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Jason Holliston
 
Wednesday, July 21, 2004  
Shattered Glass

I just finished watching the latest movie arrival from my Netflix queue: Shattered Glass. It's the story of the downfall of Stephen Glass, and how he fabricated most of his stories he wrote for The New Republic. Quick call: very good movie, and worth watching if you spend a lot of time reading political magazines and newspapers, like I do. The story is very interesting, but so is getting some insight into the dynamic of a political power like TNR. It makes me want to write a lot more than I currently do.

I'd heard some things about the scandal after the fact, but to be honest, I didn't start reading political pieces much, outside of Reason Magazine, until after 9/11. The one thing I want to know is this: could Stephen Glass have been a good reporter if he actually was blessed with journalistic ethics? I know he could write -- writing fictional pieces that are that convincing does take talent -- but could he have hacked the investigative part of the job? Did he fall into the patterns he did because it was easier, or was he just incapable of developing fact-based stories that would have been good enough for TNR? I wonder the same thing about Jayson Blair and his blow up and The New York Times. Laziness or lack of talent?

I read Andrew Sullivan's blog regularly, so I went back and found his post after he'd watched the movie. Glass had been an intern for Sullivan for a year, but he'd left before the whole affair erupted. Interesting, especially his comment about how much the movie had nailed the offices and most of the personalities. I do agree with him about Hayden Christensen's performance: he did a good job. After watching his Star Wars debacle, I'm frankly a bit surprised the guy can act, but he did fine. He did an astounding job at acting like a manipulative snake.


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