Sunday, October 26, 2014

In his own words: Ben Bradlee on liars

By Ben Bradlee October 22, WashPost

Ben Bradlee, who passed away Tuesday at age 93, was executive editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991. This essay is excerpted from the Press-Enterprise Lecture he delivered at the University of California, Riverside, on Jan. 7, 1997.

Newspapers don’t tell the truth under many different, and occasionally innocent, scenarios. Mostly when they don’t know the truth. Or when they quote someone who does not know the truth.

And more and more, when they quote someone who is spinning the truth, shaping it to some preconceived version of a story that is supposed to be somehow better than the truth, omitting details that could be embarrassing.

And finally, when they quote someone who is flat-out lying. There is a lot of spinning and a lot of lying in our times — in politics, in government, in sports and everywhere. It’s gotten to a point where, if you are like me, you no longer believe the first version of anything. It wasn’t always that way.

(More here.)

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