Absent further revelations, though, I find it an unfair double-standard that something Lehrer falsely attributed to Bob Dylan—which is essentially accurate, even if it isn’t technically—has cost him his job, and that his publisher is yanking his book. It’s not as if he quoted Dylan as saying, “I’m a Wiccan,” or “Wallace Stevens was a sucky poet.” He wrote, “‘It’s a hard thing to describe,’ Mr. Dylan said. ‘It’s just this sense that you got something to say.’” Here’s Dylan, to Ed Bradley on “60 Minutes” (according to the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog): “It came from, like, right out of that wellspring of creativity…I don’t know how I got to write those songs.”
L’Affaire Lehrer: In Defense of Jonah | Observer. Essentially accurate. As far as I can tell, the argument here is that making up quotes is okay if they’re really plausible quotes. If they’re obviously fake (“I’m a Wiccan”) then that’s bad.