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Tucker: Lies, lies and more lies

Posted: February 26, 2015 9:14 a.m.
Updated: February 27, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Lying is in the news these days.

You know, of course, about Brian Williams, the NBC news anchor who -- how can I say this tactfully? -- shaded his coverage of being in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire in the Mideast, when in reality he was in a different chopper that didn’t get hit by anything other than a blast of Williams’ own hot air.

That cost him his job, at least for six months, as NBC suspended him for that period of time. There’s an old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” so chances are good his six-month banishment will become permanent.

Then Bill O’Reilly, who as a Fox News talk show host is both erudite and pompous, was accused of similarly inflating his role in covering the Falkland Islands conflict back in 1982.

O’Reilly reported he was in a war zone, when in reality he was a thousand miles away in Buenos Aires, the sophisticated and trendy capital of Argentina. Some would say the closest Buenos Aires ever came to being a war zone was two Argentinean gents coming to blows over which of them would get the best-looking tango partner.

Hardly the stuff of blitzkrieg reporting.

O’Reilly also said in 2012 he saw “nuns get shot in the back of the head” during El Salvador’s Civil War in 1980, when in reality he apparently saw only photos of the carnage.

It looks like O’Reilly will survive, though it’s hard not to consider his accounts as embellishments at the best and lies at the worst.

Then came news that back in January, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald told a whopper about serving in special forces when in reality he never had.

Seems to me that in an age of social media and instant communication, people in the public eye would figure out they’d better tell the truth or they’re going to get nailed. But they don’t seem to learn.

 “I have no excuse,” McDonald said. At least he ‘fessed up.

There’s nothing new about lying, of course, as it’s been recorded from…well, from the time of hieroglyphics. And it extends from the lowly to the powerful. Remember Richard Nixon and Watergate, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Both those presidents looked squarely into the camera, summoned their most believable poses and then, as my friend Waylon Fortenberry of Chesterfield County says, lied through their teeth.

Waylon, by the way, casts no aspersions on those who tell little fibs to save their marriages. I’ll let you decide whether that’s worthy or not.

And as one friend once told me, “Lying’s OK if you’re doing it for a good reason.”

Why, I remember when I was covering Pickett’s Charge during the Civil....oops, got a little off track there. Sorry.

Of course, there are lots of ways to embarrass yourself other than being caught stretching -- or ignoring -- the truth.

Two Tennessee high school girls’ basketball teams have been banned from the state’s post-season tournament for trying to throw a game against each other. Seems the loser would end up in an easier tournament bracket than the winner, so the two teams put on a spastic display of errors, all intended to send their opponents to the victory circle.

They intentionally missed shots, turned the ball over, had backcourt violations and committed all sorts of other misdeeds. They weren’t very good at masking their ineptitude, either. The coaches who head those teams have been suspended, and rightly so. They might not be liars, but they’re not exactly straight-up guys, either.

After all, even Clinton and Nixon were never accused of throwing games.


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