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In Whatever Form, It's Chicanery

July 28, 1996

Re "When a Journalist Lies, Should It Be Forgiven?" July 22): While reading Elizabeth Mehren's article on Joe Klein's forced admission that he is the anonymous author of "Primary Colors," an interesting anomaly crept into my mind.

Most everybody in journalism knows without question that plagiarism is a grievous literary sin. Yet, according to Mehren's story, some people view the reverse of this, the refusal of an author to take responsibility for what he did write, as, well, maybe naughty, but nothing to get really steamed about.

I can see little difference in the effect of either form of chicanery. The public feels it's been had. The consequence of Klein's deed is magnified by the fact that "Primary Colors" deals with matters in the public arena.

JERRY CHANEY

Long Beach

*

Your article grappling with Joe Klein's lying about his authorship of the novel "Primary Colors" is an excellent beginning. Of the eminent sources who were quoted, only one failed to condemn Klein's lack of honesty. What's amazing about this situation is that honesty in journalism is cause for debate.

But since the subject seems to have captured the attention of journalists, let us hope the same interest will extend to our politicians.

JAMES HARDIE

Rancho Palos Verdes

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