Quite obviously relieved by her departure, Times associate editor and ombudsperson Narda Zacchino (an honest journalist who would herself soon flee the sinking Times) spoke with me about Valdes. I asked her if she thought Valdes’ claim about the media blaming the race or ethnicity of the attackers sounded legitimate. She replied, “No, no. She did another commentary piece about where the term Hispanic came into usage and she was off by a couple of centuries. I pointed out to the editor when she left that we probably in my office had more complaints about accuracy of things that she wrote than any other reporter.” Zacchino agreed Valdes should have been “given more scrutiny.”
And Valdes? She landed safely on her kitty-cat patas. Her journalistic fabrications led to a $500,000 book deal from St. Martin’s after a bidding war for her first novel, “Dirty Girls Social Club” (think “Sex in the City,” but with gratuitous use of the word papi). In 2009, NBC was planning to develop the book as a TV series, until Valdes killed the deal by publicly accusing the producers of (you guessed it) racism.