DC Trawler

Reporter Behind UVA Gang-Rape Tale Was Once Disciplined For Making Up A Story… By STEPHEN GLASS

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Here’s a great catch by our old pal Sean Davis at The Federalist. As Rolling Stone‘s UVA gang-rape story implodes, Davis has been looking into the Sabrina Erdely archive to try to find out what else she’s lied about.

And in the process, he found this doozy:

According to “Penn In Ink,” a 2006 book about journalism at the University of Pennsylvania by author Samuel Hughes, Sabrina Erdely (Sabrina Rubin at the time) got busted by her editor at the UPenn newspaper for submitting a story that she had completely made up. Who was the editor who disciplined her? Stephen Glass. Yes, that Stephen Glass

In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, you might have heard about the movie they made about him about 10 years ago, starring Young Darth Vader:


Glass was the New Republic reporter in the mid-90s who made up a bunch of fake news stories, which is now known as “narrative journalism.” He invented people that didn’t exist, he created events that never happened… He made up whatever he felt like making up. And TNR published it all.

When people started to catch on that Glass’s too-good-to-check reporting really did need to be checked, he lied and lied and went to great lengths to cover up his journalistic fraud. But thanks to the diligent work of journalists who actually cared about the truth, it all came crashing down. It ended his career and gave the magazine a huge black eye.*

Keep that in mind as you read this excerpt from Penn In Ink:

Sabrina Rubin, who says she and the rest of the editorial board “adored” [Stephen Glass], puts it another way: “There are reporters who get ahead because they’re great schmoozers, and I think Steve was definitely one of them.” When he became the paper’s executive editor, the editorial board hailed him as a “man of principle,” and in her Philadelphia Magazine piece, Rubin describes how Glass threw a righteous fit when she and a colleague concocted a funny and obviously made-up travel story for [U. Penn magazine] 34th Street–going so far as to call an emergency session of the [Daily Pennsylvanian’s] Alumni Association board to apprise them of the transgression.

This is a bit like… well, it’s a bit like being chastised for joining the Dark Side by Darth Vader.

Or maybe it’s the other way around? Did Glass get the idea from Erdely? Did he see how much fun she had, submitting lies as truth? Did he realize how much easier it was than gathering actual facts? Was that what led him down the path to his own destruction?

Note that I’m asking questions, not pretending I know the answers. I’ll leave that sort of thing to fabulists like Sabrina Erdely.

She certainly doesn’t adore Glass anymore, if we’re to judge by her reaction to his recent attempts to put his life back together:





That’s what Erdely said a year ago. Here’s what she’s saying now:

Good luck with your bar exam in 20 years, Sabrina. Let’s hope your friends are nicer to you than you were to Stephen Glass.

Of course, this doesn’t matter to feminists and their apologists. They’ll continue to dismiss the facts of the UVA case because it supposedly reveals a “greater truth.” They only care about what really happened if they can use it to advance their own agenda.

Lying is a great way to raise awareness of an important issue… until you get caught.

*Don’t worry, though. TNR is doing fine now.

Update: Just asking.