Stephen Randall Glass (born September 15, 1972) is an American former journalist and paralegal. He worked for ''The New Republic
'' from 1995 to 1998, until it was revealed that many of his published articles were fabrications. An internal investigation by ''The New Republic'' determined that the majority of stories he wrote either contained false information or were entirely fictional. Glass later acknowledged that he had repaid over $200,000 to ''The New Republic'' and other publications for his earlier fabrications.
Following the journalism scandal, Glass pursued a career in law. Although he earned a Juris Doctor
from Georgetown University Law Center
and passed the bar exam
in New York and California, he was unable to become a licensed attorney in either state over concerns derived from his scandal.
Glass instead found work as a paralegal at the law firm Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, serving as the director of special projects and trial team coordinator.
Glass made a brief return to writing when he fictionalized his own story in his 2003 novel ''The Fabulist''. The same year, the scandal was dramatized in the film ''Shattered Glass
'', which was based on a ''Vanity Fair
'' article of the same name and starred Hayden Christensen
Early life and education
Glass grew up in a Jewish family in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park
and attended Highland Park High School
. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania
as University Scholar, where he was an executive editor of the student newspaper
, ''The Daily Pennsylvanian
His colleagues at ''The Daily Pennsylvanian'' included Sabrina Erdely
, who later also became involved in a fabricated story scandal owing to her ''Rolling Stone
'' article "A Rape on Campus
Glass later graduated ''magna cum laude
'' from Georgetown University Law Center
with a Juris Doctor
degree and was named John M. Olin Fellow in law and economics.
''The New Republic''
After his 1994 graduation from Penn, Glass joined ''The New Republic
'' in 1995 as an editorial assistant.
Soon thereafter, the 23-year-old Glass advanced to writing features. While employed full-time at ''TNR'', he also wrote for other magazines including ''Policy Review
'', ''Rolling Stone
'', and ''Harper's
'' and contributed to Public Radio International
's (PRI) weekly hour-long program ''This American Life
'', hosted by Ira Glass
(no relation to Stephen).
Although Glass enjoyed loyalty from ''The New Republic'' staff, his reporting repeatedly drew outraged rebuttals from the subjects of his articles, eroding his credibility and leading to private skepticism from insiders at the magazine. The magazine's majority owner and editor-in-chief, Martin Peretz
, later said that his wife had told him that she did not find Glass's stories credible and had stopped reading them.
In December 1996, the Center for Science in the Public Interest
(CSPI) was the target of a hostile article by Glass called "Hazardous to Your Mental Health." CSPI wrote a letter to the editor and issued a press release pointing out numerous inaccuracies and distortions, and hinting at possible plagiarism. The organization Drug Abuse Resistance Education
(D.A.R.E.) accused Glass of falsehoods in his March 1997 article "Don't You D.A.R.E."
''The New Republic'' defended Glass and editor Michael Kelly
demanded CSPI apologize to him.
In May 1997, Joe Galli of the College Republican National Committee accused Glass of fabrications in "Spring Breakdown", his lurid tale of drinking and debauchery at the 1997 Conservative Political Action Conference. A June 1997 article called "Peddling Poppy" about a Hofstra University conference on George H. W. Bush drew a letter from Hofstra reciting errors in the story.] [
On May 18, 1998, ''The New Republic'' published a story by Glass (by then an associate editor) entitled "Hack Heaven," purportedly telling the story of a 15-year-old hacker who had penetrated a company's computer network, then been hired by that company as a security consultant.
The article opened as follows:
Adam Penenberg, a reporter with ''Forbes'' magazine, became suspicious when he found no search engine results for "Jukt Micronics," found that "Jukt Micronics" had just a single phone line, and saw that its website was extremely amateurish.
