New York Times Reporter Quits After Controversy

And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

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Quit Pro Quo
One day after he told the New York Post he had no intention of quitting in the next few weeks but instead would probably take leave sometime in the coming months, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Rick Bragg (search), suspended for not giving due credit to a stringer in a story two years ago, has now quit, according to an internal Times memo quoted by many media outlets. He tells the New York Post, "I had hoped I could stay on a bit longer, but there is too much tension, and I am tired."

Gray Lady's Gray Area
Meanwhile, Bragg's insistence that his job, like many of his co-workers, was "to ride the airplane and sleep in the hotel" so he could say he had reported from a particular city, even though, stringers did the real leg work, has sparked a debate within the Times. One Times freelance writer backs Bragg, saying such use of stringers at the newspaper was a "common practice.…It was simply understood that I got paid to be invisible...entrusted to go to market to get the choicest bits for the dish being prepared." But another Times correspondent calls Bragg's comments "infuriating and absurd." And yet another Times correspondent has posted a note on the Web, insisting, "We do our own reporting here. At least most of us do."

Diploma-tic Issues
The Massachusetts House Minority Leader, Republican Bradley H. Jones (search), has introduced a bill to the state legislature that would make public universities and colleges flat-out reject citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan, unless, of course, they officially disavow their homeland and become U.S. citizens. Jones says he's targeting evildoers from countries that sponsor terrorism. Jones tells the Boston Herald, "If Saddam wants to send Uday or Qusay over to go to UMass-Amherst, I would like to say we don't accept them." But many say the legislation is not only an un-American proposition but an anti-Muslim witch-hunt, and University of Massachusetts officials say they take "tremendous pride" in their international students.

Public Privacy
A president's private life is a legitimate subject for public study, that from none other than former President Bill Clinton (search) himself. Speaking at a library dedicated to John F. Kennedy, whose own dalliance with a White House intern has recently come to light, Mr. Clinton said, "A person's life is a person's life," but he also accused his critics of "trying to turn a public person into a private piñata." Mr. Clinton, quoted by the Associated Press, says he was "particularly well-suited" to deal with the public scrutiny because "I have a higher pain threshold than most people."