The Buzz

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WHAT IS LEFT to say about the ignominious fall of former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines? Quite a bit, judging by the just-out book by the disgraced former reporter The Buzz refuses to name (because, enough already) and the 20,000-plus word apologia penned by Raines in The Atlantic's May issue. Those who'd think a near-year in the wilderness would humble the famously headstrong Raines-well, just glance at the headline: "My Times."

On one hand, The Buzz confesses a frisson to see a fallen-from-grace type who so clearly refuses to slip into standard I'm-sorry-please-forgive-me mode that the American media (if not Americans) feast on.

Raines spends much time explaining his endless romance of a mythical Times past that may never have existed. ("I had long since accommodated myself to the reality that the day of Times men and women known for a sense of style as sharp as their intellects was past"-which may be news to those who toiled in the dingy nether regions of newsrooms past.) But the big mind-blower for the Buzz is buried around 8,000 words in, where Raines said he found "a small enclave of neoconservative editors ... making accusations of `political correctness' in order to block stories or slant them against minorities ... " This just in: Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch and the entire Bush administration have called off the attack dogs! Oh that Raines. Breaking-and making!-news to the bitter end.

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