Friday, March 10, 2006

Facts in the eye of the beholder

Remember James Frey? "A Million Little Pieces'" thousand little lies? How the hubbub was going to shame publishers into actually fact-checking their memoirs?

Crap, crap and crap. All crap.

This USA Today story shows that publishers will be doing little more than keeping an eye out.

Says Algonquin Books publisher Elisabeth Scharlatt: "As much as Oprah would like to see [fact-checking] happen, I think there might be more of an editor and a publisher looking deeply into the writer's eyes."

Says Dutton publisher Brian Tart: "We're not hiring people to check the facts of the books, and we're not changing how we do things at all. But it's a time when we all have to look our authors in the eye and say, 'We trust each other, right?'"

In case you're not laughing hard enough yet, some people are saying that fact checkers are the real joke. "The whole notion of fact-checkers is as antiquated as the Model T," said the Century Foundation's Peter Osnos. "You don't need fact-checkers. What you need is reliable writers and skeptical editors."


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