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It's a Matter of Trust, And It Shouldn't Be

By admin Published: March 5, 2008

Among the lines stuck in my head of late is this one:

“If you can't trust the faith-based assistant to the president, who can you trust?”

That's from the editorial page editor of The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., as he discussed the recent revelation that White House aide Tim Goeglein had plagiarized material for at least 20 of the 38 guest columns he had written for the The Sun-Sentinel, his hometown paper. (You can read more about that here.)

While we can argue about whether you should trust any assistant to the current president, including a faith-based one, let's look at a larger issue here. These are big days for fakers.

Even as the Goeglein scandal was filling space on Romenesko, there were at least two other fresh scandals involving nonfiction that proved to be fake, one about a Holocaust survivor whose memoir proved to be largely fictional, the other about a young woman who passed herself off as a former gang member. (More about that one here.)

In the piece about the latter case, the book's editor told the New York Times that editors had to be more careful since the James Frey scandal, and that “I had numerous conversations with her (the author) about the need to be honest and the need to stick to the facts.” The piece also says that the author provided all sorts of supporting information for her tale.

But, at the end of the day, it comes down to trusting someone, to believing what you are told. And that's ever more difficult to do.

At this point, for some reason, I am thinking of Roger Clemens.

But even more I am remembering the line from "Animal House": "You bleeped up. You trusted us."

Whether we're talking about politicians, or sports figures, or authors of memoirs, the daily news suggests that trust will lead to us getting bleeped.

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