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The main concept
Charles Siefe, the author of Jonah Lehrer’s Journalistic Misdeeds at Wired.com, talks of the many journalistic improprieties that Jonah allegedly committed during his tenure at Wired.com. Jonah apparently committed the two cardinal journalistic offenses, viz. plagiarism and fabrication.
Under plagiarism, Jonah uplifted content from other sources without giving the proper due credit to the authors of the information. In addition, Jonah practiced self-plagiarism by recycling his own materials from past writings.
Moreover, he took information from press releases without acknowledgment. Jonah additionally used his fellow journalists’ information without clear referencing. He also changed quotations just to make his content different. Finally, he gave wrong facts probably to confuse the readers and appear to have researched widely on his topics.
Why the author chose to emphasize on this point
The author emphasizes the issue of journalistic improprieties because they discredit journalism as a profession. Journalists assume the responsibility of informing the masses on pertinent issues that happen across the world. Therefore, most people believe what they read from books, blogs, and news articles amongst others.
Journalism as a profession requires journalists to research their information and offer facts based on solid evidence as opposed to hearsays. Therefore, Seife emphasizes this issue as a part of damage control so that people may know that not all journalists are like Jonah.
People have the tendency of making decisions based on one occasion, and thus they might conclude that all journalists are fake and unreliable. Therefore, the author of this article is on a mission to clarify matters and let the public know that the journalism profession can be trusted even in the face of unprofessional individuals like Jonah.
The greatest surprise arising from Jonah’s amateurish behavior is that such people exist in the journalism profession. Initially, I assumed that all journalists act professionally, and thus they follow a set code of ethics, which guides their work. However, I now realize that even professionals can employ uncouth methods in executing their duties.
This realization conflicts my earlier novice assumption that journalists are some of the most professional people across the world. I sadly recognize that my earlier notions almost amounted to naivety. At first when I heard of Jonah’s improprieties, I went into self-denial because I could not understand why a professional would do such a thing.
Nevertheless, despite my shock after the revelation of Jonah’s unprofessionalism, I was fascinated by the fact that it took over three years for people to realize the inconsistencies in his stories.
This aspect implies that people just read for the sake of it without connecting information from previous reads. In addition, it points to the fact that most people do not read and the few that read, they do not digest facts. For instance, the content uplifted from Jarret is almost similar, yet it took very long time for readers to realize the infringement.
Connection with other parts of my life
This revelation is a wake up call for my naivety towards life. Earlier, I used to believe everything that journalists said especially concerning the United States’ foreign policy. However, I now realize that I might have been duped on several occasions into believing wrongful information.
For instance, all along I have believed that the US invaded Iraq due to the presence of weapons of mass destruction, but I am now reconsidering that perspective. Going forward, I will be critical when reading and interpreting information by journalists.