The New Republic

What was the accusation?

In May 1998, Forbes Digital Tool (now exposed the phony reporting of Stephen Glass, then an associate editor at The New Republic, a U.S. political magazine. Forbes‘ investigation of Glass’s riveting story, “Hack Heaven,” found that a number of items reported as fact (people, companies, events, etc.) could not be verified or were utterly fabricated. Glass’s own editor, Charles Lane, upon conducting his own inquiry following Forbes‘s disconcerting findings, admitted that he could no longer, in good conscience, vouch for the story, “[determining] to a moral certainty that the entire article is made up.” Lane ultimately dismissed Glass from The New Republic, and further investigation of Glass’s work for the magazine yielded that he had “completely fabricated six articles and had manufactured material in parts of 21 other articles.” On June 29, 1998, The New Republic issued a public apology “to all concerned,” laying out the specific results of its investigation.

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“TNR has completed its investigation of the articles written by Stephen Glass, the former associate editor whom we dismissed for fabricating three recent stories and parts of a fourth. We thoroughly rechecked 37 remaining pieces; as a final step, we sought comment from Glass, who made further admissions.

We believe that each of the following articles by Glass contains at least some fabricated material: ‘All Wet’ (February 16, 1998), ‘Clutch Situation’ (February 16, 1998), ‘Gift of the Magnate’ (January 26, 1998), ‘State of Nature’ (January 19, 1998), ‘Ratted Out’ (December 22, 1997), ‘Anatomy of a Policy Fraud’ (November 17, 1997), ‘No Free Launch’ (November 3, 1997), ‘Kicked Out’ (October 20, 1997), ‘Cheap Suits’ (October 6, 1997), ‘The Young and the Feckless’ (September 8 & 15, 1997), ‘Deja Coup’ (August 11 & 18, 1997), ‘Low Blows’ (August 4, 1997), ‘Peddling Poppy’ (June 9, 1997), ‘After the Fall’ (May 26, 1997), ‘A Fine Mess’ (April 21, 1997), ‘The Jungle’ (April 7, 1997), ‘Spring Breakdown’ (March 31, 1997), ‘Writing on the Wall’ (March 24, 1997), ‘Don’t You D.A.R.E.’ (March 3, 1997), ‘Rock the Morons’ (February 10, 1997), ‘Holy Trinity’ (January 27, 1997), ‘Probable Claus’ (January 6 & 13, 1997), ‘Hazardous to Your Mental Health’ (December 30, 1996).

Though no degree of fabrication is acceptable, we note that the amount of such material in these articles varies widely. Three of them (‘All Wet,’ ‘Clutch Situation,’ ‘Ratted Out’) could be considered entirely or nearly entirely made up. In a few other cases, the false material consists of brief anecdotes or quotations in an otherwise broadly factual story.

The usual pattern, which the following examples may illustrate, is a blend of fact and fiction. ‘Anatomy of a Policy Fraud’ consists largely of valid reporting about the Clinton administration’s approach to cutting crime. But it also cites made-up sources such as the ‘Cops & Justice Foundation’; a supposed Republican poll on crime; ‘Donny Tye, a former California police officer’; and a ‘senior Justice staffer.’

To cite another instance, ‘Don’t You D.A.R.E.’: It is true that some of the anti-drug program’s critics have felt pressured to soften or change their views. But Glass fabricated some of the persons who purportedly had negative experiences with D.A.R.E., including ‘Daniel, a young professor at an Illinois college’ and ‘James, a television news producer.’ Also invented are an ‘NBC employee’ and a ‘Justice Department official’ to whom Glass attributed information.

In ‘Peddling Poppy,’ Glass’s account of a Hofstra University conference on the Bush presidency, ‘The First Church of George Herbert Walker Christ,’ ‘Mary Ung’ of the ‘Committee for the Former President’s Integrity,’ and ‘a small skydiving industry newsletter’ called Jump Now are invented. Finally, in ‘Spring Breakdown,’ Glass’s portrayal of a 1997 conservative political conference in a Washington hotel, Glass made up the article’s accounts of drug use, drinking, and sexual harassment by young conference attendees.

We offer no excuses for any of this. Only our deepest apologies to all concerned.”


Bissinger, B. (1998, September). Shattered Glass. Vanity Fair. Retrieved from

Kurtz, H. (1998, June 12). At New Republic, the agony of deceit. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Noer, M. (2014, November 12). Read the original Forbes takedown of Stephen Glass. Forbes. Retrieved from

Pogrebin, R. (1998, June 12). Rechecking a writer’s facts, a magazine uncovers fiction. The New York Times. Retrieved from

To our readers. (1998, June 29). The New Republic. Retrieved from