Shattered Glass Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Shattered Glass script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Stephen Glass at the New Republic movie starring Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, etc.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Shattered Glass. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

Swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards for more free movie scripts!

Shattered Glass Script



There are

so many show-offs in journalism.



So many braggarts and jerks.



They are 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 you're

even a little bit humble,



a little self-effacing or solicitous,

you stand out.



So you bring a co-worker lunch

if he's buried under a deadline,



you remember birthdays.



It's true,

journalism is hard work,



everybody's under pressure, everybody's

grinding to get the issue out.



Nobody's getting any sleep, but you are

allowed to smile every once in a while.



I mean, even Woodward and Bernstein

went out for a burger now and then,



and they won a Pulitzer.



Some reporters think

it's political content



that makes a story




I think it's the people

you find...



their quirks, their flaws,



what makes them funny,

what makes them human.



Journalism is just the art

of capturing behavior.



You have to know

who you're writing for.



And you have to know

what you're good at.



I record what people do,



I find out what moves them,

what scares them,



and I write that down.



That way, they are the ones

telling the story.



You know what? Those kind of pieces

can win Pulitzers too.



"Contributing writer

for Harper's Magazine,



contributing writer

for George magazine,



contributing writer

for Rolling Stone,



and of course,

associate editor



of the New Republic magazine

in Washington D.C.



Sorry if I'm beaming, but, you know,

I was his journalistic muse.



- It's true.



Just seven years ago,

he was sitting...



right there.



I'm sorry.

Right there.



And I was doing the exact

same thing you guys are doing...



grinding out pieces

and then having horrid nightmares



of Mrs. Duke

and her infamous red pen.



And see what happens

when greatness is demanded of you?



Now he's at

The New Republic.



And now I'm at

The New Republic.



In May, the editors

of The New Republic magazine...



... with The Washington Post,

The New Republic, and The Boston Globe.



But the bill was blasted

in The New Republic this week.



You're very helpful.

I just wanted to get a confirmation...



So, I said,

"Network news, network news. Hmm.



Oh, right, that's that show

that's on every night



between those "Fixodent"

commercials, right?" That shut him up.



Hey, Steve.

Hey, Steve.



Hey, guys.



- Gloria, that necklace is you.

- Thanks, doll.



I got some new merchandise.

For your girlfriend.



- As soon as I get this piece done.

- How is it coming?



- Horrible.

- Uh-huh.



It's the fundamental nature

of the magazine, Lew.



- Mallory, can I get some copies?

- Sure.



People want photographs,

they can buy Newsweek.



They do buy Newsweek.

And Time,



and US News & World Report.

And our losses are a joke.



Let me guess. He's on you again

about a redesign.



- Yeah, cover page and graphics.

- And photographs.



Let me remind you Steve,



this magazine hasn't changed

its look since the '  s.



How is it?



It's good.



- You hate it.

- No, it's good, It's a little rough.



No, it's the worst thing

I ever wrote. It's horrible.



If you guys don't help me with it,

I'm not even going to send it in.



- When is it due?

- Tomorrow.






I may have to kill myself.



I mean, The New York Times




Will you guys

help me with it, please?



- Of course.

- Of course.



Thank you.



Call for you on three, sweetie...

someone from Policy Review.



When did you start talking

to Policy Review?



I'm not. It's probably nothing.

Send it to my voicemail, okay?



- Oh, and sweetie...?

- Mm-hmm?



Caitlin just told me that she needs

gifts for... two showers next week?



You think you might have

something for her?



I'll get my box.



I couldn't resist.

- So, do you want to do this now, or...



Yeah, in a second.

I have to return a quick phone call.



I got you some gum.






If I were to throw a party,

where all we did was play "Monopoly,"



- would you guys come?

- Could I be the little shoe?



Of course.



The lawyers have asked us

to tone down the cover on Serbia.



They have?

- It might invite charges of libel.



I know a little bit of libel law,



it's only relevant if the person in

question has been out of the public eye.



Well, yes.

So there is Serbia, hidden,



unknown to the world

at large, until...



it appeared on the cover

of The New Republic.



Our weekly circulation

of      .



-   . .

- You almost done with it, Rob?



- Two days. Tops.

- Yes, two days from Chanukah.



Hey, it's basically finished...

for the most part.



Next up. Amy?



Just finished the piece

on ethanol subsidies.



There are       magazines

in this country.



But only one calls itself "the in-flight

magazine of Air Force One."



And that's the thrill

of working at The New Republic.



You're underpaid,

the hours are brutal,



but what you write gets read

by people who matter.



Presidents, lawmakers... your work

can actually influence public policy.




that's an amazing privilege,



and a huge responsibility.



I'm sorry.

They don't want to hear



the whole "journalistic

responsibility" speech... do you?



You just want to know how to get

your name in print, right?



That sounds familiar.




Let me take you through the life

of your typical piece



so you can see

what some of the hurdles are.



We'll use one I wrote last year,



about a bunch of Young Republicans

at a Conservatives' convention.



Now, journalism is about

pursuing the truth.



And I would never encourage you

to do anything sneaky or dishonest



in pursuit of a story,

such as assuming a phony identity.



I don't know, man. It seemed like

a pretty good turnout to me.



No, man.

Conservatism is dead.



- Dead?

- We're lost.



Damn straight.



On a story like that,

your notes are crucial.



You have to record

everything you see and hear.



Every quote, every detail...



all the way down

to the mini-bottles in the fridge.



We're like this guy

who has to pee,



lost in the desert,

looking for a tree.



That's true.

Completely true.



You guys know what

you're shopping for, right?



Yeah, totally.



Get us a real "heifer."

The fatter the better.



Bad acne would be a bonus.



Let's do it!



- Hey, Steve.

- Hey, Chuck.



What are you working on?



A piece Gabriel García Marquez

wrote about the Falklands War.



How about you?



Young Republicans

at a CPAC Conference.



