Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie."

One of my favorite scenes from season 5 of The Wire comes when a vet comes to the Baltimore Sun's newsroom to complain about truth-challenged reporter Scott Templeton's fictitious account of a skirmish in Iraq. Editor Gus Johnson mediates a sit down between Templeton and the vet. After the vet has told the true version of what happened, Templeton tries to humor him by saying the vet has his side of the story and he has his. The vet responds, "A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie."

That has long been my problem with MSM outlets. They have been so scared of being called biased by the right, that they often look for the "other side of the story." Guess what, there is often not another side.

It looks like ABC is finally acknowledging this about some of the "issues" people have with the healthcare debate. As Benen notes,

It wasn't a he-said/she-said report; it was just reality.

Good for them. Now if everyone else would get with the program.


Steve Davies said...

I like that scene too. The "fillip," if you will, comes when Gus returns to the conference room, where the veteran is sitting with his head in his hands.

"And we didn't have coffee. It was chocolate milk," he says.

But a minor correction. It's Augustus "Gus" Haynes, not Johnson

pluvlaw said...

I must have let my affinity for uber-excitable sports play-by-play man Gus Johnson cloud my memory.

The chocolate milk line is good. It's how Gus knows the story is bullshit. He know Templeton fictionalized the account to make it more ideal. Coffee and donuts sounds better. When a real reporter would have known a) chocolate milk is better...it makes it unique and b) it's much more likely charity delivers milk in cartons over hot coffee.