Charles ‘Chuck’ Lane was by far the most ethical character in the movie, “Shattered Glass.” When former New Republic editor Michael Kelly was on the hot seat, and Chuck was offered his position, he turned it down. He did not want to jeopardize the structure of their team. Eventually, he did take the position after Michael was fired, which caused almost all of the stuff to root against him.
Chuck had to put up with all Stephen Glass’s mess and the entire staff teared him apart for going against Glass, he still took an ethical stance and stayed with it throughout the entire movie. He was the only person that could see right through Stephen’s lies and fabricated articles.
No disrespect to Michael Kelly and his time as editor of the New Republic, but he was not a true editor. Even though Stephen was a young writer and he may have needed protection, Michael should had laid down the hammer much sooner, much like Chuck did. That is another aspect of Chuck that made him an ethical person. He was a true editor, not the kind that Stephen wanted:
“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!”
Yeah, Stephen, he is supposed to support you, but he does not need to be unethical in his support. Initially, Chuck did stand up for Stephen when Adam L. Penenberg and Forbes attacked the article, “Hack Heaven,” but when Chuck finally saw the holes, he immediately asked to see the facts. Unfortunately, for Stephen, there were no facts.
When editors have to deal with plagiarism or fabrication, they should immediately reflect on the ethics of journalism. They should set the example for all writers that plagiarizing is wrong and that going against that stance will result in punishment. If something looks suspicious, editors must ask for their writers’ notes and do background research themselves. In the end, nearly everything lies in the hands of the editors to establish right from wrong and teach their writers to do the same.