Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Truth?

Recently in class we have been discussing the need for truth in journalism. Journalists need to be sure that what they are reporting is the honest truth. I believe that this a very important thing for journalists to be aware of, but I do not think they are the only writers who need to be aware of it. Even authors of books need to be held accountable for what they write, specifically if they are writing what they label a memoir, or non-fiction story.

It was recently discovered that Misha Defonseca's book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Year" is not what she had claimed it to be. Claims made my Defonseca in the book included things like "she found herself trapped in the Warsaw ghetto, killed a Nazi soldier in self-defense and was adopted by a pack of wolves that protected her." Her book became very popular in Belgium, even having a feature film created in France about it.

It seems like plagiarism and faulty "memoirs" are happening a little more frequently these days. I am sure a story about a lady reflecting on her travels across Europe with wolves during World War II would be very interesting, but don't we deserve the truth. So many people bought in to her story and she just kept on living the lie. So many people were negatively impacted by that war that it seems wrong to record such a drastic story as the truth. Another memoir turned falsification that occurred recently was that of "A Million Little Pieces" by author James Frey. His book was on Oprah's book club list before it was found out to have false information in it. I think that if these people really wanted to write non-fiction or memoirs, then they need to make sure they stick to the truth. They may have great stories, but by not sticking to them their book shifts to fiction. Even if it seems like the right decision at the time, they have to remember that somebody, someday will find out what they did.

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