This just popped up on my own personal Twitter feed. So David Greene, one of the illegitimate hosts of NPR's morning edition (I still refuse to accept any host other than Bob Edwards), did an appearance in San Antonio for a fundraiser. One of the people working the phones approached management and said just how much it meant to have him in town, since he had taken great comfort from listening to Greene's reports on CDs that his wife would mail him while he served in Iraq. To sweeten the pot even more, he presented Greene with a special coin that service members in the area (this may be a more widespread practice; I'm not sure) give to people who've saved lives, because Greene saved his life.
It was great, touching, and, well, almost entirely untrue. He had been an army reservist, but he left active duty in 1999 and there was no indication that he had actually ever deployed anywhere.
Here's what I don't get—lying is one of the greatest things a person can do, but why would you lie to a media outlet, which presumably, you know, checks facts (although, as the retraction admits, the folks at Texas Public Radio didn't before running the story)? And why would you do it while working, as Martinez does, for the VA? Doesn't he realize that that's the kind of thing that will probably make things awkward around the office?
Alright, having criticized Martinez, just to clear the air, I'll admit to some slight exaggerations in that heartwarming story about my listening to recordings of Thomas Friedman columns while I serviced guys behind Dumpsters for heroin money. While it's true that I listen to his columns in those moments, I'm not doing it for the money; it's just a hobby for which I do not receive compensation.
I apologize to all who have used my story as inspiration, and especially to Mr. Friedman, who has used it as an analogy in no fewer than 59 columns in the past year.