Pretty standard stuff.



Hotel ballrooms, boring speeches.

Chicken dinners.



Which is why everybody spends

their time in the suites upstairs



committing felonies.



Oh, yeah?



Yeah. I went to one.

The ballroom was empty.



Every delegate under the age of   

was on the fifth floor getting loaded.



Drugs, binge drinking,




it gets pretty ugly.



- Sounds great, Steve.

- So does yours.



Okay, well, I gotta get back to work.

Have a good lunch.






Hold it. Have to give myself

a demerit for poor scene setting.



Let me explain. A year ago,

Chuck Lane and I were peers.



He hadn't become editor yet.



Michael Kelly was editing

the magazine then.



Sorry, Mrs. Duke.

I know how you feel about clarity.



We've got to start calling

some other places.



I don't think I can

eat this stuff every day.



It was the Cannon Building.

You had it as "Russell."



I fixed it.



- Thank you.

- I really liked it, Ames.



But boring, right?



No. No. I really,

really liked it.



- Ahem...

- Yes, dear?



Somebody for you on three...

someone from Harper's.



When did you start

talking to Harper's?



I'm not. It's probably nothing.

Could you send it to my voicemail?



- Very good.

- By the way, Glo',



that lipstick is the bomb.



- Thanks, doll.

- Was it "Midnight Mist"?



- I've really got to stop doing that.

- What?



All I do is give people

more reasons to assume I'm gay.



I mean, lately,

it's everyone.



The other night, I went out to dinner

with this guy from The Post...



- Who?

- I can't tell you, he made me promise.



Anyway, we're walking afterwards,

talking about Medicare for God's sakes,



the next thing I know is we're standing

on the corner of   th and "T"...



and he somehow managed

to slip his tongue down my throat.



And I'm like, "Wait a minute,

how'd this happen?"



I don't understand.

- Neither did I.



- Hey!

- Michael.



- Do you have a minute?

- Of course.



We have a problem

with the "Spring Breakdown" piece.



Just got a letter from David Keene.

He ran the CPAC Conference.



- He's made...

- Are you mad at me?



He's made some pretty serious

charges. We need to answer them.




My notes are at home.



I can be back in    minutes.

Is that too long?



Do your notes have anything

about the minibars? That would help.



I think so.

No, I'm sure. Why?



He claims the Omni Shoreham

doesn't even have minibars.



- He mentioned it specifically.

- No, I saw them.



There were little bottles

of booze all over the room.



Okay. I'll get Aaron

and Rob into it,



and start

the fact-check again.



I'll get my notes.

- Thank you.



I'm sorry, we're gonna

have to finish this later.



No, no. I understand.

Thank you.



What's wrong?



Just tell me.



Keene was right,




I messed up.



I made a huge error.



I don't know what to say.

If you want me to resign, I will.



I want you to tell me

what happened.



They don't have minibars

at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.



I guess I just saw all those little

bottles and I made an assumption,



which I know we're

never supposed to do.



I'm really sorry.



Those guys were drinking

out of a rented refrigerator.



A mini-fridge.



- That's it?

- Yeah.



- The rest of the piece is solid?

- Well, yeah, of course.



Go home, Steve.

Your resignation will not be required.



- Really? You're not mad?

- Of course not.



Do you want my notes?



Have a good night.



Thanks, Michael.



Thanks for backing me.



It's what editors do.



Good night.



Hi, front desk, please?



Hi, I need some information.



Do the suites of your hotel

have minibars?



Well, can a guest

rent something like that...



like a mini-refrigerator

or something?



They can? Okay,

thank you very much.



And she says, "I didn't invite

Vernon Jordan that evening,



because my guests of honor

were girls from Smith College.



Some of them were virgins,

and I wanted to keep it that way."



And you are going to put that

in the article, right?



Gosh, Alec,

I don't know.



I mean, George

is such a dignified publication.



You wouldn't want to put in something

that gossipy, would you?



No, absolutely not.



Of course I'm putting it in.



Thank you Steve. You are going

to make me look very, very smart.



Er, the Fritos are running

dangerously low.



I'll be right back.



Can't hide in here

all-night, Ames.



Can I ask you something?



What is this?



I found it in the freezer.



You said you hated

how the Diet Coke at parties



was always at room temperature.

And if you wanted to drink it cold,



you'd have to put it on ice and it would

get too watery. Don't you remember?



Yeah, I do, but...



I said that

a couple of years ago.






I'm going to call it a night,

but thanks for having me.



Thanks for coming.



Alphabetized beer,

that's perfect.



Drive safe, Alec.

- Who's he?



Associate Editor

of George.



When did you start

talking to George?



I'm really not.



It's probably nothing.



You know,

if they stoop any lower,



you won't be able to tell the difference

between Time and People.



You say that as if there is a difference

between Time and People.



Exactly. Hey!

Thank you, Steve.






Are you mad at me?



I told you, I do not respond

to "Are you mad at me?"



I'm not your kindergarten




I thought we'd been over this

a thousand times already.



You can't go to law school.



You "don't want to go

to law school," remember?



I know. It's only nights.

I wouldn't have to stop working.



I'm going to put these down.

I'll be right back.



No, I want to talk about this.



I told you, it's my parents.




They never shut up about it.



If I don't go, they won't let me

be a journalist anymore.



"Let you"?

You're    years old, Stephen!



You don't know how things go

where I grew up, Caitlin.



There are rules there.



If your son's not a doctor or a lawyer,

you keep your curtains closed.



You're writing

for The New-fucking-Republic.



Isn't that good enough?



Not in Highland Park.



- I'm sorry, l...

- Stop apologizing for everything!



I was looking through your mail.

You should be pissed at me.



I'm not.



You're going

to throw this out, right?



I can't. I'm sorry.



Every station on the radio

was talking about it...



Mike Tyson

biting Evander Holyfield.



