Lies, damn lies, and topics of unclear truthfulness

A brief note, since I linked to the original appearance of the story about the college student who got interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security after he requested Mao's Little Red Book. It's not true. I noted my skepticism initially, but perhaps not strongly enough. The spread of this story will probably have three effects.

1) Some "boy who cried wolf"-style doubt towards future stories of individual level civil liberties infractions.
2) Some people won't ever hear that this story is false, and will just go on believing and repeating it.
3) Slightly more people will read Mao's Little Red Book.

I have no idea if the student behind this intended any or all of these, of if he was just trying to get out of a homework assignment or something.

In a bit of pleasing serendipity, I just finished watching Shattered Glass, all plaudits of which turn out to be quite deserved. Some thematic links could perhaps be drawn between it and this phony DHS/student story.

I'll likely post some thoughts on Munich tomorrow, though I can sum up my feelings by saying that the parts in which Spielberg trusts the audience (most of it, surprisingly) are of very high quality, and the rest is less good.