Vargas approached The Washington Post, his former employer, to tell his story. But, the story was killed after weeks of editing.
Perhaps it was spiked because Post leadership was concerned about the legal repercussions of revealing that the paper had employed an undocumented worker. Perhaps they were embarrassed to publish a story in which someone describes how he duped them.
The Post’s Paul Farhi suggested in a story that it was killed as a result of credibility concerns. “Given the subject — a reporter’s dishonesty about his personal life — The Post subjected Vargas’s story to an unusual degree of scrutiny,” he wrote.
Uh, Washington Post…ICE would like to have a word with you. Right after they finish up in Manhattan. Every single paper or any other outlet that Vargas worked at will now be even more suspect when they report on illegal immigration, thanks to Vargas. I suppose he did everyone a kind of service in that.
Vargas is a journalist, a profession in which honesty is particularly important, and in which dishonesty is toxic. Some, including a commenter or two here at the Tatler, apparently don’t have a problem with a journalist who has systematically lied to everyone for decades while falsifying state and federal documents to back up the lies. To me, Vargas is yet another Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass — a fabulist. The only difference is, Blair and Glass made up stuff about other people, while Vargas made up stuff about himself while committing crimes to prop up the lies. And now, he is using his lies to advocate for the DREAM Act, crossing from journalism into advocacy. But based on what credibility? The only thing he has going for him is his experience skirting the law and lying about it. Myers gets at the heart of the matter here:
Vargas asks readers to trust him. Yet I don’t know whether he’s telling us the whole truth now or if he’s coloring it to portray himself as a poster child for immigration reform.
It’s hard to tell. Even now we must rely on his word.
And his word is worth…?
Myers also asks a very relevant question: While he was pretending to be a US citizen, did Jose Vargas vote in any elections?