Knight Foundation Regrets the Lehrer

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Science writer and contributer to Radio Lab, Jonah Lehrer attends the "You and Your Irrational Brain" panel discussion at Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City in conjunction with the World Science Festival on May 29, 2008 in New York City.NEW YORK, NY - May 29:  Science writer and contributer to Radio Lab, Jonah Lehrer attends the "You and Your Irrational Brain" panel discussion at Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City in conjunction with the World Science Festival on May 29, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for World Science Festival)
Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images2008 Getty Images

When the Knight Foundation, whose stated mission is to promote "quality journalism," paid admitted plagiarist and fabricator Jonah Lehrer $20,000 to speak at its seminar in Miami, the irony was lost on nobody — except maybe the Knight Foundation, whose president told Erik Wemple the booking found little dissent among its leaders. But after a steady flow of criticism since Lehrer's address, the Foundation has finally thought better of its decision. On Wednesday night, it ran a blog post saying the speaker fee was inappropriate and a "mistake." The problem wasn't the fact that Lehrer spoke, but that the foundation paid him. "Knight Foundation should not have put itself into a position tantamount to rewarding people who have violated the basic tenets of journalism." But it did, and now the Knight Foundation regrets the error.