Ryerson University journalism professor Ivor Shapiro reviews, for the Canadian Journal of Communication, four books about recent scandals at newspapers and magazines: The Fabulist: A Novel by Stephen Glass, Burning Down My Master’s House: My Life at the New York Times by Jayson Blair, Hard News: The Scandals at the New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media by Seth Mnookin, and The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callaghan. The quartet, two by cheaters and two by respected writers, are tied together in a quest to answer the age-old question: why do humans cheat? For Shapiro, Callaghan’s book on American cheating culture comes the closest to offering up an answer. The infamous reporters who cheated did it because they could, Shapiro concludes, which is exactly “the thing that most urgently needs to be changed.”
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