Raising new and troubling questions …

Malcolm GladwellIn what could only be viewed as a perverse and often baffling development, author and New Yorker magazine writer Malcolm Gladwell said last week a story he told in an early February segment of public radio’s “This American Life” is, well, a complete tall tale.

In the story, recorded at a New York club called the Moth, Gladwell recounts his early days as a cub reporter at that august bastion of journalism, Ben Bradlee’s The Washington Post.

To hear the “The American Life” segment go here and click on full episode and move the player sliderbar to about the 45:27 minute area of the audio to hear the start of the Gladwell piece.

The original piece had a disclaimer, but now, more than a month later, Gladwell has clarified the story’s veracity on his Web site:

There is a disclaimer at the end of the This American Life broadcast, to the effect that the Moth is a place where “people come to tell both true stories and occasional tall tales.” As I think should be obvious if you listen to it, my story definitely belongs to the “tall tale” category.  I hope you enjoy it.  But please do so with a rather large grain of salt.

But you know, the story has that ring of  …


  1. He had me going. I was thinking, Malcolm Gladwell? The Washington Post? Say it ain’t so, Joe. I’m glad I heard the disclaimer at the end of the show.

  2. I’ve never heard of a “complete tale tell” – perhaps you meant a “complete tall tale”?

  3. TO: Jack D. Lail
    RE: So….
    ….the implication of this report is…what?
    That we can’t trust anything we hear coming out of some so-called ‘mainstream media’. Especially that which has a name including “New York….”?
    Why am I not surprised?
    Why is it that whenever some cretin calls me and asks if I’m interested in subscribing the the New York Times, I tell them that the New York Times can ‘go to Hell’…and politely hang up.
    [They [corporations] cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed nor excommunicated, for they have no souls. — Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chief Justice of England, 1628]
    P.S. And their comportment, as in handling such a fragile thing as the Truth, confirms the Lord Chief Justice’s and MY opinions…..

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