Friday, April 23, 2004

Kelley vs. Blair

I've made this point over and over and over again. But, let's remember that Howard Kurtz rushed home from his honeymoon so he could write about that nasty Negro at the New York Times and then mused that the Kelley story at USA Today really just wasn't interesting because... you know, Blair is black!

KURTZ: But isn't there also the question of race? I mean, there was a whole affirmative action debate about Jayson Blair?

LORCH: There could be, probably. I mean, its just been -- Jack Kelley has been swept under the rug. If I talk to people who aren't journalists, they haven't even heard about him.

KURTZ: Because it doesn't get much coverage on television.


KURTZ: It certainly got a lot of coverage...

LANE: No, I think you're right. The race angle gave it a little bit extra energy, that story.

Kelley's fabrications are widespread and important. They influenced public policy and inflamed racial and ethnic tensions. Blair mostly just sat at home, watched CNN, and then typed up copy with a few additional details which really weren't important.

Among the stories now disavowed by USA Today are Kelley's reports "that he found diaries alongside the corpses of Iraqi soldiers in 1991; traveled to a village in Somalia to interview an aid worker in 1992; discovered matches made from napalm that could burn through glass ashtrays in 1993; trekked into the mountains of Yugoslavia with the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1999; listened to a tape that captured the downing of a missionary flight over Peru in 2000; visited with Elian Gonzalez's father inside the father's house in Cuba in 2000; visited Osama bin Laden terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 2001; and spent time near the cave complexes of Tora Bora in 2001."

In addition, "there appears to be no basis for a 2002 Kelley story that said U.S. forces in Afghanistan found evidence linking two Chicago-based Islamic charities to al-Qaeda."