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Why the lie: probing the explanation for journalistic cheating

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 17:12 authored by Ivor Shapiro
This Review Essay examines four books that offer a variety of explanations fabrication and plagiarism within journalism. They include explanations offered by the two most famous recent perpetrators of fabrication (Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass), as well as an analysis of the recent scandals at the New York Times and of cheating in the wider society. Among the explanations probed are workplace pressure, the "star" system in journalism, and the culture of trust and lack of policing within news organizations. Simpler explanations are rejected, including pure ambition, lack of ability, dysfunctional management, and affirmative action.