And these are supposed to be

news stations,



so on Tuesday I started

calling a few of them,



and I finally

got through to one.



A Bible-talk station

in Kentucky.



And I managed

to convince the screener



that I was a behavioral




who "specializes

in human-on-human biting."



I told the guy that I'd done

all this extensive research



on people who chomp flesh

under extreme stress...



And what did they say?



They put me on the air,

I took calls for    minutes.



Oh, my God!



Where does he find

these people?



It's kind of stupid,

I know. It's silly.



I'll probably just kill it.



Does that mean

you'll help me with it?



Why? Do you have finals

this week?



Okay, moving right along.



Chuck, what do you have

for us?



That's a bit of a hard act

to follow.



Very hard act to follow.






I'm starting the piece on Haiti,



and I'll be going to...




Don't let me interrupt.



- Hey, Marty.

- Michael.



I'm going to be going

to Port-au-Prince for a few days.






Marty Peretz, our boss,

he's a little scary.



How about the commas and dates?

Are we supposed to circle those too?



Let's just get this done, okay?



What the hell is this?



Marty told us to circle

all the commas in the last issue,



so he could show us

how we used them improperly.






He said, "Commas

should always appear in pairs."



Apparently the issue was rife

with comma errors.



- "Rife"?

- That's what he said.



I see.



No, I'm not angry, Marty.

I'm embarrassed for you.



These people work

grueling hours for meager pay.



They deserve a thank you,



not another one

of your world-famous tantrums.



Yeah, okay. I'd resign before

I'd let you bully them like that again.



And I will.

Do you understand that?



Okay. Thank you.



"The Great Comma Debate"

is history,



so we can all

go back to work.



There are good editors,

there are bad editors.



You'll have both.



My hope for you though

is that once,



at least once

you get a truly great one.



A great editor

defends his writers...



against anyone.

He stands up, and fights for you.



Michael Kelly

was that kind of editor.



He had that kind of courage.



And that's what hung him.






Hey, Chuck, it's Marty Peretz.

You got a minute?



Of course,

how are you, Marty?



I'm in a bit

of an uncomfortable situation.



I thought you might

be able to help me out.



- Sure.

- It's about Mike.



- Oh.

- He and I...



well, it hasn't been working out

for some time now, as you know.



The tone of the magazine

I think it's... gotten too nasty!



It's strayed from the traditions

that make it great.



And... I'm going to be

making a change.



I see.



I'd like you to step in for him, Chuck.

I'd like you to become Editor.






There's a catch, of course.

Mike doesn't know any of this yet,



and it's gonna be

two or three days before I tell him.



It'll have to remain between us

until then. Would that be a problem?



- Marty, Mike's a friend.

- I appreciate that, Chuck.



But I can't remove him until I know

who is going to be his replacement



for continuity's sake.

So this is how it has to be.



I'm gonna have to think about this.



I'm gonna have to discuss it

with Caterina.



Of course, of course!




Marty, have you thought about the impact

this might have on the staff?



They feel very...



he's earned

a lot of loyalty there.



Yes, mostly by fighting with me.



The point is, I haven't earned

that kind of loyalty. If it looks like...



I'll be there tomorrow.

We'll go over all this in detail.



- Will you call me at the hotel?

- Yeah.



I really appreciate this, Chuck...

your discretion.



- Good night.

- 'Night, Marty.



So, I just got off the phone

with Marty,



and I've been fired,

effective immediately.



I'm to be out

of the building by  :   p.m.



Chuck Lane has been

chosen to replace me.



Chuck is not an editor.



He's barely even a writer.



There's no way I'm gonna

be able to work for him.



We should've seen this coming...



the way he laughs whenever

Marty tells a joke in the meetings.



They're never funny, but there's Chuck

completely howling. He's so political.



And stiff,

and humorless.



And pissy. I mean,

how pissy does he get



whenever you try to fact-check

one of his pieces?



It's like I'm sorry, but we have

an obligation to get our facts straight.



Okay, let's not overdo it.



This is still a great magazine,

it's still an important magazine.



And... Monday morning

he's going to be running it.



- I'm going to barf.



All right.

Let me get out of here, okay?



Well, I just want

to thank you all again. Truly.



I've loved every second of this.



Good luck, Mike.



You too, Chuck.









- Hi.

- Hi.






sorry about

what happened when he left.



I just didn't know what to do.






If you need a hand with the boxes,

I'll be in my office.



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    pieces while

Chuck was editing the magazine.



And the last of them,



was the biggest story

I ever wrote.



Is anyone interested

in hackers?



Because I met this kid

named Ian Restil.



Biggest computer geek

of all time.



He hacked his way into the database

of a company called Jukt Micronics,



and posted naked pictures

of women



and the salary of every Jukt employee

on Jukt's website with a note



saying, "The Big Bad Bionic Boy

has been here, baby!"






The guys at Jukt decided

that it would be cheaper to hire him



as security consultant

than it would be to try to stop him,



so they met with him

last week at the hotel



where the National Hackers'

Conference was taking place.



It was the chairman

from Jukt,



Restil, Restil's mother

and Restil's agent.






Yes, hackers

have agents too.



All right, I was at the table

with these guys.



Restil's just laying out

all of his demands.



- I want a Miata...

- "I want a trip to Disney World."



I want "X-Men"

comic book No.  .



"...a lifetime subscription to Playboy."

- And throw in Penthouse.



And they're complying

with every single word.



Excuse me sir,

pardon me for interrupting.



We can arrange more money

and you can buy the comic yourself.



And when you're

of a more appropriate age,



you can buy the car



and pornographic magazines

on your own.






After that,

after they have the meeting,



he goes back into the conference,

where all these hackers have gathered,



and they're treating him

like he's a rock star.



Then, Restil jumps up on a table,

and he's like...



I want a Miata!



And he's gyrating his hips like this.

"I want a Miata!



I want my Playboys!

I want a trip to Disney World!"



