Lying or just not telling the truth

I really do not want to pick on the President here, just the media.  As this Dan Froomkin column points out, Bush was caught in a clear lie earlier this week.  The lie was of admittedly low stakes and I think you could make a good case that it was appropriate. Regardless, Froomkin raises the larger point that the press is pathologically unwilling to call a lie a lie.  In their slavish efforts to be “fair” a lie becomes an exaggeration, a distortion, a misstatement of reality, anything but a lie.  Sometimes, reporters just need to call it like it is, and a lie is a lie.  

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Identity Theft– blame the credit card companies

Interesting article in Slate.com earlier this week about how the media is over-hyping the problem of identity theft.  The author raises some very interesting points, but I still think underplays the very real and genuine problems with identity theft.  As he points out, “The article cools off after the jump, as 'officials and consumer advocates' describe identity-theft as a byproduct of easy credit. Identity thieves rob banks because that's where the money is?and because the banks leave the vaults open. 

In short, whose fault is identity theft?– the banks and credit card companies.  Quite simply, they have made the cost/benefit calculation that the benefit to their bottom lines of easily accessible instant credit, etc., outweighs the monetary costs they have to pay for fraud.  The problem is that a very significant portion of the costs of identity theft is not borne by the credit card companies.  It is borne by the persons who have to sacrifice hours, wages, and sanity in what can be a very difficult effort to restore their good name and to a lesser degree by the retailers that are likewise victims of fraud.  If the credit card companies had to bear these costs, it is a good bet that identity theft would not be so rampant.

In fact, the solutions to identity theft are already quite clear.  They essentially involve greater regulation of the credit card industry and an end to too-easy credit.  Alas, your Congress is bought and paid for (in a bipartisan manner) by the credit card companies (as well as others, of course), so don't expect reform any time soon. 

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