Challenged, Glass claimed to have been duped by "Restil." Glass took Charles Lane, then lead editor of ''The New Republic'', to the Bethesda, Maryland hotel at which Restil had purportedly met with the Jukt executives; Lane discovered that on the day of the claimed meeting the hotel's conference room had been closed and the restaurant where the hackers supposedly ate dinner afterwards closes in the early afternoon.] [ Lane dialed a Palo Alto number provided by Glass and spoke with a man who identified himself as a Jukt executive; however, when he realized that the "executive" was actually Glass' brother, who attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, he fired Glass.
Lane later said:
''The New Republic'' subsequently determined that at least 27 of the 41 articles Glass wrote for the magazine contained fabricated material. Some of the 27, such as "Don't You D.A.R.E.", contained real reporting interwoven with fabricated quotations and incidents, while others, including "Hack Heaven," were completely made up.
[ In the process of creating the "Hack Heaven" article, Glass had gone to especially elaborate lengths to thwart the discovery of his deception by ''TNR''s fact checkers: creating a website and voice mail account for Jukt Micronics; fabricating notes of story gathering; having fake business cards printed; and even composing editions of a fake computer hacker community newsletter.] [
As for the balance of the 41 stories, Lane, in an interview given for the 2005 DVD edition of ''Shattered Glass'', said, "In fact, I'd bet lots of the stuff in those other 14 is fake too. ... It's not like we're vouching for those 14, that they're true. They're probably not either." ''Rolling Stone'', ''George'', and ''Harper's'' also re-examined his contributions. ''Rolling Stone'' and ''Harper's'' found the material generally accurate yet maintained they had no way of verifying information because Glass had cited anonymous sources. ''George'' discovered that at least three of the stories Glass wrote for it contained fabrications.] Specifically, Glass fabricated quotations in a profile piece and apologized to the article's subject, Vernon Jordan, an adviser to then-President Bill Clinton. A court filing for Glass's application to the California bar gave an updated count on his journalism career: 36 of his stories at ''The New Republic'' were said to be fabricated in part or in whole, along with three articles for ''George'', two articles for ''Rolling Stone'', and one for ''Policy Review''. [
Glass had contributed a story to an October 1997 episode of the NPR program This American Life about an internship at George Washington's former plantation, and another to a December 1997 episode about time he spent as a telephone psychic. The program subsequently removed both segments from the Archives section of its website "because of questions about heirtruthfulness".
After journalism, Glass earned a J.D. degree at Georgetown University Law Center. He then passed the New York State bar examination in 2000, but the Committee of Bar Examiners refused to certify him on its moral fitness test, citing ethics concerns related to his journalistic malpractice.
He later abandoned his efforts to be admitted to the bar in New York.
In 2003, Glass published a so-called "biographical novel", ''The Fabulist''. Glass sat for an interview with the weekly news program ''60 Minutes'' timed to coincide with the release of his book.
''The New Republic'' literary editor, Leon Wieseltier, complained, "The creep is doing it again. Even when it comes to reckoning with his own sins, he is still incapable of nonfiction. The careerism of his repentance is repulsively consistent with the careerism of his crimes." [ One reviewer of ''The Fabulist'' commented, "The irony—we must have irony in a tale this tawdry—is that Mr. Glass is abundantly talented. He's funny and fluent and daring. In a parallel universe, I could imagine him becoming a perfectly respectable novelist—a prize-winner, perhaps, with a bit of luck."
Also in 2003, Glass briefly returned to journalism, writing an article about Canadian marijuana laws for ''Rolling Stone''. On November 7, 2003, Glass participated in a panel discussion on journalistic ethics at George Washington University, along with the editor who had hired him at ''The New Republic'', Andrew Sullivan, who accused Glass of being a "serial liar" who was using "contrition as a career move."]
A film about the scandal, ''Shattered Glass'', was released in October 2003 and depicted a stylized view of Glass's rise and fall at ''The New Republic''. Written and directed by Billy Ray, it starred Hayden Christensen as Glass, alongside Peter Sarsgaard as Charles Lane, Hank Azaria as Michael Kelly, and Steve Zahn as Adam Penenberg. The film, appearing shortly after ''The New York Times'' suffered a similar plagiarism scandal with the discovery of Jayson Blair's fabrications, occasioned critiques of the journalism industry itself by nationally prominent journalists such as Frank Rich and Mark Bowden.
