NEWSWATCH by Thomas Griffith: Playing with the Facts


The frontier between truth and fiction used to be a well-lit border, and anyone caught trying to cross it was severely punished. No longer. So many others are now romping in what used to be the press's own domain—contemporary history and the lives of current public figures—that it's hard to tell the truth without a score card, and no one is providing one.

ABC's 12½-hour-long serial, Washington: Behind Closed Doors, is a fine example: it was called fiction (which helps avoid libel suits), but since it was loosely "based" on a novel by John...

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