Mark Whitaker, the former journalist and author whose sweeping, recently published biography of Bill Cosby, “Cosby: His Life and Times,” drew good reviews, has issued something of a mea culpa.

His crime? Not bothering to discuss the many allegations of drugging and sexual assault women leveled against his subject for years, despite the fact the book was supposed to offer a comprehensive look at the comedian’s life.

In his column this week, New York Times media critic David Carr called out a number of journalists who let the ball drop on the allegations against Cosby, including Whitaker. Whitaker responded:

Carr didn’t just point the finger at other writers. He included himself among those who should have been tougher on Cosby when they interviewed him. He asked why it took so long for the media to meaningfully follow-up on the allegations:

What took so long is that those in the know kept it mostly to themselves. No one wanted to disturb the Natural Order of Things, which was that Mr. Cosby was beloved; that he was as generous and paternal as his public image; and that his approach to life and work represented a bracing corrective to the coarse, self-defeating urban black ethos.

Only the first of those things was actually true.

Those in the know included Mark Whitaker, who did not find room in his almost-500-page biography, “Cosby: His Life and Times,” to address the accusations that Mr. Cosby had assaulted numerous women, at least four of whom had spoken on the record and by name in the past about what they say Mr. Cosby did to them. …

Mr. Whitaker has said he didn’t want to put anything in the book, which he wrote with Mr. Cosby’s cooperation, that wasn’t confirmed — which of course raises the question of why he wouldn’t have done the work to knock down the accusations or make them stand up.

The self-reproach continues, but it will take longer to see where it leads. Will the media repeat its mistakes the next time a high-profile, well-liked personality is repeatedly accused of committing monstrous acts, or will Cosby serve as a turning point? Cosby settled one claim out-of-court.

Cosby’s lawyer, Martin Singer, has issued denials of the other accusations his client faces. “The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” Singer wrote. “These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”

Victoria Valentino alleges that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in 1970 — shortly after the death of her young son.​ (Jorge Ribas and Ann Johansson/The Washington Post)