Glass was out of the public eye for several years following the release of his novel and the film. In 2007, he was performing with a Los Angeles comedy troupe known as Un-Cabaret, having earlier found employment at a small law firm, apparently as a paralegal.
In 2015, Glass again made the news after reportedly sending ''Harper's Magazine'' a check for $10,000 – what he was paid for the false articles – writing in the attached letter that he wanted "to make right that part of my many transgressions...I recognize that repaying Harper's will not remedy my wrongdoing, make us even, or undo what I did wrong. That said, I did not deserve the money that Harper's paid me and it should be returned."
Unsuccessful California Bar application
In 2009, Glass applied to join the State Bar of California. The Committee of Bar Examiners refused to certify him, finding that he did not satisfy California's moral fitness test because of his history of journalistic deception.
Insisting that he had reformed, Glass then petitioned the State Bar Court's hearing department, which found that Glass possessed the necessary "good moral character" to be admitted as an attorney. [
The Committee of Bar Examiners sought review in the State Bar's Review Department and filed a Writ of Review, thereby petitioning the California Supreme Court to review the decision.] On November 16, 2011, the Supreme Court granted the petition, the first time in 11 years the court had granted review in a moral character case. On January 3, 2012, Glass's attorneys filed papers with the Court arguing that his behavior had been irreproachable for more than 13 years and this was proof that he had reformed.
On November 6, 2013, the California Supreme Court heard arguments in Glass's case and ruled unanimously against him in an opinion issued January 27, 2014. The lengthy opinion describes in minute detail the applicant's history, record, the bar's applicable standard of review, the appeal, and its own analysis of how Glass failed to satisfy the court's standards, concluding, "On this record, he has not sustained his heavy burden of demonstrating rehabilitation and fitness for the practice of law." Based on this decision, Glass was barred from practicing law in the State of California.
He was married to lawyer and author Julie Hilden, who died in 2018.
* Claas Relotius
* Jayson Blair
* Journalism scandals
* Schön scandal
* Fake news
* Chait, Jonathan
"Remembrance of Things Passed: How my friend Stephen Glass got away with it
''Washington Monthly'', July/August 2003.
* ''New Republic''
June 1, 1998. (First statement), an
June 29, 1998. (Second statement).
* Rosin, Hanna
''Slate'', May 21, 2003.
Hacker heaven, editors' hell
May 14, 1998.
Lies, damn lies and fiction
May 11, 1998. (Forbes exposes Glass's fabrications in The New Republic's "Hack Heaven" article)
continued from Lies, damn lies and fiction
May 11, 1998. (Large screenshot of Glass's AOL website for phony "Jukt Micronics" firm he concocted for "Hack Heaven" article)
The New York Times Scandal Recalls Glass Episode
May 20, 2003. (Article about the Jayson Blair scandal, to which are appended links to many ''Forbes'' articles about the Glass scandal)
* Rick McGinnis Web site
A Tissue of Lies: The Stephen R. Glass Index
– Complete list of Glass articles, with known fabrications marked.
Many of the articles that Glass wrote for ''The New Republic'' are no longer available online. Below are links to some of those articles which Glass is suspected of fabricating in part or in whole:
"A Day on the Streets"
for ''The Daily Pennsylvanian'', June 6, 1991
"Taxis and the Meaning of Work"
August 5, 1996
"Mrs. Colehill Thanks God For Private Social Security"
June 1997, for ''Policy Review'' magazine. PDF format.
published January 6 & 13, 1997
published January 27, 1997
published March 3, 1997
published March 24, 1997
published March 31, 1997
published July 14 & 21, 1997
published September 15, 1997
April 13, 1998
Category:American male journalists
Category:Georgetown University Law Center alumni
Category:People from Highland Park, Illinois
Category:The New Republic people
Category:The Daily Pennsylvanian people
Category:Jewish American writers
Category:American male writers
Category:University of Pennsylvania alumni