The latest journalism scandal evokes memories of the man in the street
By Michael Ray Taylor
Henderson State University
On Nov. 8, after a lengthy investigation, the Houston Chronicle retracted eight articles written by political reporter Mike Ward. Many of the people quoted in these articles appear to have been invented. Ward, who joined the paper in 2014 after a long stint at the Austin American-Statesman, resigned in the wake of the accusations after they surfaced in September.
While a far cry from the journalistic norm President Trump would have us believe, fake quotes from fake people have become all too familiar. From the famous cases of Janet Cooke, Jason Blair and Stephen Glass to more recent transgressions discovered at The Intercept and CNN, some “journalists” have in fact chosen to invent people rather than interview them.
As a journalist for over 30 years, I deplore any act reducing press credibility at a time when journalists face daily attacks from the President. As a journalism professor, I worry about the ever-decreasing number of students willing to consider our maligned career. How, I wonder, can I promote ethical behavior in an age of shock radio and Russian trolls, especially when even prominent professionals take heinous shortcuts? Continue reading “Sympathy for the Devil (Almost)”