On Sunday, The New York Times ran an unprecedented front-page mea culpa exposing the checkered career of Jayson Blair, a 27-year-old Times reporter who invented quotes, fabricated details and pawned off outright lies as scoops. But the nation’s paper of record somehow failed to correct the many misstatements and errors in a travel piece Blair wrote last February about his “visit” to Nashville. The Scene is happy to set the record straight:
♦ Kenneth Schermerhorn, conductor of the Nashville Symphony, has no known affiliation with the Crips or convicted Death Row Records chief Suge Knight. Nor, according to Metro police files, does he have an arrest record for carjackings under the alias “Pimp Willie.”
♦ Blair claimed to have spoken to “a local” on Second Avenue. We have determined that was a fabrication.
♦ The Dixie Chicks, who are not of East Asian descent, did not sing “Osama, Yo’ Mama.” Also, they did not jump from a cake at Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s birthday party, as Blair reported.
♦ The community of Bellevue is not, in fact, “a boot-shaped peninsula.”
♦ “State” Sen. Lamar Alexander, in Blair’s account, earned the nickname “Dr. L” from his colleagues “due to his previous career as a heart surgeon.” Blair also characterized Alexander as “a self-made man,” a “presidential contender” and “warm.”
♦ Blair wrote “a respected Nashville media personality” when he meant Steve Gill.
♦ Blair erroneously described the Metro Council as “a progressive, intelligent collection of the city’s finest minds.”
♦ The downtown district has retained much of its historic charm, Blair wrote, “through the efforts of the even-tempered historic preservationist Monroe Carell.” That statement is patently false.
♦ Blair wrote that Nashville’s mayor, the bold and brash Bill Purcell, pursues an aggressive and visionary agenda for Nashville, speaking bluntly and rarely letting public opinion dictate his approach to policy. When contacted by the Scene, mayoral aide Patrick Willard vigorously denied fostering that impression.
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