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Yesterday's New York Times propaganda gets Jayson Blair award



1/22/08

Colleagues and friends:

Jayson Blair was the guy who conned the Times a few years back with his
fictional "reportings." This month's Jayson Blair Award has to go to yesterday's
page one article on New York's teacher evalution schemes.

One of the reasons we have always been skeptical of what passes for "news" in
the pages of The New York Times is that for the past decade they have been
uncritical cheerleaders for Chicago's version of dictatorial corporate "school
reform."

The article that appeared on page one of yesterday's editions (we get the
National edition here) was almost pure agitprop and would have made a great
subject for dissection as propaganda were I teaching journalism at this point.
"Experts say..." over and over, then only one side of the "experts" was just the
most obvious sleight of hand.

The more egregious nonsense takes place in the morphing of getting "good
teachers" into this Cerf and Klein test craziness. Although there is no connection
actually made, they just slip it into the narrative, and suddenly -- Presto!
-- it's part of the fact chain.

If "reporter" Jennifer Medina were in one of my high school journalism
classes years ago, she would have gotten an "F" for this piece of nonsense. It
should serve as a major warning to people who act as if a clip file from The New
York Times constitutes anything more than a window to look into the soul of
Standardisto propaganda. The questions anyone should have about all of the
unsubstantiated claims in this article would fill a few pages, yet somehow the piece
slips not only through any "editing" but into print without scrutiny.

So... the Jayson Blair award for this month goes to the people who edited
this piece, and to Jennifer.

George N. Schmidt
Editor, Substance

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