Mea Culpa

Jonah Lehrer Paid $20k To Speak

"Plagiarism Pays," The New York Times' headline reads. Jonah Lehrer, the dismissed New Yorker writer caught fabricating quotes and self-plagiarizing, gave a talk Tuesday during a seminar hosted by the Knight Foundation in Miami. For a while, it seemed as if he might have pulled off a sort-of apology. But then Poynter reported that Lehrer was paid $20,000 for the speech. Outrage ensued. Last summer, the once-popular science writer was caught by reporter Michael Moynihan (now with The Daily Beast) making up Bob Dylan quotes in his book Imagine, which was subsequently disowned by publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In the speech, Lehrer blamed his deceptions on "arrogance," and "an ability to explain my carelessness away." But he also said that he isn't ashamed of those flaws, which are "fundamental to me." Still, he is hoping to return to journalism. "What I clearly need is a new set of rules, a stricter set of standard operating procedures." You mean the rule "don't make stuff up" wasn't enough?