Ex-Writer On NY Times: 'Cutthroat'

Assiciated Press | February 27, 2004

(AP) Former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, in a memoir about his career at the newspaper, admits making up stories and describes his extensive substance abuse, saying some of his best work was "inspired by drug-fueled writing."

Blair's book, "Burning Down My Masters' House," is scheduled for release March 6. The Times and the Daily News obtained the book and reported on its contents in Friday editions.

Blair, a 27-year-old former national correspondent, left the Times in May after he was accused of plagiarism. A review by the newspaper uncovered errors and fabrications in three dozen stories.

"I lied and I lied, and then I lied some more," Blair writes, the Times reported. "I lied about where I had been, I lied about where I had found information, I lied about how I wrote the story."

The News said Blair described the Times as "a cutthroat culture that leaves no rival standing."

Blair also recounted using cocaine while he was a Times employee and said "some of my best stories were inspired by drug-fueled writing," according to the News.

He wrote that he contemplated suicide the night before he resigned but stopped himself.

Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, sent an email message to staffers this week about the book, saying the newspaper does not intend to respond to Blair or his memoir, the newspaper said.

"The author is an admitted fabricator," Keller wrote, according to the Times. "The book pretends to be a mea culpa but ends up spewing imaginary blame in all directions."

The book's publisher, Beverly Hills, Calif.-based New Millenium Press, could not be reached early Friday. Its president, Michael Viner, told the Times that Keller's comments were evidence of "the smear campaign by The New York Times against Mr. Blair and his book."