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Episode of Independent Lens

A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, And Jayson Bla

Season 15, Episode 18 of 22
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Samantha Grant's film tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, a promising young African-American reporter for The New York Times, caught plagiarizing the work of other reporters and supplementing his own reporting with fabricated details. The ensuing media frenzy left a major blemish on the long history of the Times. The fact that Blair is African American was emphasized repeatedly as accounts of the "Blair Affair" served up sordid details in a tale of deception, drug abuse, racism, mental illness, hierarchy, white guilt and power struggles. Accusations of favoritism, lowered standards for minorities and racism in the newsroom were hotly debated by pundits, while minority journalists said they felt as if their work was suddenly under the microscope because of Blair's flagrant lies.

Previously Aired

day time channel
5/5/2014 10 p.m. PBS HD
5/11/2014 8:30 p.m. UA Channel

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