Lies, lies, lies, yeah, they’re gonna get you

If you practice journalism and don’t tell the truth, sooner or later, the lies are going to get you – into a whole lot of trouble.

Last week saw a trifecta of this type of journalistic indiscretion.

The story generating the most buzz came late in the week when The American Life xx Ira Glass retracted a piece the radio show had run in January called “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory” on poor working conditions and other abuses at the Chinese factory that makes Apple iPads after it was discovered that Mike Daisey, the writer/monologist who did the piece, made up some of his facts.

His embellishments came to light after a reporter for the Marketplace radio show talked to Daisey’s Chinese translator, who disputed much of what Daisey had said. Glass faulted TAL’s fact checking department, which had vetting Daisey’s piece, for not doing a better job of vetting the piece before it aired – and devoted its entire program last weekend to setting the record straight.

Other media outlets continue to weigh in on Daisey’s duplicity, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and NPR’s On the Media program (which as I write this, still has 15 minutes to go and is generating a ton of online comments). It’s also caused some media critics to dig up previously published stories questioning factual errors and fictionalized material in supposedly journalist work from Malcolm Gladwell and David Sedaris.

The TAL story wasn’t the only one. Also last week, writers were talking about Jon Flatland, a long-time newsman, columnist and one-time former president of the North Dakota Newspaper Association, who was exposed for copying other writers’ humor columns for years and passing them off. According to this report from Poynter, the journalism training group, when Flatland was confronted by another humor writer about work he’d cribbed, he abruptly resigned as interim managing editor of the Times in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota and left town.

Here in Oregon, the (Portland) Oregonian last week fired long-time breaking news editor Kathleen Glanville after discovering she’d lied to the paper about the circumstances surrounding the death of the paper’s editorial page editor, Bob Caldwell,  who had been a close friend. An Oregonian reporter telephoned Caldwell’s house as part of reporting this front-page story on his death and spoke to Glanville, who was there on her day off consoling his wife. Caldwell’s wife had shared with Glanville the location and circumstances of his death – in the apartment of a 23-year-old woman who had been exchanging sex acts for money for textbooks. But Glanville told the reporter that Caldwell had died in his car, a fact the paper didn’t learn until the following day when it obtained the official police report.

The Oregonian ran a clarification the following day, and Glanville took to Facebook to thank the paper for many happy years of employment and say she understood why the paper felt the need to fire her for violating journalistic ethics. “There are times in people’s lives when you have to make a decision about what is most important,” she wrote. “I am sorry that my decision — which came from love — cost me my job. I will always cherish the many people who I have worked beside for so many years.”

Why do reporters and editors lie?

I contacted Craig Silverman, who writes Poynter’s Regret the Error blog and is an authority on newspaper industry screw ups for his take  on the problem.

In the case of Daisey and the Oregonian editor,”People felt their lies served a higher cause and purpose,” Silverman says. “They were able to justify their actions to themselves, so anything was fair game after that.”

Aside from that, journalists lie because everybody lies, Silverman says, whether they’re a doctor, carpenter, journalist, athlete, postal worker etc. ”This doesn’t excuse it, but it means we have to do a better job of sniffing out the lies,” he says.

To better understand the situation, Silverman suggested reading this piece written by Jack Shafer, Reuters’ columnist covering politics and the press. In it, Shafer says:

I’m still waiting for somebody who got caught lying while practicing journalism to say why he did it. I have my theory: 1) They lie because they don’t have the time or talent to tell the truth, 2) they lie because think they can get away with it, and 3) they lie because they have no respect for the audience they claim to want to enlighten. That would be an ideal subject for a one-man theatrical performance.

What about you? Have you ever been tempted by deadlines or a dull source to embellish the truth? Ever made gotten away with making something up? Ever caught another reporter in a lie? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.

 

Source http://michellerafter.com/?p=8942
Mon, 19 Mar 2012 21:05:19 GMT
Tags: David Sedaris, Jon Flatland, Malcolm Gladwell, Media Business, Mike Daisey, Oregonian, plagiarism, reporters who lie,
McKinney E-Commerce | St George E-Commerce | Fort Collins E-Commerce | Gilbert E-Commerce | Atlanta E-Commerce | Northeast Cobb E-Commerce | Kolkata E-Commerce | Walsenburg E-Commerce | Navi Mumbai E-Commerce | Anaheim-Santa Ana-Garden Grove E-Commerce |

David Sedaris


Jon Flatland


Malcolm Gladwell



Need Freelance Writer Market? Check out our member profiles:

Gilbert
Northeast Cobb
MarketingRT Profile
MarketingRT

Integrated, High Yield, Marketing Tailored to Your Business Needs MarketingRT an interactive and online marketing company. REAL TIME marketing experiences, enhanced by services.

Northeast Cobb, Georgia US
Mckinney
thawriter.biz Profile
thawriter.biz

I write for the very reason I breathe. From journalism, PR and online content, to fiction/non-fiction, creative and ghostwriting, I produce effective messaging that sells!

McKinney, Texas US
Minneapolis
City & Colour Design Studio Profile
City & Colour Design Studio

We are a small collaboration of designers and programmers from around the world. We work with Web, Print, Social Media, Branding, Packaging and SEO. If you can think it, we can design it.

Minneapolis, Minnesota US
St George
Steven Lee Profile
Steven Lee

From direct-marketing to corporate communications, and everything in between, Steve has done it all. He wants to help you look your very best! Put Steve's twenty years of experience to work for you!

St George, Utah US
Atlanta
Walsenburg
Goldenwebweaver Profile
Goldenwebweaver

Experience of this writer includes technical descriptions of testing procedures for testing of parts received in shipping. Non-fiction political commentary, and published in newspapers.

Walsenburg, Colorado US
Minneapolis
Cynthia Sowden Profile
Cynthia Sowden

Need an ad, a brochure, a video script, a feature article or web content? I give you creative copy, fast turnaround, and exceptional service. Writing, editing, proofreading at below-agency prices.

Minneapolis, Minnesota US
Free Design Quotes

Promote your writing business through your email signature

If you're not adding a signature to end of your emails, you're missing out on a great opportunity to



What Does It Take to Become a Freelancer?

It’s no secret that more and more people are adopting a freelance lifestyle. For some, freela



Is Freelance Writing Wasting Your Time?

I was browsing through a popular working mom forum recently and found a popular thread that was both



It’s Never Too Early to Think About Taxes

While April 15 seems like an eternity from now, it never hurts to be on top of your tax game.…



I Need A Break And You Can Help

I’ve loved watching how Cathy Miller over at Simply Stated Business and MillerCathy  got ready



Article Tags
Freelance Writer Market Articles
Marketing| writing| Featured| Freelancing| How-To| Blogging| Lifestyle| Inspiration| General| blogs| Work at Home Parents| Managing Clients| Magazine Writing| writing tips| Freelance Finance| productivity| Getting Started| Web Content| social media| Getting Clients|


Freelance Writer Market Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional Valid CSS!