By now, most readers will have had their fill of l’affaire Blair—the story of Jayson Blair, the twenty-seven-year-old black reporter for The New York Times who for five years lied, fabricated interviews and datelines, and plagiarized the work of other journalists.

Mr. Blair, who came to the Times as an intern in 1998, resigned on May 1. On Sunday, May 11, the Times ran an extraordinary two-part feature on Blair’s career. It began on the front page, above the fold, and filled four full pages inside. The fourteen-thousand word behemoth—the longest news story in the Times we can remember—was part exposé, part mea culpa, part angry self-justification. “Let’s not begin to demonize our executives,” said Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger, Jr., the Times’s publisher, “either the desk editors or the executive editor ...