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Friday, December 5, 2014

Bill Keller and the New York Times: Heal Thyself

I saw Bill Keller, former editor of The New York Times (now one of its writers), on MSNBC a little while ago, roundly criticizing Rolling Stone for not checking out its sources more carefully before publication of its enormously important rape on college campus story, which has finally gotten America to pay some attention to this endemic and awful part of frat culture.

Rolling Stone no doubt should have checked its sources more throughly before going to press, and it could have handled its apology issued today a little better, and not blamed the source by saying Rolling Stone's "trust in her was misplaced".   When issuing an apology, it's best to just stay with what you didn't do right.

But Bill Keller of all people attacks Rolling Stone about this?  He was at The New York Times during the years of probably the worst journalistic travesty in history, when Jayson Blair regularly faked stories, plagiarized, made up sources, and in general made The New York Times a laughing stock, a sad position for the once "newspaper of record".

Further, where have The New York Times and Bill Keller been all these years in which rapes have taking place on campuses such as the University of Virginia?   Rather than getting on his high horse, Keller should encourage his own newspaper to do more reporting on this grievous problem.

And Rolling Stone, let us not forget, deserves eminent credit for breaking this story wide open, and bringing it to public scrutiny.   They erred, but on behalf of a noble and critically important goal, and deserve every decent person's thanks not attack for this.

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