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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Maureen Dowd's "Lies As Wishes"

When seeking a sensitive position demanding utmost secrecy, you are often subjected to a battery of tests intended to measure your honesty, including polygraphs and written exams. Written exams are apt to ask, for example, whether you lie, and you must select: (a) never, (b) rarely, or (c) often. The reality is that everyone lies, and if you choose answer (a), you are marked as a liar.

Of course, there are degrees to all vices, and lying is no exception. Lying on your income taxes or before a court of law can land you in serious trouble. On the other hand, imagine that your wife has spent hours preparing for you an inedible birthday dinner: In this instance, when she asks whether or not this is the best chow you've ever eaten, the truth can also provoke sorrows. (Yes, truth be told, another birthday is sadly fast approaching.)

In an op-ed in today's New York Times entitled "Lies As Wishes" (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/opinion/23dowd.html?hp), Maureen Dowd tackles the whoppers of Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general, who is running for the Senate, and who has repeatedly prevaricated concerning service in Vietnam. Dowd alludes, inter alia, to the lies told by Hillary Clinton, and states that these fabrications have not prevented her from becoming a "respectable secretary of state." Dowd concludes her op-ed by observing:

"With political kleptomania, DePaulo notes, 'your lies often reveal who you wish you were.'"

Query for Maureen: What does journalistic kleptomania, i.e. plagiarism, reveal? Dowd never provided a satisfactory explanation or apology for her theft of a sentence from a Talking Points Memo blogger, which found its way into Dowd's May 17, 2009 column in the Times. Needless to say, the cash-strapped Times never held their star columnist to meaningful account.

Dowd is clearly not the person to be passing judgment on Richard Blumenthal. Today more than ever, given the need for veracity and responsibility in government and journalism, blatant falsehoods should not be dismissed as mere peccadilloes.

P.S. Hillary has proven over the past year and a half to be more of a non-entity and rubber stamp than a "respectable secretary of state". Peculiar - or not so peculiar - how Dowd has chosen this opportunity to compliment Hillary. Also amusing how she ignores one of the most famous political fibs of our lifetimes: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," which certainly rivals "I'm not a crook."

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