The foundation should be ashamed of the hefty purse it handed to Lehrer. Practically everyone in the media has wanted to hear from him since he admitted his mistakes in a few brief comments last year, but this was not the way. In addition to not making up quotes, journalists should not pay for interviews, especially with disgraced colleagues. Doing so only suggests that for a lot of reporters, there’s more money in fabrication and plagiarism than in journalism.

Update: After initially telling The Washington Post that there was nothing controversial about the fee it paid to Lehrer, the Knight Foundation reversed course early Thursday morning, posting the following comment on Twitter:


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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.