Show me the money!



"Show me the money!"



Turns out there are now    states



considering versions of a law



called the "Uniform

Computer Security Act,"



which would criminalize

immunity deals



between hackers

and the companies they've torched.



Meanwhile, Restil's agent claims

a client list of over    



one of whom was once paid

a million dollars...



and a monster truck.



That's unbelievable.



It's really silly, I know.



I'm not even sure

if I'm going to finish it.






You rang?



Yes, I rang.



Why didn't you get this?



Yeah. Oh, that...



I don't know.









Is it pronounced

"jooked" or "jucked"?



It's pronounced,

"give me back my article."



Adam...! Can you give

a man a minute?



Oh, yeah.

I'm sorry.



Er, it's just that...



this New Republic piece

is a fucking sieve.



I started with a check

on "Jukt Micronics,"



which is supposed to be this major

software company in California.



I went through every search engine

on the Web... no matches found.



So I called    

every area code in the state.



There's no listing anywhere

for a company called "Jukt Micronics."



Tried the California

Tax Franchise Board,



there's no record of taxes

ever having been paid



by a company

called Jukt Micronics.



Tried the State

Comptroller's Office,



no license has ever been applied for

by a company using that name.



Then I called

all the hackers I know,



asking if any had heard

of a "National Assembly of Hackers,"



or a hacker by the name

of "Big Bad Bionic Boy."




I even tried Ian Restil himself.



There's no listing for the kid in D.C.,

Virginia, Maryland.



There's no record of him ever having

attended a public school before.



- More?

- Please.



This guy Joe Hiert was described

in the Glass piece



as being this a former

basketball agent,



yet no one by that name has ever

been registered with the NBA



and none of my hackers

knew of him.



I even checked the names

of every government...



I was just getting some coffee.



I checked the names of every

government employee quoted in the piece,



against a book listing the names

of every government employee



in the entire United States.

None of the Glass sources were listed.



But there is one thing

in this story that checks out.



What's that?



There does appear to be a state

in the Union named Nevada.






- For Christ's sakes.

- God, I'm sorry, Stephen.



I wanted to see if you read it yet.

It was sitting right here, you know?



Don't hate me, okay?



Stephen, you shredded it.



I'm trying to spare you

a spanking, David.



You've got blind quotes

all over the place.



Your facts are shaky.

I mean...



The line about the turnover

at DOT



was low by   / %,

I checked.



Of course you did.



Rob and Aaron would kill you

over that kind of stuff.



This is The New Republic,




Nothing slides here. If you don't have

it cold, you don't turn it in, ever.






Look, bring me your notes later,

and we'll go through it together.



There's a lot about it

that I liked.



- Really?

- Really.



And get back to work, okay?

The mailroom floor needs scrubbing.




Thanks, Stephen.



"You have one

unheard message. First message. "



Hi, Stephen, this is Adam Penenberg,

from Forbes Digital Tool.



I just got done reading

your hacker article.



First of all,




I mean, everybody here

just loved it.



But we wanted to do

a companion piece to it,



sort of a "Day Two" story...



and I'm having some trouble

tracking down Ian Restil.



Do you think I could get

a phone number on him from you?



Look, I think it's good

that you tried this.



It's good to stretch.

I just...



I don't think you're writing

to your strengths here.



- I mean...

- Can I?



I'm wondering why you'd want to stray

from the things you do so well?



Have you noticed the way



Steve's phone

has been ringing lately?



Did you see all those editors

at the Correspondents' Dinner?



- The way they were circling him?

- Is that what you want, Amy?



To get a bunch of smoke blown

up your ass by a pack of editors?




Yes, it is.



Caitlin, he's going

to double his salary



freelancing like that.



These guys don't want

policy pieces anymore.



They want color,

they want nuance, humor.



But Amy,

you don't write funny.



It's a little funny...



isn't it?



- I was just looking for Steve.

- He's in his office.



- You got a minute, Steve?

- Yeah.



Do you have phone numbers

for sources on the "Hack Heaven" piece?



- Mm-hm, but they're at home.

- Can I get them?



Of course. Did I do something wrong?

Are you mad at me?



No, I just need

the phone numbers.






Okay. Okay, I'm trying

to keep cool about all this, but...



you know the "Uniform Computer

Security Act," in the Glass piece?



Supposed to be under debate

in    state legislatures?



I just checked off   ...

no such act.






And Julie Farthwork,

from the "Computer Security Center"?



Not too sure she exists either.



Same with Jim Ghort of the "Center

for Interstate Online Investigations."



And I've got nothing



on the "National Assembly

of Hackers," or "Frank Juliet."






Do you know why this is so great?

I mean, do you see the irony here?



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.



- Adam?

- Yeah?



As long as I'm grinding away

on this thing,



any chance you'd share

your byline with me?



Forget it.



We're in uncharted

territory here, Adam...



an online magazine

going after a giant.



You should have somebody

beside you to take some of the flak



in case this thing blows up.



- Gosh, that's touching.

- You're completely swamped.



You're behind on the Kim Polese piece.

I know it's due Friday.



I'll get to it.



Everything that I'm working

on is so-- dull,



and this is




Andy... no.



It's not like you found the story

yourself. Kambiz handed it to you.



If I hadn't been at the dentist,

it might be me about to get famous.



So why don't you just...

share the wealth, okay? Shit!



That came out a lot uglier

than I meant it. Sorry.







Well, Ian Restil

e-mailed me right back.



It might be tough to put you

in touch with him directly, though,



or at least until next week.

This is his e-mail:



"Your story screwed up my deal,

I don't to talk to y..."



I think he meant...

- "I don't want to talk to you."



Yeah. "I'm on vacation with my parents,

so leave me alone."



What kind of parent goes on vacation

with their kid in early May?



That's a good question.



I guess you have to know his mom.

She's a little quirky.



That's his e-mail address,

if you want to write him yourself.



These are all my notes.



