Thursday, 30 June 2011
...is a lie that may be necessary or excusable to advance a greater cause. Thus, Phil Jones of Climategate infamy felt obligated to use a "good lie" to "hide the decline". History abounds with thousands of other examples. A storm of controversy is brewing on Twitter and elsewhere about the professional conduct of Johann Hari, the Left-wing Independent columnist and winner of the Orwell Prize for journalism. (A paradox, as Orwell saw the truth when most of his literary colleagues colluded with lies. See masthead above.) Hari has been using printed excerpts as verbatim oral quotes - a "cut and paste" journalism that has aroused his critics ...Now Hari says it doesn’t matter it he invents a conversation because it helps to express a “vital message” in the “clearest possible words”. The idea of a “good lie” is a dramatically Orwellian device, designed to deceive and to patronise. A lie is a lie, whether your intention is to convince people that Saddam is evil and must be bombed or that Gideon Levy is a brainy and decent bloke. Lying to communicate a “vital message”, a liberal and profound “truth”, is no better than lying in order to justify a war or a law’n'order crackdown or whatever. That more journalists cannot see this, that many of them have instead allowed their personal friendship with Hari to cloud what they think of this affair, is depressing. Why would anyone take seriously the reporting or commentary of people who believe it is acceptable to massage and refashion the facts in the name of telling “The Truth”?...why indeed ? And we surely see this every day with unquestioning media acceptance of the green political movement and its bedrock foundation of green lies. Are greenpeace and green politicians really "pro-environment" ? Or shouldn't they more accurately be termed anti-capitalist ? How grotesque it appears then, that the Orwell prize for journalism ( "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” ) may have been so mis-directed.