A Tale of Two Takes on Shattered Glass

|

First, from The New Republic's Gregg Easterbrook:

Easterblogg was very pleasantly surprised with movie Shattered Glass, and not just because it presents THE NEW REPUBLIC as tremendously important. [?]

Another big plus, from my perspective and that of my peer group: Shattered Glass depicts everyone around Steve Glass as intensely concerned that journalists act honorably. In this way, it is a rare, recent Hollywood production whose worldview is not cynical. Shattered Glass shows an organization and its personnel as trying like crazy to fulfill their responsibilities to the public.

Second, from a non-TNR employee, and a better movie reviewer, The New Yorker's Anthony Lane:

[A]s a whole, ?Shattered Glass? is carefully constructed, intently played, and shot with creepy calm. It is also, by a considerable margin, the most ridiculous movie I have seen this year. [?]

Stephen Glass was a faker on the make, a species common to most fields of human endeavor, yet, to judge by the solemnity with which this movie treats his story, the importance of his transgressions puts him somewhere between Ted Bundy and Alger Hiss. [?]

Glass may be a rotten apple in the barrel, but the contention of [the] film is that the barrel itself, the noble calling of the reporter, is as sturdy and as polished as ever.

Give me a break.

Advertisement

NEXT: Too Much Information

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I find it ironic that when journalism is attacked, suddenly it is bad for Hollywood to be ‘cynical’.

    Who writes the stories about it? Journalists. They’re trying to protect their livelihood, and having the jobs that they have puts them in position to have their spins and responses reach a larger audience than say, a health insurance or mutual fund firm. It’s more than irony, it’s hypocrisy, and to me it reinforces the notion that there is no high ground inherent in the “art” of journalism. It’s just a job that many love to do, but very few can do well.

  2. Both men are way off base. If there is one overriding theme to Shattered Glass, it’s that the system screwed up; to say that it “depicts everyone around Steve Glass as intensely concerned that journalists act honorably…Shattered Glass shows an organization and its personnel as trying like crazy to fulfill their responsibilities to the public,” completely misses the point of the movie. In fact, Glass’ colleagues go out of their way in the movie to excuse his conduct, to look the other way, to avoid asking hard questions. It’s not until he finally gets an editor who gives a damn about “the truth” that he is finally brought down.

    Lane’s review, on the other hand, is almost a parody of the Kael School of Film Criticism, when calling a film “earnest” is considered to be an insult. Not every film needs to treat grifters the same way Spielberg did in Catch Me if You Can, as populist heroes putting one over on “The Man”. And the fact that the film portrays a certain profession, whether it be teaching, practicing law or medicine, being an auto worker, or journalism, as a “noble calling” is certainly not unusual in films, nor does it signify an unwelcome trend.

  3. Maybe if Hollywood presented earnest, responsible characters more often, people would imitate that.

    This moralizing streak in Easterbrook is grating. Maybe if Hollywood presented TNR as it truly was – run by arrogant ideologues intent on self-deception because a guy was bringing them fabricated pieces that fit their worldviews – people would learn from their mistakes. In fact, people are not always earnest and responsible and the better movies are not didactic.

  4. I haven’t seen this movie yet. Is it anywhere near as moronic as “The Contender”?

  5. For clarification sake, what exactly did Mr. Glass do? The articles that I have been able to find via Google are not very specific about his misdeeds. Thankyou. 🙂

  6. Jean Bart, You may want to try this link:

    http://www.rickmcginnis.com/articles/Glassindex.htm

    Have Fun!

  7. EcoDude:

    Thankyou. 🙂

  8. EcoDude:

    Nice webpage. Its interesting that the New Republic webpage devoted to his misdeeds requires registration.

  9. Shattered Glass shows an organization and its personnel as trying like crazy to fulfill their responsibilities to the public.

    Willing suspension of disbelief.

    It is myopic to call the public cynical for accepting the overwhelming statistical likelihood that the integrity of the news is compromised on a nearly consistent basis for the sake of increased sales and/or personal gain. It is a business whose successes are be measured in papers sold, not facts verified, so there is no reason to believe that the industry as a whole has any moral fiber above that of any other purveyor of common goods and services. Mr. Glass was just like any other con artist; it is not difficult to get a journalism degree, nor is it any feat to fool people who believe newspapers. Lane is forgetting that Hollywood has slightly less concern for historical accuracy as it has for making heroes for consumption; Easterbrook meanwhile wants to think of himself as a journalist, moreover one who has an omnibenevolent concern for his “responsibility to the public, although both are dubious.

  10. rst,

    Well, you know Bill O’Reilly says we can’t trust non-professionals on the internet, so who do you trust? 🙂

  11. anthony lane is a dipshit. the new yorker is bad enough without his reviews – i’m still trying unsuccessfully to forbid the wife-to-be to subscribe. she’ll just buy it on the newstand…sigh…

    i remember reading his review of crash and thinking he needed to go outside more often.

  12. Well, you know Bill O’Reilly says we can’t trust non-professionals on the internet, so who do you trust? 🙂

    I trust me. 🙂

    I’m not sure why we should trust non-professionals on the internet any more than we should trust professionals not on the internet. Hold them all at a distance.

  13. I guess the right way to say that is “why we shouldn’t trust non-professionals” to any lesser degree than professionals not on the internet. Oops.

  14. rst,

    It was just my way of mocking Bill O’Reilly.

  15. Thumbs up or down, I think one should quote the clueless Easterbrook on popular culture only a gag.

  16. I find it ironic that when journalism is attacked, suddenly it is bad for Hollywood to be ‘cynical’.

    I guess we need more movies without so much cynicism, like maybe “John Q.” or “Erin Brokovich” or “Wall Street” or any of the series of “let’s pollute the world from our corporate chairs made from the treated flesh of child laborers” movies.

    Blech.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.