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Washington Post ombudsman says Wise is “lucky he wasn’t fired”

Within 20 minutes after Mike Wise announced on his radio show (and we assume it wasn’t a hoax, but if it was it would have been a damn good one) that he had been suspended for a month by the Washington Post for intentionally and deliberately fabricating a report that he published via Twitter, we posted in this space an item containing our initially reaction to the development.

We said, among other things, “Frankly, Wise should be glad he wasn’t fired.”

Dan Levy of Press Coverage thought I was kidding. So he asked me if I was kidding (a question that is now arguably required, since apparently the media never can be sure it’s not being punked by one of its own), and I explained my position to Levy.

Among other stuff, I said of Wise, “He intentionally and deliberately fabricated a report. I can imagine no greater offense to his profession than that.”

For what it’s worth, the Washington Post ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, largely agrees with me: “Fabrication is a major journalistic transgression,” Alexander writes regarding Wise. “He’s lucky he wasn’t fired.”

Later, Alexander writes, “Wise wasn’t reporting. He was fabricating, which is the greatest sin in journalism.”

So we said Wise should be glad he wasn’t fired, and his newspaper’s ombudsman said Wise is lucky he wasn’t fired. And I said that I can imagine no greater offense to Wise’s profession than fabrication, and his newspaper’s ombudsman says that fabrication is the greatest sin in journalism.

The fact that the ombudsman and I are in lockstep on those issues possibly could be enough to get Wise to resign.