In a new Los Angeles Magazine story, writer Amy Wallace reaches out to embarrassed self-plagiarist and poet manque Jonah Lehrer to ask him what his future plans are. Lehrer doesn't reveal much outside of the fact that he is "writing something about the mistake and affair myself," but he adds that Wallace is only the third person to contact him for comment in the wake of his scandal. Almost instantly, Joe Coscarelli at Daily Intel was charging Lehrer with yet another mistruth:
At the very least, his count is off ... I e-mailed Lehrer first on his public Gmail address on the morning of June 19, before publishing a post on his repeated repurposing of his own work, and again on July 9 seeking further comment. He didn't respond either time.
Lehrer did apologize for the recycling to the New York Times on June 20. He was then quoted by Tablet on July 30, in a story about the fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in his book Imagine and, later, did an interview with Charles Seife, eventually published at Slate last month. Assuming no other reporters covering the story reached out to him, that makes Wallace the fifth person, not the third.
Even if Lehrer is telling the truth about only three people of the dozens who wrote about him being willing to contact him for comment, the Daily Intel's skeptical response should serve as a reminder of how hard it is to reclaim people's trust. Jonah's got a long road ahead of him.