not hide their biases, and is motivated by reward instead of truth. He or
she cares more about inventing the next big story than actually putting
in the work to find it. They often exploit stories for their own
professional advancement and desire for fame, with no regard for the
destruction they might cause in the lives of others (Weinraub 4). While
many films display such characters, I find that Shattered Glass and Ace in
The Hole serve as two prime examples of “bad journalism” and boost a
negative image of the press in the public’s mind.
Based on the downfall of Stephen Glass, a reporter for The New
Republic, the film Shattered Glass is a perfect representation of “bad
journalism.” As one of the youngest reporters at The New Republic,
Glass claimed to have felt enormous pressure and decided to “falsify
more than two dozen stories for [the magazine]” (Ehrlich, 2005, 104).
Glass was an incredibly talented journalist, and would have been fully
aware of the value framework expected within the industry, yet he chose
to “fake handwritten notes, fake typed notes from imaginary events
written with intentional misspellings, fake diagrams of who sat where at
meetings that never transpired, [and] fake voicemails from fake
sources” (Ehrlich, 2005, 108). While Glass exhibited many of the
characteristics of a “bad journalist,” such as manipulation and
exploitation of stories for his own career advancement, the film also
portrayed him as a sweet-talker. He knew exactly what to say in order
to get his co-workers to laugh, understand, and believe in his lies. If he
hadn’t been so likeable, I argue that his actions would have been
discovered sooner. Although Shattered Glass was based on a true story,
it did receive negative reactions within the industry because many felt
that it enhanced the public’s distrust in the media (Ehrlich, 2005, 110).
With experience in journalism myself, I can understand why the critics
felt that it reinforced the “stereotype of journalists as sleazy and
insensitive attack dogs with no regard for the truth” (Ehrlich, 2005,
110). Although this might provide the public with a negative impression
of the press, there are countless reporters that are working for our
benefit and putting their lives at risk in order to provide us with valuable
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