Jewish World Review March 12, 2004 / 19 Adar, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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OOPS!, did Jayson Blair do it again?; skewing Young; more | NEW YORK — Is admitted liar and plagiarist Jayson Blair still up to his old tricks?

During this week's media blitz for "Burning Down My Master's House," his memoir of his flameout at The New York Times, Blair has said over and over that he's sincerely sorry for his journalistic crimes — which he also has vowed over and over never to repeat.

But New York University Law School student Carter Nelsen — who was a summer intern with the notorious author at The Boston Globe in 1997 — isn't buying it.

The 28-year-old Nelsen has just posted a letter on Jim Romenesko's media gossip site suggesting suspicious similarities between a paragraph in Blair's book and one in a May 22, 2003, article about Blair written by Globe reporters Don Aucoin and Bella English.

Blair: "It was the summer of 1997. I was in the glass-walled office of Louisa Williams, the assistant managing editor in charge of recruitment, hiring and interns at The Boston Globe. I was about halfway into the 12-week internship. Editors had been praising me for being enterprising, intense and coming to work early and staying late, but I could tell that this conversation was not going to be pretty."

Aucoin and English: "It was the summer of 1997, and Jayson T. Blair was at the center of a newsroom controversy. Blair, then 21, was sitting in the glass-walled office of assistant managing editor Louisa Williams. The door was closed. Just six weeks into a 12-week summer internship, Blair had already cut a considerable swath through The Boston Globe. In some respects, he was exactly what editors look for in a reporter: nervy, enterprising, prolific, eager to arrive early and stay late."

"I don't know if that qualifies as plagiarism," Nelsen commented, "but it reads to me like it's in the same ballpark."

On Wednesday, Aucoin told me: "People are free to make their own judgments about it." Globe Executive Editor Martin Baron also begged off: "I'm going to leave this to people like you."

But English told me: "It seems hilarious and absurd to me that Jayson Blair — who was there at the scene — had to take a second-hand account and painstakingly use that as a first-person account. . . . It seems pathological for him to come back and steal our version of his story."

Blair Wednesday called the plagiarism charge "simply bogus" and insisted that he didn't even have a copy of the Globe story handy when he was writing the passage that appears at the beginning of Chapter 7.

"I was there," Blair told me. "I witnessed the same things the Globe wrote about and knew first-hand what was going on. And I was a source for the Boston Globe. I was quoted on the record throughout their story and talked to them off the record. They received their description of what that meeting was like from me."

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Add model-singer Bebe Buell and rocker Jim Wallerstein to that alluring older woman-younger man synergy so ably represented by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher along with Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake.

The 50-year-old Buell, aka Liv Tyler's mom, and her 34-year-old husband, Wallerstein, were cozily ensconced at Tyler's table at the Hard Rock Cafe the other night during the premiere party for "Jersey Girl" — in which the 26-year-old Tyler plays Ben Affleck's love interest.

"Jim and I got married in the summer of 2002," Buell told this column later, as Wallerstein and his band Vacationland were setting up for Wednesday's show at the downtown club Don's Hill. "I think that women are lasting longer and men are growing up faster. The best guys are the ones who grew up in the '60s. They are used to women being independent. They were brought up by mothers who were burning their bras and protesting. Men from my generation are chauvinist pigs!"

Buell — who gave birth to Liv after an 8-month romance with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler — said she met her second husband at a Christmas party in 1999. "We only saw each other that night, just made eye contact. But then ironically, we ran into each other all over New York," she said. "Jim and I have been together five years.

"My husband's pretty exceptional. He put himself through NYU and graduated with a degree in electronics. He's pretty brainy. His band just made a record. Right now, in the industry, there is a bidding war, so it's a very exciting time for them — they're about to be signed."

Bebe and Liv's youthful stepdad were at the party with Liv, Bebe's 76-year-old mother, Dorothea Johnson, and Steven Tyler's wife, Teresa, along with assorted friends and relatives.

"We are a big, loving extended family," said Buell, who was previously married to Canadian songwriter Coyote Shivers after relationships with Tyler and Todd Rundgren.

