Washington Post columnist Mike Wise has been suspended for a month for a Twitter fabrication on Monday. But the newspaper's ombudsman, who is tasked with serving as the paper's internal critic, says the Post would have been justified in doing more than just suspending him.
"Fabrication is a major journalistic transgression," Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote on Tuesday. "He's lucky he wasn't fired."
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Alexander added that "Wise wasn't reporting. He was fabricating, which is the greatest sin in journalism."
Obviously, Alexander is correct: This wasn't an innocent mistake, this was Wise fabricating a "scoop" because he thought it would be funny to see who he could trick into believing it. The annals of journalism are filled with the names of reporters fired for fabrications. Wise should spend the rest of his career thanking his bosses at the Post for not adding his name to that list.