Don’t depend on key details of the New York Times’s coverage of the Washington, D.C., sniper case, says the Washington City Paper. In an exhaustive look at fired reporter Jayson Blair’s work, the local weekly concludes that “The Times may have to retract whole swaths of Blair’s sniper package, which includes 52 stories spanning last October through April. Week by week, the Times’ coverage helped to misshape public opinion on the sniper case–a rampage of carelessness that certainly taints the U.S. media, if not the sniper jury pool.”
Said Fairfax County, Va., prosecutor Robert Horan: “They pride themselves on all the news that’s fit to print. I say in the hands of Blair, it’s all the fiction that’s fit to print.”
In news on the case itself, a Virginia judge ruled that most of sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo’s detailed statement to investigators in Fairfax County may be used against him. The judge said that Malvo willingly agreed to discuss the October shootings even after he was advised of his rights, the Washington Post reported.
Prosecutors said the ruling would allow them to play for jurors an audiotape of Malvo’s statement during which he laughed and remorselessly discussed the shootings of 13 people, 10 of them fatal, over three weeks.