Three weeks into her internship at the Wall Street Journal, Liane Membis, a young black woman with an ivy-league education, was fired last week for making up sources she quoted in her stories. Fabricating sources is an offence serious enough to land any decorated journalist out of a job. Membis, who is also Miss Black America– Connecticut, now has to endure having the credibility of her past work investigated.
Yet as far as what her firing means to the community, Membis hasn’t fallen from grace. “At this stage she is still competing,” said Aleta Anderson, a representative for Miss Black America.
At least she did not plagiarize. Making up sources requires some imagination; plagiarism doesn't. And besides, why do we expect so much (intelligence, sobriety, probity) from beauty contestants? We should just let the poor things be beautiful and ask nothing more of them.