That's the number for the National

Assembly of Hackers.



Don't be thrown if all you hear

is a dark, deep, heavy breathing.



It's... I don't know,

their outgoing voicemail message.



Don't ask me why.



And then that's the number

for Jukt Micronics.



The chairman's name

is George Sims.



I can't figure why this Penenberg guy

would have such hard time finding it,



but you know, whatever.



That's the URL

to their website.



And then, I can't seem to find

Joe Hiert's number.



I was looking all over at home.

It's somewhere there. I know it is.



I'll get that to you tomorrow,

if that's okay.



- Sure.

- Yeah.



He's Restil's agent.



Should l...

I'll give you some privacy.



No. Have a seat.

"   " is that Palo Alto?



Er, no, Silicon Valley.



You'll probably get

a voicemail. I usually do.



"You've reached

the offices of Jukt Micronics.



Please leave a message. "



This is Charles Lane, I'm calling

from The New Republic magazine



in Washington D.C., I'd like to speak

to George Sims, if I could.



They already have

our number.



I guess you already have

our number. Thank you.



I'm sorry. We've just like spoken

a million times now.



That's actually his voice

on the answering machine.



Sims is so hands-on,



he won't even let his secretary

do an outgoing message.



Who's next?



Er, Penenberg.






- This is Adam.



- Hi, it's Chuck Lane.

- Hi, Chuck.



- I've got a phone number for you.

- Phone number for what?



For George Sims, at Jukt Micronics.

You got a pen?



Yeah, sure.



Okay, thanks.



It's a phone number

for Jukt Micronics.



"You've reached

the offices of Jukt Micronics.



Please leave a message."



Do me a favor.



Call this number,

the same time I do, okay?




- Yeah.



- Go.



"You've reached the offices

of Jukt Micronics.



- Please leave a message."

- What did you get?



- It's voicemail.

- I got a busy signal. Hang up.



Try again, okay?






- Busy signal.



- "You've reached the offices of Jukt..."

- I get a voicemail. Hang up.



A major software company

with one phone line?



How are you doing?






- He's up to    °.

- Oh, shit.



Come here, buddy.



- Should I give him a bath?

- That would be great.



- Yeah.



How are you doing?






Hello, this is George Sims.

May I speak with Charles Lane?



One moment, please.




it's George Sims.






I'll take him.



Come on, sweetheart.

Yes, yes...






Yeah, this is George Sims,

from Jukt Micronics.



Am I speaking

with Charles Lane?



Mr. Sims, thank you

for calling me back.



I don't have time for this actually.

We're trying to have an office party.






Look, if you were calling

for a comment on your story,



I don't have one,



other than to say, I wish

you'd never run the stupid thing.



That stuff was supposed

to be off the record,



and your reporter knows it,

that Glass guy.



- I'm calling to verify information.

- I'm not verifying anything.



Bottom line is, I'd like you guys

to basically get lost, okay?



- Hello?



- Hey.

- David.



- I'm sorry, Steve.

- Shit.



I didn't mean to startle you.

I thought you'd like a cup of coffee.



- What are you doing here?

- Working late.



Working on my article,

so I don't get shredded again.



- Thank you.

- You're welcome.



I always forget to ask you.

How are your studies coming?



Their fine.

I'm... just buried.



You're buried.




Okay. I should probably let you

get back to it.



- Is there anything you need?

- No. Good night, David.



Good night.

Thanks, Steve.



I got it.



- Hello?

- Chuck? It's Steve.



Hi, Steve.



Sorry to be calling

so late.



I was just wondering...



did you get a call from

the Jukt guy? George Sims?



- I did, yeah.

- Yeah. I was just sitting here,



and I realized that I'd given him

your home number



without asking you first.

And I wanted to apologize.



- It's fine.

- Sort of a prick, didn't you think?



I couldn't really tell

because he hung up so fast.



- Are you at home, Steve?

- No. Why?



I left a message

on your machine.



Those Forbes guys

want to talk to us again.



There's a conference call

at  :   a.m.




Sounds like a party.






- Okay, night, Chuck.

- See you in the morning.



That's weird.









- Want a laugh?

- Sure.



- The website for Jukt Micronics.

- Oh, good.



Yeah, you might not think so

when you see what's on it.



I don't think Mr. Sims

liked our piece that much.



Yeah. And I found this too,

from my fridge for some reason.



Ian Restil's agent,

Joe Hiert.



I'd like to pause for a moment.



You can't go into the world of

journalism without first understanding



how a piece gets edited

at a place like "TNR."



This is a system that Michael Kelly

brought with him from The New Yorker.



A three-day torture test.



If your article's good,

the process will only make it better.



If your article's shaky,

you're in for a long week.



A story comes in,

and it goes to a senior editor.



He, or she, edits it

on computer,



then calls in the writer,

who makes revisions.



Then the piece goes to a second editor,

and the writer revises it again.



Then it goes through a fact-check,

where every fact in the piece...



every date, every title,



every place or assertion

is checked and verified.



Then the piece goes to a copy editor,

where it is scrutinized once again.



Then it goes to lawyers,

who apply their own burdens of proof.



Marty looks at it too. He's very

concerned with any kind of comment



the magazine is making.



Then Production takes it, and lays

it out into column inches and type.



Then it goes back on paper,

then back to the writer,



back to the copy editor,

back to editor number one,



and editor number two, back to

the fact-checker, back to the writer,



and back to Production again.



Throughout, those lawyers

are reading and re-reading,



looking for red flags,

anything that feels uncorroborated.



Once they're satisfied, the pages

are reprinted and it all happens again.



Every editor, the fact-checkers...

they all go through it one last time.



Now, most of you will start out

as interns somewhere.



And interns do a lot of fact checking,

so pay close attention.



There's a hole

in the fact-checking system.



A big one.



The facts in most pieces can be checked

against some type of source material.



