This week we have been discussing the role of truth in journalism. We explored D’Agata and James Frey and Mike Daisy. We listened to the NPR interview with fact checker Jim Fingal and D’Agata and we had a generous discussion on the role of truth versus facts. And, of course we needed to include, Stephen Glass, famous as a journalist who made up entire sources, stories etc. Here is the handy chart, borrowed from Slate, that we looked at in class.
The Stephen Glass story was made into a movie. I recall it was called Broken Glass or Shattered Glass or some such. So, I checked IMBD, found Broken Glass, and began to play the trailer. About 5 seconds into the trailer the students were saying, “uh, Lockie, I don’t think this is the correct movie.” Splashed up on the big media screen was not a newsroom with Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass defending his sources. Instead it was clearly a bedroom scene. Nothing too steamy, just an arm and some sheets, but clearly not a newsroom. The IMBD description of Broken Glass reads:
“Through seven bottles of cursed wine, we follow the journey of Valentina, a beautiful artist living in Berlin. With a sordid history of sexual and physical abuse, and having been caught in the arms of her female lover by her wealthy, overbearing mother, Val is forced to make a choice: to live a “normal” life, or be forever cut off – financially and emotionally. She concedes to her mother’s ultimatum, and pursues a heterosexual relationship to appease her, only to catch her new boyfriend in bed with another man. Her inability to cope with her life triggers her repressed male alter-ego to emerge and take over.”
While the IMBD description of Scattered Glass (Which I discovered is the trailer I should have been showing) reads:
“The true story of a young journalist who fell from grace when it was found he had fabricated over half of his articles.”
I was red-faced for the balance of class. We did eventually play the correct trailer, but as one student left the classroom he said, “I’m going to tell my friends you made us watch porn.”
Not my best teaching moment but I bet they remember who Stephen Glass is now.