Why Exaggerate?


Glenn Greenwald is furious that news outlets relayed inaccurate government reports:

Whether bin Laden actually resisted his capture may not matter to many people; the White House also claimed that they would have captured him if they had the chance, and this fact seems to negate that claim as well. But what does matter is how dutifully American media outlets publish as "news reports" what are absolutely nothing other than official White House statements masquerading as an investigative article. And the fact that this process continuously produces highly and deliberately misleading accounts of the most significant news items — falsehoods which endure no matter how decisively they are debunked in subsequent days — doesn't have the slightest impact on the American media's eagerness to continue to serve this role.

Amy Davidson addresses the same subject:

How much does it matter for us to get all the details right? Isn’t there a larger truth: that bin Laden was a bad man, and a murderer, and a plotter of more murderers, and we got him—imperfectly, maybe, but doing our best? It still matters, a great deal. Our victory over him, ultimately, will depend on whether people in the world feel that we are asking them to live with the indignity of being lied to—or are complicit in the lies we tell ourselves—or are, instead, dealing with them honestly. The soldiers who went after him risked their lives; we can live with the truth, whatever it is.

(Image by Alexis Madrigal, via Garance Franke-Ruta, whose own analysis of the administration's shifting account is worth reading.)