“For the past three months, Jonah Lehrer, science journalist, author of three books, and (former) New Yorker staff writer has been under siege. In mid-June, he was accused of recycling his old work and publishing it as new. Since then, a number of accounts assert that Lehrer committed the two mortal sins of journalism: fabrication and plagiarism.”
Jonah Lehrer’s prior success is a perfect example of how deceptive journalism can be easily achieved. One might find themselves falling into the negative spectrum of journalism by taking part in unethical methods. This includes plagiarism, dodgy quotes, and factual inaccuracies. I agree from the article that every journalist makes mistakes and misinterprets things but to determine whether Lehrer recycled, fabricated, plagiarized, or otherwise breached journalistic ethics. Learning from mistakes happens frequently in this industry, however, purposely making consistent “mistakes” (plagiarism, dodgy quotes, and factual inaccuracies) to establish a “leg up” from the competition is morally upright. The fact that Lehrer was full aware of his actions and his deceptive practices, makes me feel that there are more like him and might even be better at not getting caught. In my opinion, essential journalistic ethics are based upon trust; a breach of that trust results in serious consequences. Credibility is hard to come by and it’s amazing how easy it is to destroy it.