Newspapers must improve their credibility with readers to catch rogue reporters like Jayson Blair if they fabricate stories, a former New York Times editor said Saturday. Readers assume what they read in the paper is often inaccurate, so they do not bother to alert newspapers when they know something is false, said Gerald Boyd, the former Times managing editor who resigned last year in the wake of the scandal caused by Blair’s falsified and plagiarized stories. It used to be that “if the Times got anything wrong, even a middle initial … I heard from people,” Boyd told editors at the Virginia Press Association winter meeting. “The fact that people don’t respond (to inaccurate stories) speaks to the state of journalism.”
Of course they don’t. I can usually find several major errors of fact in any story relating to economic matters in the New York Times, or most major newspapers for that matter. And then, there’s the “could lead to…” lead-in on stories about anything the paper doesn’t like, and it never seems to bother the paper that its predictions of this sort are never correct. It’s certainly an interesting approach to business, assuming that your readers are not only stupid, but ignorant with no long-term memory to boot.