publisher, he has this to say about the scandal: “I am proud of the fact that it [the internal Times investigation] set the standard for in-house inquiries. I feel proud of the fact that we had as close to a full investigation as any journalistic entity has done in my experience.”

Really? I have rarely ever read such egoistic, delusional spin. Maybe there was a rigorous internal inquiry, but of course, it was after the the Times, the paper of record, had already published many of Blair’s fallacious stories, even after having been warned by his staff members that Blair was making things up.

As someone who makes most of my living from public relations, I find his spin remarkable, transparent, and embarrassing. But it is a lesson in human frailty, and the deep desire of the ego to protect the self at all costs.

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