Knight Foundation apologizes for paying Jonah Lehrer $20K


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.


Thos Robinson

The Knight Foundation has issued an apology for paying "disgraced journalist" Jonah Lehrer $20,000 to speak at its media conference this week about his recent plagiarism scandal, Politico reported.

“Controversial speakers should have platforms, but Knight Foundation should not have put itself into a position tantamount to rewarding people who have violated the basic tenets of journalism,” the foundation wrote on its website. “We regret our mistake.”

Last year, Lehrer, a popular science writer, resigned from The New Yorker after he was charged with plagiarism, making up quotes and other questionable journalistic practices.

More from GlobalPost: Jonah Lehrer resigns from New Yorker

Lehrer told the crowd at the Knight conference in Miami, “I am the author of a book on creativity that contains several fabricated Bob Dylan quotes... I committed plagiarism on my blog, taking without credit or citation an entire paragraph from the blog of Christian Jarrett. I plagiarized from myself. I lied to a journalist named Michael Moynihan to cover up the Dylan fabrications.”

But Lehrer angered many critics during his speech by avoiding full responsibility for his lies, calling them “errors” and “mistakes," according to the Times.