“fulsome” press room blues

The problem is that there are always multiple ways to render a true account. And is lying always wrong. No doubt, lying is a complex issue, but the truth is equally foggy and ambiguous. So as News Corp brought their road show to Parliament last week, we can ask ourselves if there is a truth about lying. But, since absolute truth or lying is impossible, should we even bother with the pretension?  Humans are supposedly natural born storytellers, hence lying is in our DNA. But, does lying and creative storytelling come from a common neurological root? The confabulation gene?…

Tom Courtenay as Billy Liar. ---But theory of mind is also connected to another human capacity: empathy. As Adam Smith and David Hume argued long before modern psychology strengthened their case, our ability to understand how other people feel is what makes morality possible. Emotional insight is what drives the golden rule: simply by imagining what it would be like to suffer a wrongdoing shows us why it is indeed wrong. So it is with being lied to. In that way, our ability to take up the viewpoint of another is both what makes lying possible and gives us a reason not to do it—usually, at least.( Julian Baggini)---Read More:http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2011/04/philosophy-of-lying-truth-ian-leslie/ image:http://www.criterion.com/films/662-billy-liar

…This a cast of characters that should have been in the original Its a Mad Mad World. We had all heard of Rupert Murdoch, but his supporting cast in this madcap comedy, the Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson,Wendi Deng and so on are are cross between Damon Runyan and Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers rolled into one Laugh In. You can bet your sweet bippy on that one. Tabatha Southey and her “Tart” column ( troubled asset relief tonic ) nailed it this week:

---2:22 p.m. ET: Asked about the closeness of police and politicians to News International, she answers a completely different question about the public’s concern about phone hacking. Asked about hiring former director of public prosecutions to advise News International in legal matters, claims he has been rigorous in recusing himself. Closing statement: I feel going forward the investigation should discover the truth behind the allegations. Wants to come back when she’s not under legal constraints to answer in a more fulsome way. Fulsome of course doesn’t mean fully; it means excessively flattering.---Read More:http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/19/brooks-was-aware-news-of-the-world-used-private-detectives/ image:http://www.theplace2.ru/photos/photo.php?id=376893

I was reminded of an Isaac Asimov story, “Runaround,” that I read as a child. In it, a robot named Speedy is sent to obtain a life-sustaining element from a special pool found on Mercury. Speedy vanishes and is discovered later, incoherent and deranged, circling the pool. And that’s where News Corporation’s media outlets come in. Speedy’s problem, it’s revealed, is that two of the Laws of Robotics programmed into him are contradicting one another. One of the laws, the need to protect himself, has locked horns with another law, the one that compels him to perform his mission. It’s almost as if he were a news outlet covering its owner during an extremely embarrassing time.Speedy is driven mad by the dilemma. He starts to sing Gilbert and Sullivan songs, ramble and spout non sequiturs,…Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/tabatha-southey/what-happens-when-murdoch-owned-media-cover-murdoch-guess/article2107123/a

---2:14 p.m. ET: No politician ever asked her not to run a story and if it was true, they would have done so anyway. Rebuts idea she cozied up to Cameron to facilitate News Corp’s acquisition of BSkyB. Also says she’s never gone riding with him, or owns a race horse or some land with him. 2:10 p.m. ET: Meetings with prime ministers: Brooks is asked how often she met Blair, Brown and Cameron. Concedes she’s met Cameron 26 times as published in the media, but emphasizes she’s never been to Downing Street while he was prime minister. Went regularly when Brown and Blair were PM, maybe six times a year. Notes “strangeness” she went more often for Labour PMs.---Read More:http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/19/brooks-was-aware-news-of-the-world-used-private-detectives/ image:http://dvd.ign.com/articles/709/709685p2.html

…Not that they know much about Britain’s notoriously inefficient-at-telling-you-stuff-they-shouldn’t-for-free policemen or its politicians, you understand. They were just musing. About Haiti. The level of misreporting required to present these editorial claims made at various Murdoch shops this week suggests a clever attempt to prove that former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was telling the truth at the parliamentary committee into the matter – Murdoch editors really don’t know what’s going on in their newsrooms.

Maybe this is why Ms. Brooks misused the word “fulsome” at the committee. Everything about her said, “I don’t know who worked for me. I didn’t follow the budget. I’m not even really an editor.”…

---1:57 p.m. ET: Whenever Brooks is asked a specific question, she broadens it as quickly as possible and offers no specifics. She’s also quick to invoke the criminal proceedings in her refusals to answer. 1:42 p.m. ET: Supreme irony: Glenn Mulcaire accessed her voicemail when she was accused of beating up her then-husband. Back to talking about Milly Dowler, MPs can’t believe that Brooks as a hands on editor simply didn’t know what her news desk was up to. 1:39 p.m. ET: Back to Sarah’s law again. Happy to talk about campaign and the public interest in tracking down convicted pedophiles. 1:35 p.m. ET: The $60,000 question: Would you take personal responsibility for what happened? Says yes — finally — a change from previous stance when she said the hacking happened when she was on holiday.---Read More:http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/19/brooks-was-aware-news-of-the-world-used-private-detectives/ image:http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1515059

…I almost want to work in a Rebekah Brooks-run newsroom. She made it seem like a happy, relaxed place, overseen by the French Lieutenant’s Woman. Ms. Brooks claimed she relied mostly on benevolent “trust” in regards to how her employees came by their information. (Judging from what former employees have said regarding the levels of stress in those offices, the spit-takes happening across London when she said this must have made it look like the Fountains of Versailles.) Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/tabatha-southey/what-happens-when-murdoch-owned-media-cover-murdoch-guess/article2107123/a

---If art is a kind of lying, then lying is a form of art, albeit of a lower order—as Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain have observed. Both liars and artists refuse to accept the tyranny of reality. Both carefully craft stories that are worthy of belief—a skill requiring intellectual sophistication, emotional sensitivity and physical self-control (liars are writers and performers of their own work). Such parallels are hardly coincidental, as I discovered while researching my book on lying. Indeed, lying and artistic storytelling spring from a common neurological root—one that is exposed in the cases of psychiatric patients who suffer from a particular kind of impairment.---Read More:http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/ideas/ian-leslie/are-ar

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ADDENDUM:
Ian Leslie:The wider significance of this condition is what it tells us about ourselves. Evidently there is a gushing river of verbal creativity in the normal human mind, from which both artistic invention and lying are drawn. We are born storytellers, spinning narrative out of our experience and imagination, straining against the leash that keeps us tethered to reality. This is a wonderful thing; it is what gives us our ability to conceive of alternative futures and different worlds. And it helps us to understand our own lives through the entertaining stories of others. But it can lead us into trouble, particularly when we try to persuade others that our inventions are real. Most of the time, as our stories bubble up to consciousness, we exercise our cerebral censors, controlling which stories we tell, and to whom. Yet people lie for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that confabulating can be dangerously fun. Read More:http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/ideas/ian-leslie/are-artists-liars?page=full

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