Man, things are weird in journalism these days, huh? First Jonah Lehrer makes up stuff for his book about creativity and resigns from the New Yorker and then Fareed Zakaria out and out plagiarizes, and is given a time out from Newsweek.
I'd like to hear a RadioLab episode aout this. I imagine Jonah Lehrer would be willing to talk about it there since he's been such a regular on the show. Maybe Jayson Blair, formerly of the New York Times as well.
They could also get Sam Harris on. In the wake of these stories, Sam Harris made his brief essay, Lying, available for free at Amazon. (It's normally only a $2.99 download anyway.)
Harris seems to think all lying is bad. I think he would stop short when it came to lying to a psychopath on a rampage about which way a victim was running, but other than that he says we'd all be better off if we would be more honest.
He includes "white" lies in this category and gives some examples. A friend asks him if he's looking fat. Harris tells him that while no one wold ever categorize him as obese, he certainly would do well to lose a few pounds. Everyone else had told the guy he looked fine, but this honesty made the guy get back into shape and was happier for it.
It's a small example and Harris has more thoughts on the subject, but it's a refreshing take in a time when it's getting more and more difficult to know who to really trust. And it would make a great hour of radio.