Shattered Glass (2003)
Caitlin Avey: What the hell did you do to Steve? He called me from his car, hysterical. I asked him what was wrong, he said, "ask Chuck?"
Chuck Lane: I fired him, okay? Not suspended, fired. Because this wasn't an isolated incident Caitlin. He cooked a dozen of them, maybe more. And we're going to have to go through them, you and I. We're going to have to go through all of them, now.
Caitlin Avey: No, the only one was Hack Heaven. He told me that himself.
Chuck Lane: If he were a stranger to you, if he was a guy you were doing a piece about, pretend that guy told you he'd only did it once. Would you take his word for it? Of course not! You'd dig and you'd bury him! And you'd feel offended if anyone told you not to.
Caitlin Avey: Every one of those pieces was fact-checked, they were all...
Chuck Lane: So was Hack Heaven!
Chuck Lane: You're a good reporter. You've always been such a smart and thorough reporter, why can't you be one now?
Caitlin Avey: Cause what you're telling me just is impossible, Chuck.
Chuck Lane: Go upstairs. Read 'em again.
Caitlin Avey: This is bullshit!
Chuck Lane: And make sure you go all the way back, because half of them ran when Mike was still here.
Caitlin Avey: That's what this is. Of course. I mean, what are you going to do, Chuck, pick us off, one by one? Everybody that was loyal to Mike, till you have a staff that belongs to you? Is that the kind of magazine you want to run?
Chuck Lane: Caitlin, when this thing blows, there isn't going to be a magazine anymore. If you want to make this about Mike, make it about Mike. I don't give a shit. You can resent me, you can hate me, but come Monday morning, we're all going to have to answer for what we let happen here. We're all going to have an apology to make! Jesus Christ! Don't you have any idea how much shit we're about to eat? Every competitor we ever took a shot at, they're going to pounce. And they should. Because we blew it, Caitlin. He handed us fiction after fiction and we printed them all as fact. Just because... we found him "entertaining." It's indefensible. Don't you know that?
Chuck Lane: You had your brother pose as George Sims.
Stephen Glass: What?
Chuck Lane: The phony recording from Jukt Micronics? It's a Palo Alto number. And your brother is a student at Stanford. You had him pose as Sims.
Stephen Glass: No, Sims is a real guy...
Chuck Lane: Steve, Steve...
Stephen Glass: I've talked to him a million times, Chuck. My brother and I aren't even speaking right now.
Chuck Lane: Stop it. You faked Sims, you faked a website, you faked all those voicemails...
Stephen Glass: [speaking at the same time] You don't know. You don't know, Chuck.
Chuck Lane: Restil, Hiert, Ghort...
Stephen Glass: [speaking at the same time] You got this totally backward.
Chuck Lane: It's all crap. I can trace it if you make me. I'll find it all billed to you.
Stephen Glass: I don't know what you're talking about, okay. Those are all real people.
Chuck Lane: They are?
Stephen Glass: Yeah.
Chuck Lane: Look at me... and say that again.
Stephen Glass: (beat) Those are all real people.
Stephen Glass: If I were to throw a party where all we did was play "Monopoly," would you guys come?
Caitlin Avey: Could I be the little shoe?
Stephen Glass: Of course.
Chuck Lane: You're fired, Steve.
Stephen Glass: What?
Chuck Lane: You're fired, Steve. You've lost your job.
Stephen Glass: But you can't do that.
Chuck Lane: [Outside the closed restaurant] It was ten people?
Stephen Glass: Yes.
Chuck Lane: For dinner?
Stephen Glass: Yes.
Chuck Lane: [Looking at the business hours sign] They're closed at 3:00 on Sundays.
Stephen Glass: Yeah, I know. I know, they almost didn't let us in. Okay? But it was a couple minutes before 3:00 and Ian looked like he was about ready to cry, and so they said okay.
Chuck Lane: But for dinner?
Stephen Glass: Go in and ask them yourself, Chuck. Okay? Go in and see if they would serve a party that came in at 2:58 and the answer would be yes, because that's when we got here.
Chuck Lane: The Forbes guys are going to have all this too...
Stephen Glass: [speaking at the same time] I didn't do anything wrong, Chuck.
Chuck Lane: ...and they're going to dig through the records of that office building. I'm sure they have surveillance cameras and they're going to check them.
Stephen Glass: I didn't do anything wrong, Chuck!
Chuck Lane: I really wish you'd stop saying that!
Chuck Lane: Steve... come on, anyone can make a mistake.
Stephen Glass: You know, this is not right, Chuck! Okay, I feel really attacked. And you're my editor. You're supposed to support me and you're taking their word against mine? You're supposed to support me!
Gloria: You know what could've prevented all this, don't you?
Chuck Lane: No, what?
Gloria: Pictures. How could you make up characters if everyone you wrote about had to be photographed?
[after completely debunking Stephen Glass's New Republic article]
Adam Penenberg: But there is one thing in this story that checks out.
Kambiz Foroohar: What's that?
Adam Penenberg: There does appear to be a state in the union named Nevada.
Amy Brand: Have you noticed the way Steve's phone has been ringing lately? Did you see all those editors at the correspondence dinner? The way they were circling him?