If an article's on,

say, ethanol subsidies,



you could check for discrepancies

against the Congressional Record,



trade publications,




and footage from C-SPAN.



But on other pieces,



the only source material




are the notes provided

by the reporter himself.






This doesn't look like

a real business card to me.



Yeah, I know.

That's the kind of clown this guy is.



He won't even pay

to have real cards made.



All right.



- My office at  :   okay?

- Yeah.



Good morning.



A few other people

we can't seem to locate...



Julie Farthwork, Frank Juliet



and Ian Restil's agent,

Joe Hiert.



We called the numbers you gave us,

got voicemails for all three.



And the e-mails were sent back

"No address" or "Account closed."



Really? 'Cause I've e-mailed them

about a million times each.



Hiert's online all day long.



Did you call these people

and get them directly?



No, I always left messages



and spoke to them

when they called me back.



And the references in the article

to Nevada law enforcement officials.



Was Jim Ghort

the only one you spoke to?



- Yes.

- Do you have a number for him?



- Yeah, definitely.

- By the way, what was your basis



for writing that Jukt

was a big-time software company?



I didn't. That was added

by the copy desk, or during editorial.



Was the hackers' conference

where you met the Jukt executives...



That part of the article

is misleading.



I was never

in the Restils' home at all.



You weren't in Restil's home,

with the Jukt executives?



No, I didn't mean

to imply that I had been.



Sorry about that.

Did the fax come through okay?



Yes, it did.



I think the address must've gotten

garbled. We can't find the site.



- You want to read it back to me?

- Sure.



You gave us




- Wait. Was that an "M"?

- I'm sorry?



After Jukt, was that an "M,"

as in "Micronics"?



No, it was an "N",

as in "Not working."



- Try "M."

- Okay.



Sorry about that,

I was rushing.



Of course.



But I do find myself

wondering, Stephen.



Why would a major software

company put their website



where only AOL members can

access it, as opposed to the entire Web?



I have no idea.



I don't have a website so I don't really

know that much about them.



I would trust you guys

to know better than me.



Okay. Looks like...



we have

the Jukt website up now.



I have to say, Stephen...



this looks very

suspicious to me.



How so?



Quite frankly,

it doesn't look like a real website.



It looks like a site that was...

created to fool someone.



I don't know much about computers.

Could somebody do that?



Of course.

Very easily.



So easily, in fact,

it's incredible.



Do you still want that number

for Jim Ghort? I found it in my notes.



Yeah, sure.



All right.       ...



- Wait.

- Sorry?




that's not Nevada.






I guess I got him mixed up

with another source.






Sorry about that one.

Oh, you know what it was?



Jim Ghort was the guy who told me

about the law enforcement officials.



I don't know what I was thinking.

I'm going to have to get you...






Give him the number.



This guy is toast.



All right, Stephen,

in light of all this,



how confident are you

in this story of yours?



Are we off the record?



If you like.



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...



I just... well...



in light of all this...



I just...



I'm increasingly beginning to believe

that I've been duped.



And so we hang up,



after he's basically let these guys

interrogate me for an hour.



And I go, "Chuck,

wh-what happened?



I mean, why

didn't you back me up?"



He goes, "I'm sorry, Steve,

I've got to protect the magazine.



- I mean, I'm the editor."

- Typical.



He's being such an asshole.

So I'm dead, pretty much.



Yes, this is Kambiz.



Can we have a talk here?

Just editor to editor?



Sure. Go ahead.



Completely off the record, and really

almost human being to human being?



Of course.



You guys have discovered something

that a troubled kid has done,



but I still don't know

how you plan to play it.



We're not in the business

of "gotcha" journalism here.



I have no interest in embarrassing

you or The New Republic.



I'm not worried about me

or the magazine. That's fair game,



But there's a kid here

who basically,



just plainly, screwed up.

Big time.



His reporting was sloppy,

we know that.



But we're trying to handle it

internally at this point,



just as you would.



Listen, we're going to run




along the lines of,

"A trick was pulled,



and some very clever hackers

managed to create an illusion."



I can't tell you

what to print or not to print.



You guys are journalists.



But... he could be very hurt

by what you guys publish. His career.



Chuck, I understand.

I do.



I would hope if I made

the mistakes he made,



people would be

generous with me.






this concerns the very field

we cover.



We have to run it.



And when we do, we're going to need

a comment from you.



So given everything

that's happened,



how strongly are you going

to stand behind the story?



I'm looking into it.



It's really not that big a deal.

You got fooled by a source.



It happens. They'll print

a retraction, and that'll be that.



Steve, it's not like

it's going to hurt your career.



Of course, if you weren't

so distracted by your classes,



- maybe this never would've happened.

- I know, I gotta quit. You're right.



Can I speak to you

for a minute, Steve?



What about?



Let's do it in private.



We need to take a drive

to Bethesda.



- What for?

- I want to meet Joe Hiert.



I already told you,

nobody knows where he is.



Maybe if we go to the hotel

where he met with Restil and Sims,



someone will remember him,

or have some clue...



There were hundreds

of people there, okay?



These Forbes guys

want to come down on you.



They are highly suspicious about some

of the material in that article.



- You know that.

- Yeah.



But they're going to go online

with their piece tomorrow.



- Oh.

- Okay?



- Yeah.

- Now...



- Steve? Steve.

- Yeah?



If we can find Hiert,



I can back them off

for a day or two, okay?



- Okay. I'll get my notes.

- Okay.



- Let's go.

- All right.



We were at this table.



Restil sat here,

his mother was on his left,



Hiert... sorry,

his mother was on his right.



Hiert sat there,



but Restil wanted him closer,

so he slid his chair over.



Sims sat here.

He had a lawyer next to him.



I forget the guy's name,

it's in my notes.



Somebody was smoking

at this table,



so Restil's mother insisted

that we move to one farther away.



Over there.



The Hacker Conference

was near here, right?



Yeah, the building next door.



