the atlantic magazine already had a reputation of questionable journalism. it only got worse. they essentially exposed that they have an institutional problem.
the atlantic’s practice of journalism is so questionable that it shouldn’t even be considered as journalism.
truthiness is a problem. the atlantic magazine’s latest run-in with the truth involves an article which was written by a freelance writer. the article had to be pulled due to questionable journalistic practices which included making up a fictitious individual.
it is reported in the ny times that “[t]he atlantic said it had assigned her[the writer] the sports article as a freelancer because more than two decades had passed since those incidents [of plagiarism] and because her work had appeared in reputable magazines in recent years. the editor’s note said the atlantic also considered the argument that ms. barrett deserved a second chance. “[w]e were wrong to make this assignment, however,” the editor’s note said. “it reflects poor judgment on our part, and we regret our decision.”
the atlantic’ statement , however, is completely disingenuous. the reason being that the published the article did not use ms. barrett’s name that she had used in the past when she got in trouble and developed her poor reputation. instead, the article was published under a different name.
thus, one could argue that they deceptively used another name to cover-up the fact that they hired someone of questionable journalistic practices in the first place. in using her old name, one could argue that if they truly believed that she had redeemed herself and was deserving of a second chance. it could tell the world that she was now on the right track and send a message of real second chances and success.
they didn’t. and they got caught. essentially, they are lying liars that lie. this type of conduct is dangerous in a society that has ten commandment values concerning bearing false witness against neighbors. lies are like tumble weeds. they start small and keep getting bigger. questionable atlantic articles have been cited as representations of facts by politicians. in our society, a citation from a reputable news organization means something. liars and propagandists have taken advantage of that fact. they get some publication to publish lies and they then cite them as being the truth. thus, the propagandist does not have to make up the lie all on their own. they believe they can deceive the public. frankly, it is a disgusting practice that needs to be exposed.
while i am against censorship, journalistic societies and organizations that give awards to outstanding journalists should consider those associated with the atlantic as radioactive. any association which would have them as members is a stain on that organization. i have no problem with them publishing. my concern is that organizations dedicated to the highest standards of journalism should not be associated with such a problematic publisher. they too should be given a second chance. they need to clean up their act.
to ms. barrett, i have some words of advice. you are not built for journalism. you have talents and you need to direct them away from truth telling. there are many things you can do such as writing fiction, teaching writing, or editing. perhaps, you could write a book about plagiarism and questionable journalism practices. i know that i certainly would be interested in the workings and motivations behind it. in sum, sometimes life is about third chances. take advantage of it.
to the atlantic, i have some words of advice. ms. barrett’s mis-steps were little mis-steps. factual inaccuracies in a little story about ivy league school sports is small potatoes. your publication, however, traffics in questionable journalism with international ramifications. it is time for your organization to come clean about a number of your questionable stories and as to whether there is truly a modicum of truth to them. perhaps, it is time that you admit to whether there is any truth to them. perhaps you should convince anonymous sources to come forward so that the world can determine whether you even came close to telling the truth. until you come clean, you are at best the lining for a birdcage.