Jayson Blair is once again the topic-of-the-week among media ethics types. But this time, there is far less agreement about how to deal with the former reporter, fabricator, and plagiarizer for the New York Times. Should media organizations refuse to review his new memoir so as not to give the scoundrel Blair free publicity? After careful consideration, we decided that no, we couldn't ignore this media story. OTM's Stephen Glassman presents our review of Burning Down My Master's House.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And finally this week, an argument among journalists over whether to give Jayson Blair, the disgraced fabricator and plagiarizer formerly of the New York Times, free publicity on his book tour. Karen Brown Dunlap, president of the Poynter Institute that focuses on journalistic practices, wrote that it made her furious that instead of fading from the spotlight, Blair is poised to make some money. But NBC's Katie Couric defended the primetime exposure she gave to Blair by saying "If we based all of our interviews on people who were doing good in the world, sadly we'd be sorely limited." Given that we cover the media, we have to side with Couric, so here with our review of Burning Down My Master's House, by Jayson Blair, is OTM book critic Steven Glass…man. [PERKY MUSIC]
MAN: Awaited with a combination of curiosity and revulsion by the nation's journalism and literary elites, Burning Down My Master's House is a picaresque romp through Jayson Blair's experiences as a seventh degree mason, motorcycle stunt driver and host of his own children's TV show in American Samoa. Blair's madcap escapades are intricately intertwined with the heroic battles for survival of Blair's infant sextuplets, Jayson, Mayson, Jolson, Gypson, Ginseng and Britney. The storytelling is masterful. The prose inimitable. This stunning confessional is a triumph. Or, as Blair writes in his stirring final chapter, "'Tis a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done." [THEME MUSIC UP & UNDER]
BOB GARFIELD:That's it for this week's show. On the Media was directed by Katya Rogers and produced by Janeen Price, Megan Ryan and Tony Field, engineered by Dylan Keefe, Rob Christiansen, Scott Strickland and Irene Trudel, and edited by Brooke. We had help from Sharon Ball and Derek John. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Arun Rath is our senior producer and Dean Cappello our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. You can listen to the program and get free transcripts and MP3 downloads at onthemedia.org, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is On the Media, from NPR. I'm Brooke Gladstone.