Seriously, I'm telling the truth . . . honestly

One of the deficiencies always brought up about the Carr family is that we have a tendency to stretch the truth a tad. Some would call it lying. We would refer to it as Westside storytelling. Either way, I'm always having to watch myself because it's fun to embellish stories a little to make them more interesting. So if you ever think you need to call me out if a story seems too outlandish, I give you full permission. This is why:

Mitch Albom, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press and the author of books Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven, is under fire because of an article he wrote during Final Four weekend. He talked to former Michigan State basketball stars Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson about their plans to attend the Michigan State/North Carolina Final Four game. He interviewed the two on Thursday and Friday before the Saturday game, while the article was due out that Sunday. Both Cleaves and Richardson said that they would be attending the game and Albom, facing a Friday night deadline for the Sunday printing, wrote about them going to the game in the past tense [as if it had already happened, because by Sunday the game would have already been played]. Things went bad for Albom when the two decided not to go to the game and the article came out saying that they had. While he wrote an apology, citing how awkward it would have been to write things like "they're planning on going to the game that already happened," Albom is getting condemned by journalists throughout the country for this fabrication.

But before you start to feel too bad for Mitch, here's where it gets really fun: two years ago Albom wrote an article criticizing New York Times reporter Jayson Blair for plagiarism. "Criticizing" might be too kind of a word. Perhaps "flambé" would work better here. He ripped open a can and went double-barreled on Blair. It wasn't pretty. Journalists have a short fuse when it comes to journalism ethics, and Albom proved it. And now, just two years later, Albom is pleading for people to ignore his mistake.

I find it fascinating that, in our age of slipping morals, journalistic integrity is still valued as a priceless American ideal. I know many of you would think this whole issue to be stupid. From a worldly perspective, Albom didn't do anything that bad; he didn't smoke, drink, kick or kill anything. He just typed a few words- and they weren't even hateful words. But there is an incredibly high standard held by journalists. You can be biased, but you'd better be factual. Dan Rather's storied career is permanently blemished because of the false documents he claimed were true on 60 Minutes. It just shows you how seriously media people take this stuff. If you're really interested, you should do a Google search to see what other reporters are saying about this. Here's one from Mitch's hometown.

If this happened to any other reporter, they'd be fired by now. Albom should be thankful he spent all those Tuesdays with that old guy or he'd be out on the street. Maybe this whole thing will lighten Mitch's mean streak up a bit. *Sidenote here: I've never really liked newspaper columnists or talk show hosts- people who get paid to harshly criticize other people. It's not that impressive to make a living by ripping other people down.

To me, this whole incident is a good lesson to be careful how intensely I criticize other people's flaws. At some point, it all comes back around. You know, when you point at others you have three fingers pointing right back at you . . . unless you were in a chainsaw accident where you lost some fingers.

I had one last story I wanted to share about this, but it never really happened. So I'll just keep it to myself.