Jason Blair did it. Stephen Glass did too.
Now Michael Brenner can join the ranks of the world's most infamous fabricators.
Brenner, a former journalism student at Southern Illinois University, was recently exposed as having fabricated two years worth of stories. The Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper of SIU, printed a series of stories, letters and columns about a motherless 8-year-old and her father being shipped to Iraq.
The hoax embarrassed the paper, killed Brenner's career and will hang a dark cloud over the public's opinion of the college journalism.
In Journalism 101 everyone is taught that the mission is to seek the truth and report it. The media are supposed to serve as watchdog, not a source of sentimental storytelling.
Some scrutiny of the media is necessary to keep journalists on their toes. But, in order for the media to fulfill their watchdog role, the public needs to trust them.
The few selfish "journalists" who fabricate stories overshadow all of the honest, hardworking reporters who follow a strict code of ethics.
Furthermore, this irresponsible journalist belittled the families that really are struggling with losing their family members to the war.
With so many soldiers serving their country abroad and in the United States, surely Brenner could have found one of them with a compelling story to further his career.
If a writer is interested in fiction, they should be a novelist and stop tarnishing the reputations of honorable journalists.