Undercover Reporting intends to provoke its readers, and it did me. If an editor thinks he should launch an investigation with overt lies because overt lies pave the quickest path to the hard-to-get truths, why should he stop there? Why not have his reporters pepper whole, hard-to-get stories with plausible lies and half-truths as long as they propel a story to the ultimate truth? Why not lie to readers, too? We journalists don’t trust sources who lie. Then why should we trust reporters who do the same? When I was an editor, I occasionally had trouble keeping my less-scrupulous writers on the straight and true. When I imagine giving them—or even my most conscientious reporter—a license to make things up in order to get a story, my mind derails. Kroeger’s thoughtful openness to telling direct lies has turned me full-force against the technique.

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Jack Shafer writes a column about the press and politics for Reuters.