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Sullivan Jumps the Shark

In an attempt to remind us all of the 1990s (the gossip-mongered, no-unsubstantiated-accusation against the Clinton left-unturned 1990s), Andrew Sullivan jumps the shark on the New York Times Blair scandal.

In his most recent post, Sullivan writes: "Two days after he quit the New York Times, Jayson Blair, whose credit cards were all maxed out and who used national editor Jim Roberts' card for expenses, somehow paid off a $3853 American Express bill. Whence the sudden infusion of money?"

Sullivan's implication is clear: Blair was paid off by somebody. By whom, of course, Sullivan doesn't say (but he does use the word "whence" -- a word I don't think I've ever used, myself). But, who would pay Blair off? The Times? Howell Raines, himself? The University of Maryland journalism school? Any other guesses? Any other guesses that are *less* absurd? Question number two is, of course: why would they pay him off? To keep Blair quiet so the Times would not have to come clean about the scandal?

Whence came the money? Let's give it a try. Perhaps he got a new credit card with one of those balance-transfer programs? Or a loan from friends? Or from his savings? Or his parents paid it off for him? Or he had worked out a payment plan with the law firm representing American Express -- a plan which was finalized this month? None of these seem too illogical.

Or maybe, I suppose, Blair did get the money via nefarious means. However, without any data, Sullivan is attempting to manufacture a scandal. It's the "good old days" all over again.


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Comments (6)

Dave S:

Partha, you're right that I couldn't care less about where Blair got the money to pay off his credit card bill. Even if he got the money from Howell Raines, so what?

But what's with all the "jump the shark," references lately? I'm not even sure you're using the term correctly. The way you use it implies that Sullivan's coverage of the Blair fiasco up until this point was really good. But I'm pretty sure that's not what you intended to say.


I thought that something "jumps the shark" when it loses its luster, or becomes a shadow of its former self(worse in other words).

It seems that Partha is using this phrase to mean something similar to "jumping on the bandwagon", but I am not sure about this.


The definition of Jumping the Shark:

"It's a moment, a defining moment when you know that you favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now onÂ…it's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We cal it jumping the shark."

can be found

http://www.jumptheshark.com/" rel="nofollow"> here .

When in doubt, google it!


Oops. The link is

a href="http://www.jumptheshark.com/" target="_blank">here


One last try!

Jump the Shark

mike cummings:

I am sure many people have issues these days ,but are to indecisive about what recourse should be taken ,if any. I have just been waiting until people realize the ignorance behind affirmative action. It does not surprise me that a major newspaper like the new york times has lost its integrity ,just like news television. I am just surprised it took so long for something to happen ,but rest assured ,a job position is waiting for Jason Blair at the National Inquirer ,and with affirmative action the way it is ,a medical degree ,and postion as head of surgery awaits Mike Tyson at John Hopkins. Did I mention my ancestors maybe from Tanzania ,and I can throw a rock really far,and I like the Yankees. mike


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