Monday, July 30, 2012

Journalist Fabricated Bob Dylan Quotes in Book

Writer/author Jonah Lehrer's dramatic ethical fall (see the July 10, 2012 blog post) now includes creating false quotes from legendary singer, Bob Dylan that were included in Lehrer's latest book, Imagine: How Creativity Works ("Jonah Lehrer, Caught Making Up Bob Dylan Quotes, Resigns from The New Yorker," New York Magazine, July 30, 2012). Then Lehrer proceeded to lie about his dishonest act when journalist Michael C. Moynihan questioned him about the source material for the quotes. Lehrer explained away the lack of a trail for the quotes by telling Moynihan that the material could be found in "unreleased footage" of Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home and other sources that don't exist. Lehrer has resigned his staff writer job at New Yorker.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Lehrer's credibility is seriously damaged due to his fabrication and lies. Are readers of his other books and articles going to suspect that his other writings may be totally or somewhat false? Why or why not?
  2. Can Lehrer regain his credibility so that he can secure another job as a journalist? Or should he become strictly a fiction writer? Why or why not?
  3. What should Lehrer do to atone for his deception, especially to the libraries, individuals, and groups that purchased some 200,000 copies of his latest book?

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