Caitlin Avey: Is that what you want, Amy? To get a bunch of smoke blown up your ass by a pack of editors?
Amy Brand: Yes. Yes it is.
Andy Fox: The New Republic, snobbiest rag in the business, the in-flight magazine of Air Force One... and their star goes out and gets completely snowed by a bunch of hackers. I mean, God couldn't have written this any better.
Michael Kelly: Steve, I have to ask you this: did you ever cook a piece when I was your boss? The Young Conservatives piece, the mini bottles, was that true?
Stephen Glass: [sweating and nervous] Chuck, will you come with me because I'm afraid I might do something.
Chuck Lane: [ignores him]
Stephen Glass: Did you hear what I said?
Chuck Lane: Yeah I did... It's a hell of a story.
Chuck Lane: We've read through all the pieces now, the entire staff, and we've come up with a list of those whose facts and sources we couldn't verify independently. I know you can't admit guilt of any kind but I want you to confirm a few titles for me.
Glass' Lawyer: We're not prepared to confirm or deny anything at this time.
Chuck Lane: What I'm going to do is this, I'm going to read to you a list of suspicious titles, one by one. If you raise an objection to a particular title, we'll fact check it again in the hope of removing it from the list. If you remain silent we'll assume that piece is fabricated either partially or entirely, and it'll stay on. Is that clear to everyone?
Chuck Lane: Okay.
[Chuck reads from the list]
Chuck Lane: "Hazardous To Your Mental Health."
[Stephen remains silent]
Chuck Lane: That means it stays on the list of suspicious pieces, fabricated pieces.
Glass' Lawyer: We understand, can we move along?
Chuck Lane: [Chuck continues to reads from the list] "Holy Trinity," "Probable Clause," "Don't You D.A.R.E.," "Spring Breakdown," "State of Nature," "Rock The Morons," "After The Fall"...
Stephen Glass: It's true, journalism is hard work. Everybody's under pressure. Everybody grinds to get the issue out. Nobody's getting any sleep, but you are allowed to smile every once in awhile.
David Bach: Look, I'm really sorry to bother you at night but it seemed important.
Chuck Lane: It's fine, is there a problem?
David Bach: Well, I don't know. I just got off the phone with Stephen. He sounds horrible. Did you suspend him, Chuck?
Chuck Lane: David, what is the problem?
David Bach: He asked me if I would drive him out to Dulles later tonight, he said he wasn't sure he'd be safe driving by himself. I thought I should draw your attention to that.
Chuck Lane: Did he say where he was going?
David Bach: Yeah, he said he'd be staying with his family for a while. That could only be one of two places.
Chuck Lane: His parents live in Highland Park, right?
David Bach: Yeah, or his brother out in Palo Alto.
Chuck Lane: [Surprised] I'm sorry?
David Bach: His brother at Stanford.
Kambiz Foroohar: [Over the phone] In light of all this: how confident are you in this story of yours?
Stephen Glass: Are we off the record?
Kambiz Foroohar: If you like.
Stephen Glass: Well, off the record, some of the things that you've brought up: the website, the idea that I was always speaking to these people through voicemail, that is, that they were always calling me. It didn't seem strange before, but clearly, there are some problems with the story. You've pointed them out. One portion of it was structured in a way that - in light of all this, I'm increasingly beginning to believe I've been duped.
Stephen Glass: [Narrating] So Chuck took over and the job, for the first time ever, began to feel like a job. But I'm being unfair. The truth is I wrote fourteen pieces while Chuck was editing the magazine. And the last of them was the biggest story I ever wrote.
Chuck Lane: [Seeing the apology letter issued the New Republic and signed by its staff] It's funny, because I thought I was going to have to explain all this to you.
Stephen Glass: [Narrating] There's so many show offs in journalism, so many braggarts and jerks. They're always selling, always working the room, always trying to make themselves look hotter than they actually are. The good news is reporters like that make it easy to distinguish yourself, if your even a little humble and a little self-effacing, you stand out so you bring a co-worker lunch and his there buried under a dead line and you remember birthdays. I mean even Woodward Bernstein went out for a burger every now and then and he won a Pulitzer. Some reporters think its political content that makes an article memorable. I think it's the people that you write about, you find their quarks their flaws, what makes them funny and what makes them human. Journalism is the art of capturing behavior and you have to know who your writing for, you have to know what your good at. I record what people do and I find what moves them what scares them and I write that down. That way they're the ones telling the story and you know what? Those kinds of pieces can win Pulitzer's too.
Mrs. Duke: [Listing Stephen's journalism experience and background to her students] Contributing writer for Harper's magazine, contributing writer for George Magazine, contributing writer for Rolling Stone and associate editor for The New Republic Magazine in Washington D.C. Sorry if I'm beaming but I was his journalistic muse.
Stephen Glass: [to the students of her class] It's true, I was doing the exact same thing you guys are doing grinding out pieces and then having horrid nightmare of Mrs. Duke and her infamous red pen.
Mrs. Duke: And now he's at The New Republic Magazine, see what happens when greatness is demanded from you?