December 22, 2006

ERIC SCHEIE ON JAMIL HUSSEIN: “I soon noticed that there’s a downside to debunking fraudulent people or claims. The people who make them up — and most of those who agree with them — simply don’t care. Because the characters and claims are invented to support what they already believe fervently, debunking them does not ‘count.’ Lies presented in furtherance of a greater ‘truth’ are not really considered to be lies, at least not in the moral sense. The idea is to persuade people, and if fictional people or incidents have to be used, that’s OK, as long as it’s in the interest of the greater truth. The problem I have with this approach is that I don’t like being lied to.”

It’s an exercise that doesn’t sound much like what journalists say they’re doing when they practice their trade.

UPDATE: Jamil Hussein is still missing.

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