Shattered Glass, movies, and the free press myth

Matthew C. Ehrlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myth is central to a critical understanding of journalism, communication, and culture. This article uses the 2003 movie Shattered Glass as a case study of the free press myth in action: the popular belief that a privately owned, market-driven press is necessary for the functioning of American democracy and the survival of a free people. The movie, which has been called the most significant about journalism since All the President's Men, tells of how reporter Stephen Glass fictionalized stories for The New Republic magazine before he was found out and fired in 1998. Contrary to the fears of some journalists that writer-director Billy Ray's film would encourage public skepticism toward the press, Shattered Glass actually does what films about journalism more often do: It underscores the press's centrality in American life, in particular the notion that self-regulation of the press works.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-118
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Communication Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Film
  • Journalism
  • Movies
  • Myth
  • Stephen Glass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Shattered Glass, movies, and the free press myth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this