So Glenn Beck acknowledges that, during his "Restoring Honor" speech at the Washington mall, he lied about having held the George Washington inaugural speech in his own hands.
Why did he tell the white whopper? Because "I thought it was a little clumsy to explain" the elaborate document-viewing process at the National Archives.
Saying (with outreached hands and quavering voice) that he actually held the parchment, Beck said, would "be a little easier than to say, 'Yesterday, I went to the National Archives, and they opened up the vault, and they put on their gloves, and then they put it on a tray, and they wheeled it over, and it's all in this hard plastic, and the because you're sitting down at a table and you can't—because of [Former National Security Advisor] Sandy Berger—you can't actually touch any of the documents because they are very rare'…..I thought it was a little clumsy to explain it that way."
This is why experience in journalism is, was and always will be essential to speechwriting and other communication disciplines.
Instead of saying he held the speech in his hands, Beck could have simply said, "I was almost unbelieving as I beheld the actual manuscript with my own eyes." Alternatively, he could have gone deep, describing the document-viewing process in even more detail than he does above (minus the Sandy Berger swipe)—and the reverence he must have felt as the speech was being brought out. That wouldn't have been clumsy. It would have been powerful.
Journalism contains the art of making the most of the facts—not making the facts themselves. It's not saintly—it can be just as manipulative as an outright lie—but it is a crucial career-saving skill for professional communicators like you, me and Glenn Beck.