Shattered Glass Analysis
The film Shattered Glass presents the ethical issues of fabrication and the deception of the writer, Stephen Glass, to his editor and co-workers. He deliberately sensationalized his stories in order to gain his reader’s attention. His facts were partially, if not completely, inaccurate and he presented notes that he fabricated as facts for each of his pieces at the New Republic. Journalists in the media have a duty to the people to report the truth and follow an ethical code whenever reporting stories.
If I did not know anything about journalism, I would have to conclude from the film Shattered Glass that the purpose of journalism is to report the truth no matter what even if the story seems boring to you. Also as a fact checker/editor do not let your friendship with a fellow writer cloud your view when editing a piece that they write. Stephen Glass’ fellow co-workers liked him so much, that they did not hesitate to question the solidity of his “notes” he presented each time he turned in a new article.
Unethical journalism does not seem to be prevalent in today’s society. I realize that unethical journalism does occur, but it is generally not tolerated. Stephen Glass was fired after his editor discovered that he had been fabricating stories and Janet Cooke’s career was over after people found out that she completely fabricated her article “Jimmy’s World. ” In the world of journalism I do not believe that being unethical will ever be acceptable.
Most publications always print a retraction or an apology. It is all a matter of whether or not a person gets caught for their unethical behavior or not. If Adam Penenberg, from Forbes Digital would have never asked questions about Stephen Glass’ article “Hacker Heaven,” then it is very unlike the editor Chuck Lane would have found out about Glass’ deception. Glass may have still been writing fabricated articles for the New Republic to this day. The impact of unethical journalism on society is great.
When unethical journalism surfaces to the public, reader’s begin to question the truth of the publication they are reading. In the case of the New Republic, they were lucky that Stephen Glass’ unethical behavior was exposed or else the magazine could have suffered a great deal more than they already did having to admit that most of his articles were fabricated. Unethical journalism as a whole causes society to feel as if they can trust no one, which then leads people to feel as if they need to do their own research in order to obtain the truth.
Falsifying information only further disrupts the trust between the media and society. Sports columnist Mitch Albom from the Detroit Free Press was investigated in April 2005, due to events he reported that did not happen. In his article he described two NBA players in the stands that were not even at the game. The Detroit Free Press disciplined Albom but did not state what type of punishment he would receive.
In 2005, freelance writer Barbara Stewart of the Boston Globe fabricated a story about a Canadian seal hunt. She reported that the story had already happened, when in fact it had been delayed due to weather. She wrote as if she were at the hunt, when in fact she was not even at the site where the seal hunt occurred. Chris Cecil from the Daily Tribune News in Carterville, Georgia, was fired in 2005 when the Miami Herald let the Tribune know that part of Cecil’s columns were taken from a columnist at the Herald.
Eric Slater, a reporter for Los Angeles Times, was fired in 2005 after an article he wrote about a Cal State Fraternity. The story contained inaccuracies, unnamed sources that were not verified, wrongly attributed information and fabrications. In 2005, staff writer Al Levine of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution resigned after plagiarism passages surfaced in two articles he wrote about the Daytona 500 race. The passages he used came from the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Orlando Sentinel.