Liane Membis Reappears with Article About Ivy Leaguers

We recently noticed that Liane Membis — the Yalie who was fired in June for planting made-up quotes in the Wall Street Journal — published an article on Thursday at Dominion New York (“the online magazine of black New York,” according to Twitter) about two Barnard sophomores:

Twin sisters Ogor and Ngozi Ogehdo, both 20-years-old and now Barnard College students left the public school system behind after elementary school for lots of reasons. They considered returning to attend a specialized high school, but chose not to because they believed they’d be happier and in a more diverse environment at a private school.

Good for her, we think! Picking yourself up after failure is never easy. Just ask Jonah Lehrer. And while we’re still waiting for someone to explain Membis’s strange post-firing dissembling, we have to agree with her Twitter bio: “Failure is not fatal.”

Fired WSJ Intern Had Troubling Start at the Yale Daily News, Required Longest Correction in Years

Significant reporting errors at the Yale Daily News foreshadowed the fate of Liane Membis, the Wall Street Journal intern who was dismissed in late June for fabricating quotes. Those same errors cast doubt on the News’s investigation of Membis’s work at the paper, and contradict its claim that there is “no evidence” suggesting Membis invented or misreported information at the News.

In 2009, Membis—then a freshman—wrote an involved piece about Yale’s Marsh Botanic Garden, which later required an unusually lengthy correction that, until today, has gone unnoticed. (Due to several broken links—explained below—the note had languished in the paper’s content management system for “a couple years,” an editor told us.)

The note is brutal. Membis “inaccurately quoted” a Yale professor (attributing to him statements that do not resemble anything he said, the note makes clear), misdescribed several “well-maintained” greenhouses as “rickety,” and included numerous factual errors in the article.

At 187 words, the article’s correction is the longest the News has published in at least a decade, according to a review of News articles that were found to have contained “several” or “numerous” errors.

Timothy Nelson, the professor quoted by Membis, told IvyGate that “it seemed [Membis] was describing another place altogether.” Read the rest of this entry »

Liane Membis Apparently Now Claims She is Innocent, People Apparently Believe Her

Liane Membis, the former Wall Street Journal intern who seems to be our new best friend around these parts, is at it again! To recap her story thus far, Membis, who graduated Yale in May, was fired from her WSJ internship for fabricating sources in several articles, and it has been downhill from there. On a lone bright note for Membis, according to the New York Amsterdam News, she will still be representing Connecticut in the Miss Black America pageant. Additionally, the pageant’s executive producer tells the News that Membis now claims she is innocent. Oh.

Membis’ most glaring fabrication came in a WSJ article on the reopening of a pedestrian bridge in Manhattan. However, Aleta Anderson, the pageant’s EP, says, “In my conversation with her she denies the allegations … Her claim is that that’s her actual source on the bridge when she was writing the story.” Ok, that’s perfectly understandable for Membis to try and establish her innocence, although it does seem pretty farfetched that the WSJ would have messed up on such a grand scale. But, then this starts to get tricky, as Anderson goes on to say, “I don’t have any verification that her story is incorrect.


We’ll walk you through the piles of evidence to the contrary that seem to keep piling up, but first, we’d like to highlight a quote from the Wall Street Journal, generally considered a trustworthy organization:

“Many of the names contained in the article about the re-opening of the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge in Manhattan were fabricated by reporting intern Liane Membis, and the quotes couldn’t be independently verified.”

That seems pretty definitive to us, but let’s continue. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh, the Irony: Fired Wall Street Journal Intern Now Writing for CNN [UPDATED]

UPDATE: That post was from exactly almost exactly two years ago! (Credit: Peter Sterne.) Thus we lied, too. Oh, the irony.

If you’re curious how this happened: we were Googling “Liane Membis” and this came up:

So it was a strange combination of Google’s “17 hours ago” tag, plus the old post being dated from exactly almost exactly two years ago, which led us down this path of deception.

But: that’s a terrible excuse. Awful. We should have checked the year twice. Tail very much between our legs. You may mock us in the comments below.

Liane Membis, the Yale graduate who was recently fired for making stuff up at the Wall Street Journal, is now writing for the “breaking news” blog of CNN—the embattled television network which came under fire on June 28 for falsely reporting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the “individual mandate” component of the Affordable Care Act.

Membis has written for CNN before, but doesn’t seem to have published anything with the network since 2011.

We’ve emailed CNN for comment and will update if someone there writes back.


Also: that was really, really, really quick.

Would Mitt Romney Get into Harvard Business School Today?

Mitt Romney, sentient Republican stereotype, has spent his life trying to appeal to voters—an effort which has turned into a cycle of Mittens saying something villainous or condescending; liberals being outraged and amused at the same time; and then Mittens mumbling that he’s successful, and he doesn’t know why all of you are picking on him. Not coincidentally, he spent a few years at Harvard Business School—the designated laboratory of world destroyers—where he refined his collegiate confidence into something resembling misanthropy.

Wonder how HBS feels about this? You may want to read between the lines of this Wall Street Journal interview with the school’s managing director of admissions, Dee Leopold (pictured):

WSJ: Do you ever question your admission decisions?

Ms. Leopold: Sure. This process isn’t perfect. We’re like very experienced country doctors who see a lot of patients.

We’re screening out undesirable qualities that would be toxic in our community. We like to think that our arrogance detectors are pretty good. We’re looking for confidence, with humility.

Would Mittens, picture of humility that he is, have survived Leopold’s “arrogance detector”? Would his hair? CURIOUSLY, Leopold follows this remark with an anecdote involving what could be Romney’s protégé:

Read the rest of this entry »

Cornell Wrestling Holds the Secret to Success

Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal asked its readers to ponder just “What Makes Cornell So Good?” Superior dining hall food, a kickass frat scene, a wine-tasting academic class, a great location in New York (no, that’s the other C Ivy) all seem like appropriate responses. Oh, and Slope Day. Slope Day is Good.