I don't remember from the article.

How many people were at this thing?



It looked like a hundred,

might have been two. It's in my notes.



    people? Here?



Yeah, they moved in and out.

I mean, most of them were kids.



That doesn't seem

credible to me.



All I know is I was here.



All of us were right here.



- Excuse me sir, can I help you?

- Yes, you can.



We're looking into a conference

held here a couple of Sundays ago.



Computer hackers.

Do you remember anything like that?



Are you sure you're

in the right building, sir?



- Yes, we're sure.

- Why is that?



Building's closed on Sunday.



All I know is, I was here.



The conference was right here.



That's why the Restils

only stayed a few minutes, okay?



Because it was such

a dumb place to squeeze into.



So they went to a restaurant for dinner,

with some of Ian's hacker friends.



Thank you.



- How many?

- Huh?



People at the dinner.

How many?



About    I think,

including me.



Ian even put on a jacket.



- Hiert was there too?

- Yeah.



- Is it near here?

- Yeah, it's across the street.




let's cross the street.



You know, I really don't like

the way you're treating me, Chuck.



It's like you won't even

talk to me.



- This is the place?

- Yes.



I didn't do anything wrong, okay?

I didn't do anything wrong.



You saw my notes,

everything was in there.



I got tricked. I got fooled, I'm sorry.

What are you being so mad for?



- It was    people?

- Yes.



- For dinner?

- Yes.



They're closed at  :  

on Sundays.



Yeah, I know. I know, they almost

didn't let us in. Okay?



But it was a couple

of minutes before  :  



and Ian looked like he was about

ready to cry, and so they said okay.



- But for dinner?

- Go in and ask them yourself, Chuck.



See if they would serve

a party that came in at  :  



and the answer would be yes,

because that's when we got here.



The Forbes guys

are gonna have all this too,



and dig through the records

at that office building.



They have surveillance cameras

and they're gonna check them.



I didn't do anything

wrong, Chuck!



I really wish

you'd stop saying that!






come on, anyone

can make a mistake.



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!




of the President's program has been...



- Leave it off.



I'm sorry I yelled at you

back there.









- Pull the goddamn car over.

- Yeah.



All right.



There's been

so much pressure.



Chuck, I didn't mean

to get anybody in trouble.



Okay. Okay.



You weren't

at the conference?






You know, I had a description of it

from so many sources,



I thought I had it solid.




And I wanted the piece

to have an eyewitness feel to it,



for color... so...

I said I'd been there myself.



And everything

we just told the Forbes guys...?



I'm so sorry, Chuck.



I just panicked.



If you want me to say

that I made it up...



I will.

If that'll help you, I'll say it.



I just want you

to tell me the truth, Steve.



Can you do that?



There might be facets

of this that you're not considering.



- Why are you defending him?

- Nobody's defending him, Chuck.



- Of course you're defending him.

- He's a kid.



He doctored his notes, Lew.

Just consider that for a second.



You know?

He sat down,



and he hand-wrote

a bunch of phony quotes



and handed them in

as source material for the fact-check.



- Doesn't that offend you?

- Of course it does.



He also lied to his editor.

That's supposed to offend you too.



He's a confused, distraught kid

obviously, Chuck.



So suspend him for a couple of months,

but let's not bury him.



Suspend him...



There are also political considerations

to take into account here...



the rest of the staff,

the way they feel about him.



- I already know all that.

- What I'm saying is,



if you fire him,

some of these people will leave.



I don't know if we'd still have

a magazine at the end of the day.



- Hey, Caitlin.

- Not now, David.



- How's he doing?

- Well, he's a wreck, of course.



- I want him in here, Caitlin.

- He's too scared to come in here.



He thinks you want to destroy him.

He knows what he did was horrible.



He knows how badly

he messed up.



The part he's most upset about

is lying to you, Chuck.



Because he knows you took it

as a sign of disrespect



instead of a panic move,

which is what it was.



Think about the workload he's been

carrying... all this and classes.



He hasn't slept more than two hours

in nine months.



So he got a little sloppy and he lied to

cover his tracks.



- He's sick about it.

- Caitlin...



the building he described,

it doesn't even exist.



He just made it up.







he needs some help.



- He needs help.

- Just get him in here.



You can't fire him.



I don't think he'll survive.



You don't understand,

we're all he has.



You can't fire him,




Thanks, Lew.



Would you guys excuse us

for a minute?



...watered-down stock,



and you know, within...




What are you doing here?



I'm so dead.



I mean, I'm over.



Nobody's ever going

to hire me again, are they?



I was so sloppy,

trusting my sources like that.



And then lying about it.



And to Chuck,

of all people...



I mean, the one guy

who's hated me all along.



I'm sure that none of this

is personal.






Chuck keeps a list

in his head...



everybody who's

a "Michael Kelly" person.



A couple of times,



I said some things

I shouldn't have said...



about you.



So now I'm on it.



That's why he's so set

on killing me now.



Well, I have to tell you, Steve,

he's within his rights.



The things you did

were fireable offenses.



I know, I'm not saying

that they weren't.



I did some terrible,

terrible things.



But believe me, Michael,

Chuck doesn't care about any of it.



It's my loyalty to you

that he's punishing me for.



I'm such an idiot.



Now who's going to hire me?



Steve, I have to ask you




Did you ever "cook" a piece

when I was your boss?



Did you ever lie to me?



The "Young Conservatives" piece,

the mini-bottles?



Was that true?



- Hello.

- Chuck, it's David Bach.



I'm really sorry to bother you at night,

but it seemed important.



It's fine.

Is there a problem?



Well, I don't know.



I just got off the phone

with Stephen.



He sounds horrible.



Did you suspend him,





what is the problem?



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 just thought I should

draw your attention to that.



Did he say

where he was going?



Yeah, he said he'd be staying

with his family for a while.



That could only be

one of two places.



His parents live

in Highland Park, right?



