Thursday, May 22, 2003


Jeff Jacoby writing about Jayson Blair.

Remember Jacoby's little problem...

More on Jacoby's inaccuracies here. This one was pretty funny:

Poor Jeff Jacoby! Boo hoo hoo: Jeff Jacoby's suspension is meaningless in itself. But it has allowed the press corps to showcase its devotion to copy-cat sloth (and inaccuracy). The air has been filled with angry scribes demanding that the Boston One be restored. Their conduct has revealed their deepest values. We'll review the case in detail next week.

But we thought we'd preview one matter. In July 1998, Jacoby—without any attribution—ripped off part of an April 1997 piece by Tucker Carlson in The Weekly Standard. Predictably, what Jacoby recycled (without attribution) was an ugly insinuation about Gore. And here comes the beauty part: Two weeks after Carlson's piece appeared, the Standard had run a detailed letter correcting what Carlson had said. Anyone reading Carlson's original piece could have seen that his charge had the sound of contrivance. But, at the time that Jacoby recycled the charge, it had stood corrected for over a year.

We wrote a letter to the Washington Times, which is where we saw Jacoby's column. The letter has been lightly revised for clarity. Article references follow:

July 30, 1998

Letters Editor
The Washington Times

To the editor:

How sad that you published columnist Jeff Jacoby's latest recycling of an old Al Gore-lacks-character canard, the one Jacoby expressed in his July 29 column. Jacoby says this about the 1996 Democratic Convention speech in which Gore described his presence at his sister's deathbed:

As for that dramatic deathbed scene, it was hard to see when he could have found time to squeeze it in: On the day
his sister died, records show, he was busy talking politics with a reporter from the UPI and addressing the Kiwanis
Club in Knoxville.

Jacoby implies what he was unwilling to say—that Gore was too busy campaigning to attend to his sister in the way he's described.

This suggestion was invented by Tucker Carlson in a May 19, 1997 Weekly Standard piece. But, in response to Carlson's insinuation, the Standard printed a detailed letter from Gore's driver in its June 2 issue. The driver explained how he drove Gore to Nashville from East Tennessee when word came that Gore's sister had taken a turn for the worse. If Jacoby has made any effort to know the truth about Carlson's insinuation, he surely must be aware of the facts which the Standard provided in this forum.

By the way: Jacoby and Carlson must be the only people on earth who haven't heard that it's possible to do more than one thing in a day. How does it feel to be publishing a writer whose grasp of reality is so slender?

Yours truly,

To our knowledge, the letter wasn't published. At any rate, Jacoby had recycled Carlson's year-old story, without attribution. Carlson's charge had long been known to be wrong.

Meanwhile, the weepy Jacoby has published a letter about the "nightmare" he has now undergone. Settle in for some real entertainment:

JACOBY: I joined The Globe as an op-ed columnist in February 1994. (The first line of my first column was: "So what's a nice conservative like me doing in a newspaper like this?") In the six and a half years since, I have produced close to 600 columns. I invite anyone to judge my integrity and my journalistic ethics on the basis of the work that I have done for The Globe. To my knowledge, the paper has never had any reason to question my work, or to doubt that I hold myself to the highest standards when writing for publication.

We're going to take him up on that offer. Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo.