Again, the narrative is set before the reporting begins. The teacher is hot; there’s chemistry between them. That’s what happened — now I have to go find it. It’s not Stephen Glass-level invention, but it’s still a Glass act. Sabrina Rubin Erdely auditions reality until it sits up and barks for her like a trained seal. More than that, this is what so many journalists obviously do, settling on a narrative and then going shopping for sources who will give them the story they’ve decided to write. And so we end up always discussing the most extreme examples, the most colorful instances of a thing, as the essence of the thing itself.
Reporter decides to write about the epidemic of drug addiction among kindergarten teachers, talks to a thousand kindergarten teachers, doesn’t find any drug addicts; talks to kindergarten teacher number 1,001, who admits to drug addiction. Headline: AMERICAN CRISIS: THE EPIDEMIC OF KINDERGARTEN DRUG ADDICTION.
Meanwhile, real problems go unreported, because boooooring. Look again at how casual the discard pile is: “She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right.”