Yeah. Or his brother,

out in Palo Alto.



- I'm sorry?

- His brother, at Stanford.






You had your brother pose

as "George Sims."






The phony recording

from Jukt Micronics?



It's a Palo Alto number.



Your brother is a student at Stanford.

You had him pose as Sims.



- No, Sims is a real guy...

- Steve, Steve...



I've talked to him a million times.

My brother and I aren't speaking...



Stop it. You faked Sims,

you faked a website...



- You faked all those voicemails...

- You don't know, Chuck.



- Restil, Hiert, Ghort...

- You got this totally backward.



It's all crap. I can trace it if you

make me. I'll find it all billed to you.



I don't know what you're talking about.

Those are all real people.



- They are?

- Yeah.



Look at me.



And say that again.



Those are all real people.



Tsk... okay.



I want you out of here.






I want you out of here,



and you can't take anything

with you.



There are some files, okay?

I have to put them on a disk.



- No.

- No, there are mine. Personal stuff!



I don't care.



I know you don't.



- Can I at least shut down my computer?

- Don't touch it!



- I'm in the middle of a file, Chuck!

- Back away from the desk!



- God damn it!

- Leave it or I will call Security!



- Jesus Christ.

- Okay?



Can I take my Rolodex?






Can I take my law books?






But I'm gonna need to have

your security key.



I'm not a criminal, Chuck.






- I'm not a criminal.

- Oh, I heard you.



Come on.






I said I was sorry.



I know.



But you have to go.



"Bond traders as a rule,



do not have much time

to loaf around.



And the Wall Street

investment house, RVL,



takes its work ethic

to a particularly..."



" trader is now testing

a hand-held urinal



normally used

by cops on stakeouts..."



"A few days after Mike Tyson

was disqualified



for biting Evander Holyfield,



I offered half a dozen talk shows

my services as a biting expert.



I'm someone who knows..."



"The mini-bar is open,

and empty little bottles of booze



are scattered on the carpet. "



"It was the monthly gathering



of 'The Commission to Restore

the Presidency to Greatness. "'



"Patriotic prophets

will have a hard time



holding back

this merchandising bonanza..."



- Thanks, George, sorry for the trouble.

- No problem, Steve.









The... the thing

with George Sims?



That was...



the voice... the voice that you heard

on the telephone,



that was my brother.

I'm sorry.



There really is a George Sims.



L... I've spoken to him

a million times.



He just stopped talking to me.



You know,

because of the article.



He was so mad about it.

I didn't know what to do.



And the guys from Forbes were

putting so much pressure on me.



You know?

And you were so mad!



I just thought that if I could get

everybody off my back, okay?



For just a day.



Just a day would give me

enough time to... go and find him.



You can understand that,

can't you?



You're fired, Steve.






You're fired.

You've lost your job.



But you can't...






will you please

take me to the airport?






Please, okay?



You don't have to talk to me

if you don't want to.



It's fine.



But I can't be by myself

right now.



Okay? I'm...



I'm afraid

of what I'm going to do.



And you know,

l... I can't get there by myself.



I'm not going anywhere

with you.



Now, if you feel like

you're a danger to yourself,



you can sit down for a few minutes

until you feel calm enough to go.



But I am not going anywhere

with you.



But... I'm afraid that I'm...



I'm going to do something,




Did you hear what I said?






It's a hell of a story.



Chuck, please?



Stop pitching, Steve.

It's over.



"Spring Breakdown,"

"The Jungle."



"A Fine Mess,"

"After the Fall,"



"Peddling Poppy,"

"Cheap Suits,"



"Kicked Out,"

"No Free Launch,"



"Ratted Out,"

"State of Nature,"



"Clutch Situation,"

"All Wet," "Plotters,"



"Praised Be Greenspan,"

"Monica Sells..."



"Hack Heaven."



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..."

- I fired him, okay?!



Not suspended, fired.



Because this wasn't

an isolated incident, Caitlin.



He cooked a dozen

of them, maybe more.



We're going to have to go

through them, you and I. All of them.



No, the only one was "Hack Heaven."

He told me that himself!



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 done it once."



Would you take his word for it?



Of course not,

you'd dig and you'd bury him!



And you'd be offended

if anybody told you not to.



Everyone of those pieces

was fact-checked. They...



So was "Hack Heaven"!



You're a good reporter.



You've always been a smart, thorough

reporter. Why can't you be one now?



Because what you're telling me

is impossible, Chuck.



Go upstairs.



- Read them again.

- This is bullshit!



Make sure you go

all the way back,



because half of them ran

when Mike was still here.



That's what this is.

Of course.



What are you going to do, Chuck,

pick us off, one by one?



Everybody that was loyal to Mike,

so you have a staff that belongs to you?



Is that the kind of magazine

you want to run?



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?



- Is everyone in the conference room?




You know what could've prevented

all this, don't you?



No. What?






How could you

make up characters



if everyone you wrote about

had to be photographed?



You know, Stephen...



if you wanted to, you could

do these kids a giant favor.



- Yeah?

- Yeah.



You could write something boring

one of these days.



Give them a little less

to live up to.



I suppose I could.



We don't want a bunch

of teenagers getting ulcers, do we?



Good morning.






It's funny...



...because I thought I was going

to have to explain all this to you.



Well, what do you think

of this guy?



Thank you.



Thank you.



Thank you, everybody.




Thank you.









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.



We're not prepared

to confirm or deny anything...



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 will stay on.



Is that clear to everyone?







To Your Mental Health."



That means it stays

on the list of suspicious pieces.



Fabricated pieces.



We understand.

Can we move along?



"Holy Trinity."



"Probable Claus"?



"Don't You Dare."



"Spring Breakdown."



"State Of Nature."



"Rock The Morons."



"After The Fall..."



You have to know

who you're writing for,



and you have to know

what you're good at.



I record what people do.



I find out 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 Pulitzers too.




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