Blog 2: “Shattered Glass” Ethics

The most ethical character in Shattered Glass was Chuck Lane. Chuck became the editor of The New Republic after Micheal Kelly was fired, which, unfortunately, caused him to lose the respect of the writers. Chuck was harsh on Stephen, which proved necessary. When Micheal Kelly, when he was editor of The New Republic, was informed by a reader that some aspects of Glass’s “Spring Breakdown” story was false, Kelly actually called the informant a liar, trusting Stephen would never make something up, let alone a mistake. However, when Lane was informed that Glass’s “Hack Heaven” could not be verified, by Forbes, he took matters into his own hands. He began investigating the story and asking Stephen for his notes, to take him to the places he wrote about, and to get him in contact with his sources. As we learn, Glass creates massive excuses and fake websites, voicemails, and business cards to support his story/diminishing career. Lane investigates this as well, taking notes while on the phone with “George Simms” and noting, suspicioulsy, that Simms had a young voice. Chuck remained, until the scandal broke, the only one who even slightly mistrusted Stephen. This was shown perfectly through the scene where he fires Stephen and then breaks the news to Caitlin by stating, if he was a source for an article you were doing you wouldn’t believe everything they said. I think Chuck did a good job handling these instances of fabrication because it should not be tolerated, no matter how minor. Editors dealing with instances of fabrication or plagiarism should first re-fact-check the article on their own, before involving the journalist, who may try to lie their way out of it like Stephen. The journalist should be suspended, at the very least. For major cases, they should be fired and unable to write again, for any publication, because they cannot be trusted. For editors trying to detect and reduce these instances, they should always keep tabs on their reporters. Reporters covering stories should be required to take photographs of those they interview or have video footage/recording. It may be helpful for reporters to work in pairs, if possible, for accountablity. Furthermore, the editor should fact-check multiple times and never allow a story to be published that can only be verifyed through the reporter’s notes.

The Real-Life “Caitlin” Speaks Out

Hanna Rosin on The Fabulist

Chuck Lane Interview

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