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California Bar Rejects Stephen Glass, Ex-Writer Who Fabricated Stories

Handing down a harsh opinion, the California Supreme Court said that Stephen Glass, the former journalist who fabricated many stories, had failed to prove that he was of good moral character, so it was denying him a law license.

Despite his attempts to rehabilitate his image, the court said, it remained unconvinced that that Glass had changed his ways.

Specifically, the court points out, Glass's misrepresentations continued many years after the many publications he worked for found many of his pieces were heavily fabricated. Glass, the court argues, even misrepresented some facts to the court.

"Glass's journalistic dishonesty was not a single lapse of judgment, which we have
sometimes excused, but involved significant deceit sustained unremittingly for a
period of years," the court wrote. "Glass's deceit also was motivated by professional ambition, betrayed a vicious, mean spirit and a complete lack of compassion for others, along with arrogance and prejudice against various ethnic groups. In all these respects, his misconduct bore directly on his character in matters that are critical to the practice of law."

Glass's story, if you remember, was told in the film Shattered Glass. USA Today reports:

"[The court] also accused Glass of 'hypocrisy and evasiveness' at a California State Bar hearing.

"'He went through many verbal twists and turns at the hearing to avoid acknowledging the obvious fact that in his New York bar application he exaggerated his level of assistance to the magazines that had published his fabrications, and that he omitted from his New York bar list of fabrications some that actually could have injured real
persons,' it said.

"The court also seemed troubled that Glass had begun law school at Georgetown University even before his firing in 1998."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.