Latest Questionable Sabrina Rubin Erdely Story: "Wife, Mother, Madam"
December 12, 2014, 09:55 AM
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Apparently, Sabrina Rubin Erdely was a fabulist in college. Or at least something of one. Sean Davis of The Federalist reports that Stephen Glass disciplined her at the University of Pennsylvania for submitting an “obviously” concocted tale: “Yes, that Stephen Glass.”

This is what happened to Erdely, then still Rubin:

Sabrina Rubin, who says she and the rest of the editorial board “adored” him, puts it another way: “There are reporters who get ahead because they're great schmoozers, and I think Steve was definitely one of them.” When he became the paper's executive editor, the editorial board hailed him as a “man of principle,” and in her Philadelphia magazine piece, Rubin describes how Glass threw a righteous fit when she and a colleague concocted a funny and obviously made-up travel story for 34th Street — going so far as to call an emergency session of the DP's Alumni Association board to apprise them of the transgression. (Rubin also acknowledges that she felt “terrible” about writing a fairly dishy article about someone she had once liked and admired.[Sabrina Erdely Was Once Disciplined By Stephen Glass For Fabrication, By Sean Davis, December 12, 2014 ]
The Federalist has also raised questions about Erdely’s “Main Line madamMadam” piece in Philadelphia Magazine [November 1998]. That story followed the adventures of prostitute and madam who pulls down $300,000 a year (sometimes $6,000 a night) peddling flesh, but who has a well-to-do husband, lives in a ritzy neighborhood, sends her daughter to a private school, belongs to the PTA and attends Catholic Mass twice weekly.

As Mollie Hemingway wrote for The Federalist in an earlier piece on Erdely, here is the run-down of improbable details in that story:

  • Dad is killed by the mob when she’s 9.
  • Runs away from home at 14.
  • Gets her GED and gets into Rutgers somehow.
  • Becomes a prostitute to pay for college.
  • Graduates with a business degree (natch).
  • Marries a man from a well-to-do family.
  • Transforms herself into a super successful businesswoman/prostitute/manager of prostitutes.
  • Complains that illegality of prostitution is just the worst.
  • Is also a devout Catholic who goes to church twice a week.
  • Anonymously mails the police listings of potential child molesters.
This woman’s career as a serious journalist is ... or should be ... over. Then again, did she ever have one. Or has fiction been her craft?