Burning Down His Father's House
Commenter Ricky West says that a comparison of USA Today to NYT as respects their respective lying reporters is comparison of "apples to dumptrucks." He further guesses that "the fact that several editors of the NYT knew about Blair's lying & he was kept on anyway isn't of importance, eh?" to your correspondent.
I say the similarities outweigh the differences.
What did the NYT know, and when? According to the paper,
The Times inquiry also establishes that various editors and reporters expressed misgivings about Mr. Blair's reporting skills, maturity and behavior during his five-year journey from raw intern to reporter on national news events. Their warnings centered mostly on the errors in his articles.
His mistakes became so routine, his behavior so unprofessional, that by April 2002, Jonathan Landman, the metropolitan editor, dashed off a two-sentence e-mail message to newsroom administrators that read: "We have to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now."
After taking a leave for personal problems and being sternly warned, both orally and in writing, that his job was in peril, Mr. Blair improved his performance. By last October, the newspaper's top two editors -- who said they believed that Mr. Blair had turned his life and work around -- had guided him to the understaffed national desk, where he was assigned to help cover the Washington sniper case.
By the end of that month, public officials and colleagues were beginning to challenge his reporting. By November, the investigation has found, he was fabricating quotations and scenes, undetected. By March, he was lying in his articles and to his editors about being at a court hearing in Virginia, in a police chief's home in Maryland and in front of a soldier's home in West Virginia. By the end of April another newspaper was raising questions about plagiarism. And by the first of May, his career at The Times was over.
Blair's now-known fabrications went back to July 2000, nearly three years from when he was caught.
And what did the USA Today know, and when? According the paper,
Kelley's work first came under scrutiny in May  after [Executive Editor Brian] Gallagher received an anonymous note that questioned whether Kelley was fabricating or embellishing stories. The note triggered a review of Kelley's work but eventually became only a peripheral issue.
Kelley was investigated by USA Today for seven months, and then resigned after admitting lying in the investigation (but not in his reporting). Kelley's now known fabrications go back at least to 2000, three years before he was first confronted by his employer.
In each case, there were red flags many months before the reporter was confronted proof of lying and then resigned. The Times claims that Blair's red flags were thought to be mistakes rather than lies or plagiarism. The Times does not admit that any of Blair's editors knew Blair was lying. (Anyone with facts to the contrary should feel free to interject them into the comments below.)
Should the Times have continued to employ an error-prone reporter? Probably not. Did its editors know Blair was fabricating information weeks or even days before Blair was forced to resign? I'm not aware of any facts that they did.