Fear of Fact-Check

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Megan on the deceptions of Greg Mortenson:

This sort of thing just mystifies me. I have nightmares where a false story has gotten into one of my stories by accident; I wake up with a sick start, and the relief when I realize that it was just a dream is sweet indeed. I cannot imagine the thought process that would lead you to do this on purpose. Leave aside the morality of it for the nonce--aren't people afraid of getting caught? In this day and age, how can you hope to get away with passing off a photo of an Islamabad think-tanker as a terrorist who kidnapped you?

Basically. I think lying on the level that Mortenson was, or even at a Jason Blair/Stephen Glass level, requires a kind of moral calculus which I've never completely understood. I'm an honest reporter, but fact-check still scares the fuck out of me. And this is as it should be. It's good to be scared.

It also seems like Mortenson didn't actually need to lie. He just kinda did.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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