By Sibel Yilmaz
World renowned businessman, Henry Kravis, once said, “If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”
Ex-journalist, Stephen Glass, was once America’s most promising journalists as his articles were featured on The New Republic, Rolling Stone, and George. However, things went haywire when Stephen’s shiny glass shattered in a million pieces as an editor from the Forbes Digital Tool discovered that most of his articles were fabricated. As a result, Glass instantly became blacklisted from the world of journalism and was painted as a complete disgrace for his lack of morals and dishonestly towards his pieces.
Stephen Glass then took a complete 180 turn on his career and went on to earn a law degree at Georgetown University Law Center. Although Glass endeavor to come out with a fresh start with a new career, his past still followed him wherever he went. He struggled to become a licensed attorney in both New York and California as both states decided he was morally unfit to become a lawyer due to his plagiarisms in the past.
This raises a questions in our heads: is this punishment too harsh? Yes, everyone is allowed to make mistakes in their life and learn from them. However, I personally do not think this punishment is harsh at all. Stephen Glass was one of the top journalists that young writers hoped and aspired to be one day. And in the world of journalism, plagiarism and fabrication are deeply frowned upon.
In an interview, Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University, said in an interview, “The question is, Are we prepared to say as lawyers that a man who is no longer considered moral enough to be a journalist is moral enough to be a lawyer? If people flame out in journalism because of dishonesty, is the law open to them? I think the answer is no.”
Personally, I would not want a lawyer to defend me with such a bad reputation like Stephen Glass’. In the court of law, honesty is an absolute must, and I feel as though Mr. Glass is clearly not fit for that role.