WNYC: No reason to believe that Jonah Lehrer’s work for ‘Radiolab’ is compromised

In addition to being a bestselling author and a New Yorker blogger, Jonah Lehrer was a frequent guest on WNYC’s “Radiolab,” appearing 17 times. He quit his job at The New Yorker after a journalist revealed that he had faked or misquoted several Bob Dylan quotations in his book “Imagine: How Creativity Works.”

In a statement released Tuesday, the station says it doesn’t have any reason to believe Lehrer’s work for the show was “compromised”:

Radiolab has not used Jonah as a standalone authority on any topic within an episode. … Since Jonah has not been in the role of reporter for Radiolab and we have employed standard practices of journalism in producing the episodes, we have no reason to believe his work with Radiolab is compromised.

After Lehrer’s “recycling” came to light in June, Radiolab co-host Jad Abrumad defended him:

The notion that Jonah is a “plagiarist” is beyond ridiculous. …

What I personally hope doesn’t get lost in all the hand waving is Jonah Lehrer’s body of work. He’s one of the most stunningly original voices I’ve ever encountered. I knew it the moment I first read Proust Was A Neuroscientist. That’s why we’ve had Jonah on the show 17 times, by my count. And that’s why we will have him on again, and again, because he explores and explains with the best of them.

Here’s the statement provided to Poynter by WNYC’s Jennifer Houlihan:

Jonah Lehrer has been a regular contributor to Radiolab as an “explainer,” making technical science more accessible and bringing much needed meaning to new scientific research.  He has been a lively and compelling voice and has helped make the history of science come alive for listeners. We are deeply saddened by the news this week about such a talented and valued colleague.

Radiolab has not used Jonah as a standalone authority on any topic within an episode.  Rather, he has brought new research to the attention of the program and the producers in turn have interviewed primary sources and researchers, weaving the voices together as part of a choir — a style of reporting that defines Radiolab. Since Jonah has not been in the role of reporter for Radiolab and we have employed standard practices of journalism in producing the episodes, we have no reason to believe his work with Radiolab is compromised.  But we will review the work as needed.

Related: Jayson Blair on Jonah Lehrer fabrications: ‘There’s probably more than what we’ve seen so far’

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  • Anonymous

    right on (as they used to say), steve myers. if it is possible to plagiarize yourself, which it is not, then AP plagiarizes itself with virtually every story it sends out.

  • http://twitter.com/myersnews Steve Myers

    I’m not sure I follow your point, @facebook-788335444:disqus . Jad Abrumad’s blog post was written after Lehrer was accused of self-plagiarism, or as I put it, reycling his own material. I wrote that in the introduction to that passage. Abrumad’s point was that people shouldn’t call Lehrer a plagiarist because he was reusing his own material.

    Steve Myers

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=788335444 Ninjar DeHotfrm

    wait a moment!   self-plagarism and plagarism are very different things than outright lying and fabrication.   The article you are quoting was about Lehrer being accused specifically of self-plagarism. Stick to the facts as they are not as you wish to make them up.    Remember: on the internet – you can’t take it back.