Remember the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can? Leonardo DiCaprio starred as Frank W. Abagnale Jr., a man who fooled people into thinking he was an airline pilot, among other things, to live a jet-setting, check-forging, stewardess-banging life.
The movie was wonderful, as I recall. It had just the right breezy tone to fit the times it was set in and dispensed with looking too deeply into the truth of Abagnale’s story in favor of a couple hours of enjoyable entertainment.
Turns out Abagnale’s story was, most likely, not true at all. And people were blowing it apart back in the late 1970s.
This revelation, the subject of a new book, demonstrates both how the world has both changed dramatically and stayed the same in the past 40 years. The reporters who dug into Abagnale’s past in the ‘70s couldn’t get in front of his story because they worked for small, local papers. Well before the Internet, their investigations could not find traction nationally.
And yet, as we see every single day, even with the Internet, it is getting harder and harder to pin down what the truth of any story is.
A prime example of that is what has been occurring in the halls of Congress the past few months, as Republicans continue to reframe the events of January 6 to deny and bury the truth of that day.
Repeat a story often enough, into the official record of the US Congress no less, and you can rewrite history before its first draft is even dry.