As the WSJ article astutely points out, though, everyone knows that the best thing about Cornell is the weather (JUST KIDDING AGAIN ITHACA SUCKS) its wrestling team.

Well, no, the WSJ actually doesn’t say that. In fact, the article is not concerned with the Good things of Cornell at all. Its title deceptively employs the umbrella term “Cornell” to lure readers who would prefer to remain ignorant of Ivy League athletics into a story on the wrestling team, which apparently is really, really good. The Big Red has taken second place in the NCAA Division I wrestling championships for the past two years in a row, a success unrivaled by the programs of peer institutions. The real question, then, is not one that can be answered with an A in Sauvignon Blanc or a bid to Kappa. Rather, it is the following: An Ivy League school is actually good at a sport. (??).

According to the article, Cornell coaches attribute athletic success to alumni contributors (Goldman Sachs Chairman Stephen Friedman, for one) and innovative recruiting strategies:

The school sells recruits on the idea that while they might not get the free education offered by programs with athletic scholarships, their future earnings potential makes it a financial winner. With an active alumni network, wrestlers can expect a range of summer internship options in business, medicine and on Wall Street.

Therein lies their success, and other Ivy League schools that would like to play ball with the big boys should take a Big Red leaf out of Cornell’s book. It’s simple. The reasons behind the inferior athletics of schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are their inability to sell themselves to potential recruits as competitive academic institutions and their lack of rich alumni. Sure, Harvard had the Facebook guy and Benjamin Franklin, but nerds don’t like sports and the Ben Franklin thing was a cheap shot “honorary degree.” Yale had George Bush, who once attempted to donate to the Yale athletic program but, due to an uncharacteristic mispronunciation, instead conceded the reality of global warming and led the United States into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

And for Princeton, no one really comes to mind. The Tigers did make it to some national basketball tournament, though? It was pretty under the radar, and they lost in the first round. Well, at least someone’s winning. (Hint: He did not attend Princeton, but he does have #Tigerblood.)

WSJ Exclusive: Princeton Full of Skanks

WSJ Exclusive: Princeton Full of SkanksChristian Sahner, Princeton’s most adorable conservative heartthrob, has written a–yawn!–column in the Wall Street Journal bitching about a university-wide conspiracy to transubstantiate innocent freshmen girls into total skankadoos. How does liberal academia accomplish this, you may ask? By putting on a 20-minute sketch, entitled “Sex on a Saturday Night” about all sorts of people on campus who love to get laid. “Sex on a Saturday Night” is so depraved that it even depicts a Gay!

Sahner reminds us, as all conservative columnists invariably do, that extra-marital sex results in feelings of “exploitation, discomfort, regret and… chronic depression.” He also reminds us, several times, that he attended Princeton, and that he is, in all likelihood, still a virgin. 

After the jump: Princeton’s War on Christmas!

Just kidding. There’s no war on Christmas, not yet! But you can read the rest of Sahner’s–yawn!–column here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard Tastes Some of Its Own Financial ‘Veritas’

Harvard Tastes Some of Its Own Financial 'Veritas'While Rupert Murdoch’s fugly mug steals the front page of every major newspaper this morning, it’s Harvard’s endowment that’s featured front-and-center in today’s Money & Investing section of the Wall Street Journal — and according to the paper, the endowment fund graduates as many sought-after money managers as the university graduates future journalists.

But all isn’t good in Crimson Country this morning, as the Journal reports that the university lost $350 million last month through an investment in a hedge-fund firm founded by former Harvard foreign-stock holdings manager Jeffrey Larson.

Seems that Harvard education — in this case, experience — isn’t quite paying off. How’s that old saying go? You shouldn’t shit where you sleep?

Though $350 million is a “relatively small hit” for the nation-leading $29 billion Harvard endowment, the Journal says it’s a good case of maybe-not-quite-what-to-do for the rest of academe: “It highlights the risks as colleges nationwide embrace nontraditional investments such as hedge funds and private equity.”

As it turns out, Larson isn’t the only high-profile former Harvard-endowment manager with a mixed record since departing from Cambridge, leading the Journal to conclude that Harvard might be paying its managers a bit too much — in the millions, more than Nobel Laureates and deans — to manage Harvard’s big baby.

Now this kind of news ain’t exactly kegstands and Sharpie-shaming, but it means a lot more for the continued existence of the fabled Ivy heirarchy Newell mentioned in his last post. After all, when it comes to a pissing match, it’s all about distance — and there’s no ignoring the New York Times’ golden profile of Yale’s money man earlier this year.

Ball’s in your court, Elis. — ANDREW NUSCA

This Means War, Carol Hymowitz (UPDATE)

Everyone complains that blogs rip their material from newspapers and magazines. For the most part, it’s true: We are indeed the vultures hovering over the mainstream media’s festering carcass. But unoriginality is a two-way street, friends. Just ask Carol Hymowitz.

There we were, sitting down to our Honey Graham Oh’s, looking forward to a relaxing Monday morning with the Wall Street Journal Marketplace section, when we see this “In The Lead” column — and this chart in particular:
This Means War, Carol Hymowitz (UPDATE)
Look familiar? Let us refresh your memory:
This Means War, Carol Hymowitz (UPDATE)
Shameless ripoff? Innocent coincidence? Carol never replied to our email, so you be the judge. All we have to say is this: You’re free to borrow the idea, Hymowitz. But stay the hell away from our pie charts.

BETRAYAL UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: Hymowitz went to an Ivy grad school. The dagger twists.