“If anyone ever starts a museum of horrible explanations, the one-liner by Newsweek’s Evan Thomas about his magazine’s dubious reporting on the Duke non-rape case – ‘The narrative was right but the facts were wrong’ – is destined to become a popular exhibit, right up there with ‘we had to destroy the village to save it.'”
That is how John Leo began a terrific column on the media’s popular “fake but accurate” line on stories that turn out to be fakes (Leo takes us on a rom through an array of such stories,including Tawana Brawley’s accusations, Rigoberta Menchu’s fanciful “autobiography,” and most recently the New Republic’s “Baghdad Diarist”).
Mothers of boys (and fathers of boys and boys themselves) might be interested in this example of FBA:
“The ‘fake but accurate’ argument pops up now and then in the wake of campus rape hoaxes. After a falsely accused male student was cleared, one feminist said, ‘I wouldn’t have spared him the experience,’ meaning that the case was a useful teaching instrument about male behavior. Whether the rape had actually occurred was of lesser interest.”