By: Greg Mitchell
Before leaving Jayson Blair behind to pursue even bigger fish — Jack Kelley? — we want to point out that despite what Blair called, in his recent interview with E&P, heavy vetting and double fact-checking of his new book, he still managed to get several, perhaps many, facts wrong. And we want to give our readers a chance to identify even more.
In our interview, Blair declared that he had told the absolute truth in his new book and that, as far as he knew, every fact was correct. He acknowledged at the time, however, that he already planned to make one important change in the next edition of the book — removing the name of a former colleague he identified in the book as a likely drug user.
Then, this past Wednesday, the New York Observer revealed that Blair planned to make another correction. In the book, Blair wrote that Gerald Boyd, the paper’s managing editor (who left the paper last spring) might have been more sympathetic to his drug problems because his own mother had died after battling drugs. The Observer article pointed out that Boyd’s mother actually suffered from sickle cell anemia and died in childbirth. Blair said he would correct that.
On March 20, according to the Associated Press, Boyd said he felt he had to respond to that passage in Blair’s book. that incorrectly described his mother’s death as a result of a battle with drug abuse. “If Jayson Blair can lie about something this serious, I would not believe anything in his book,” Boyd said.
So now let’s help Jayson fully clean up the manuscript for the forthcoming paperback by identifying other factual mistakes. Just send your observations in this regard to me at the e-mail address below and we’ll make sure he gets them. For starters, one reader provides the following:
* The New York Police Department spokesman is Detective Walter Burnes, not Burns.
* The education reporter for the Times is David M. Herszenhorn, not Herzenhorn.
* The Times series “Race in America” won a Pulitzer for national reporting, not public service.
* Jayson’s errors concerning the 9/11 benefit concert were corrected over two days, in corrections totaling more than 250 words — not a single 123-word correction.
* Before it moved, Siberia, a journalists’ hangout, used to be in a midtown subway station at 50th Street, not 54th Street.
* The Brooklyn courts reporter for the Times is William Glaberson, not Galberson.
* The former Times copy editor is Elinor Voldstad, not Eleanor Volstad. Both first and last name wrong.