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Writer lies his way to fame

May 08, 2003|Washington Post

Stephen Glass, who had never uttered a public word about his repeated fabrications at the New Republic five years ago, is cashing in on his notoriety.

He lied to his editors, his family and his readers, Glass told "60 Minutes" in an interview airing Sunday to promote a forthcoming novel.

In "The Fabulist," being published by Simon & Schuster, Glass uses only one real name -- his own -- in a fictionalized treatment of how he bamboozled the world as a 25-year-old New Republic writer who always seemed to have the most colorful scenes and the most perfect quotes.

Leon Wieseltier, the New Republic's literary editor, said that "even in his reckoning of his crimes, he seems incapable of nonfiction. It's unbelievable. This may be the first novel ever written for the sole purpose of avoiding fact-checking.

"The publisher and the media are compliant in a callow man's attempt to profit from some of the worst aspects of American life," said Wieseltier. "In the American media, crime is a form of upward mobility because it makes celebrity possible. It's really disgusting."

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