Credibility Goes a Long Way

John Vang, Reporter

Credibility is something everyone has. That is until they do something to lose it. When you have it, you don’t realize the importance of it, but when you lose it, you may not ever get it back. All journalists have ethics, and all journalist tend to keep it. Most journalists know, that to maintain their career as a journalist they must have good credibility. Just one lie in journalism, can cause a journalist to lose their career, so many keep their works factual and provide the right evidence. As important as it may be, many journalists have lied and published fabricated work to the public. Almost all of them lose their job and even ruin their lives.

Stephan Glass, a journalist who wrote for “The New Republic”, back in 1998 wrote many fascinating articles. Before he knew it he was a rising star! His articles reached and entertained many people from all around the world. No one questioned his works nor his notes. No one but his editor, Charles Lane. Lane read through one of Glass’s works, “Hack Heaven” and saw some words he had never seen before. The company names, the people, and places, the times, they were all off and weird. Lane searched up all of these components, and found nothing. He grew suspicious of Glass so he called him into his office and questioned his works. Lane wanted the phone numbers of these people so he could verify if they were actually real or fabricated. Of course Glass provided Lane with the numbers, however they were all voice mails, never a real conversation. Digging deeper into the issue Lane asked Glass to take him to the area where the convention was held, since Glass claimed he was there. Arriving at the location, Lane knew right away that is was impossible for a convention to be held there. It was a small area and could not hold many people. After all this Lane took in Glass for questioning. Lane soon found out that more than half of Glass’s work were either partially fabricated or completely fake. Glass was, without a doubt fired from “The New Republic” and now lives in California.

Today Glass is working towards his law degree. Although he has passed the bar examination test the court judges refuses to give him his license because of what he had done with “‘The New Republic.” He now works for a lawyer instead. Regretting his mistakes, Glass claims he has and will change. He says he cannot make anyone trust him, he can only do what is right.

Similarly, Brian Williams, widely known as anchor for NBC News has been suspended for six months. Williams was suspended for over exaggerating/lying his story about get shot down in Iraq. He falsely claimed it was his helicopter, but in reality it was really the one behind him. As a matter of fact, his helicopter was approximately an hour behind the one that was actually shot down. After he had announced that he was part of the crew who got shot down, the flight engineer, Lance Reynolds, wrote in response ““Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened.” Williams apologized to everyone and was suspended.

Brian apologized by saying “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another . . . No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft.”

Another case where a journalist’s career is ruined is Janet Cooke. She published an astonishing article, “Jimmy’s World.” In her article is tells of a 8 year old boy who is the victim of heroin. Her article reached many people and touched many people. A lot of them felt sorry for Jimmy and wished he had, had a better life. She even won the Pulitzer prize for it! When people were asking for the location of Jimmy she refused to give it to them because, supposedly the gang members would track her down and kill her. Due to this people grew suspicious of her story. Finally it was revealed that her story was fabricated! This anger many people because they felt like they had been betrayed. To tell a story of an innocent boy who is the victim of heroin and lying about it. Cooke, in the end gave the Pulitzer prize back and was put off as a journalist.

Today Cooke is working as the clerk for a clothing store.