"So I'm a rock wife again," Buell said. "It's just funny, everything I was doing in my 20s in New York, I'm doing again. I'm modeling, my husband is about to get signed. It's so funny! It's a wonderful time in my life, I couldn't be happier."


FOND MEMORIES?: The friends of Walter Yetnikoff celebrated Tuesday night, and the colorful and occasionally crazed record mogul signed copies of his new memoir "Howling at the Moon," at an Upper East Side book party co-hosted by Billy Joel and Broadway Books Publisher Stephen Rubin. An ebullient Yetnikoff, 70, told this column: "This reminds me of my cocaine days: People bringing me things!"

KELLY GREEN: An assortment of Kellys — including Time magazine editor Jim Kelly, novelist Thomas Kelly, and media columnist Keith Kelly of the New York Post — are gathering at Michael's on St. Patrick's Day next Wednesday to toast the late journalist Michael Kelly and raise money (at $100 a ticket) for the college fund of his sons, Tom and Jack Kelly. Their father was killed last April while reporting on the war in Iraq.

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03/10/04: The laugh that dare not speaks its name; Mistaken identity? NAH!; Is this a great country or what?
03/05/04: Bush vs. Kerry: a Skull session; Kramer vs. The Times, scorch session; enthusiasm curbed; (Tina) Brown-nosing?
03/03/04: Oscars memorialize Hitler's fave filmmaker; baubles, bangles and Kelly Osbourne; moonwalking through cyberspace; more
02/27/04: Regan rebellion; Ed Limato strikes again!; tears for Tom; more
02/26/04: McCain predicts a nasty campaign; the misdirected missive; Janet Jackson, the interview; more
02/20/04: Introducing the Kerry sisters; cyberflap!; Snoop Dogg v. O'Reilly?; more
02/18/04: John Kerry's Friendster?; On the mend?; food for fraughtm; more
02/13/04: John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more
02/11/04: HE FEELS BAD!; Dick Cheney, still not dead; more
02/06/04: Glittering Grammys; a laurel for Janet; Haryl's heart
02/04/04: Shriver quits NBC; "Marshmallow" Mike Tyson?; Super Bowl propriety?; MTV's next production?; more
01/30/04: The political forehead front; Alies meets Franken; the art of the hype; arrested career development?
01/28/04: Eyebrow-raising politics; call him indescribable; Woods vs. Williams; more
01/23/04: Eyebrow-raising mystery; who's punk'd anyway?; don't curb your enthusiasm; more
01/21/04: Ridiculous lives of the self-important stars; long arm of the law; all's fair in love and literature
01/16/04: Global warming at a glacial pace; targeting pop culture; Is 'the price of loyalty' too high?
01/14/04: Busting on the "cult buster"; Sarsgaard thinks globally; one angry woman; more
01/08/04: Sitcom star won't be excused from Blake murder trial; fierstein on fire; Drudge & Blumenthal, together again
01/07/04: Bono hits a brick wall; Britney, before the nuttiness; the Arianna primary; more
01/02/04: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio!?; "Bachelor" bruises; Returning to the scene of the crime?
12/31/03: Disaster for the defense; no-war Omar; the shoe must go on; more
12/19/03: Bob Shapiro's free commercial?; Are sophisticated and hip New Yawkers easily duped?; Positive Saddam fallout?; Ratty insult?
12/17/03: Magic Mystery Tour?; Russell Simmons battles ink by the barrel; Would it have killed her to say 'get well soon'?; no Gest room
12/12/03: Karenna defends her dad; now she tells us!; say it ain't so, Mo!; more
12/10/03: Man & wife, interruptus; pepperoni has feelings, too; more
12/05/03: The knives are out; Who's sorry now?; JWR in the news
12/04/03: The war of the gest-minnellis; something borrowed, something cashmere; fashion trendsetter, nailed!
12/03/03: Colombian grace under pressure; Lord of the Screwups; more
12/02/03: Curb your anti-Semitism?; fame fatigue?; bowing to pressure?; more
12/01/03: Dennis the Menace strikes again; first literary feud of the holiday season; Norma Jean & Hef in heaven?; the fog of McNamara; more
11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate