Accuracy in Media

Remember Jayson Blair? Now, another name will go down in infamy at the New York Times. Lynette Holloway, another affirmative- action promotion at the New York Times, has resigned in the wake of the paper running its second-longest correction in history. That 2,175-word correction ran back on July 14. Holloway’s by-line has not appeared since. Now she’s gone. The Times didn’t want to draw any more attention to this scandal, and her resignation was disclosed by a competitor, Keith J. Kelly of the New York Post. He reported that Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said they had reached “an amicable settlement.”

Kelly noted that former Times executive editor Howell Raines, who resigned in the Blair scandal, had moved Holloway into a section of the paper covering hip-hop and rap music. The Post said, “Like Blair, she had caught the attention of Raines, who put her in the media section of the paper? ‘She was a Howell appointment,’ said one insider. ‘He wanted to increase coverage of hip-hop music.'”

On the occasion of the July 14th correction, Jego R. Armstrong, a reporter for The Wire, which covers the music industry, said, “The New York Times suffered another black eye yesterday as yet another writer was found fabricating a story, a la Jayson Blair. This time, the paper faked some rap music news, incorrectly stating that TVT Records President Steven Gottlieb had lost his own company during his battle with Def Jam and puffing the story up with several blatant errors.”

Armstrong noted, however, that, “This is not the first brush with alleged inaccurate sourcing by Lynette Holloway. In July of 2001, Stephen Krashen, a Professor of Education at the University of Southern California wrote several letters to the Times editors informing them of misleading information in several articles, including a July 31st article by Holloway, regarding Bilingual Programs.”

This looks disturbingly like another Jayson Blair case, in which the errors were piling up but the paper decided to stick with the reporter and even promote her. One observer commented, “What does this mean for all those who said Blair was ‘just one man’ and his quick rise to prominence, coupled with the lack of appropriate scrutiny during that rise, had nothing to do with Affirmative Action?” Clearly, the Holloway case is another indictment of diversity programs at the Times. However, the American Society of Newspaper Editors continues to promote them for the Times and all other papers in America.

Ironically, on the day of the Holloway correction, the Times named Bill Keller to succeed Raines as executive editor. Keller promptly announced that he was a strong believer in diversity programs and that the Blair scandal had nothing to do with affirmative action. He will probably say the same thing about the Holloway scandal. But this attitude only guarantees more scandals. The Times doesn’t learn because it has an ideological commitment to diversity. The white liberals who run the paper believe skin color is more important than the ability to do the job.

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