Ian Fleming

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

The economy is fragile. The employment statistics—with offshoring and robots stealing American jobs—are disheartening. Yet room always exists for good 'ole American ingenuity and grit. In a Dec. 8 home game, Philadelphia's beloved Eagles played the Detroit Lions in a raging blizzard. The 8.5 inches of snow was a complete surprise.

Last week someone forwarded me the e-story of a vacationing family thrown together with Sen. John McCain and his family at a luxury resort on Turtle Island, Fiji. McCain comes off as overbearing, tedious and a lecherous pig—a boor, bore and boar.

The piece is so explicit—written with such outrage and so filled with detail—that its truth seems self-evident.

Or, is it the work of a master fiction writer out to spread a rumor and help scuttle John McCain's campaign?

Welcome to a discussion about rumors and smears—and what to do if you're the spreader, the smearee or the smearer.

"As teenagers' scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading-diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books," writes Motoko Rich in The New York Times. "But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount."

I believe this so-called "new kind of reading" is the result of the old kind of writing, which has become really bad.

I'm talking about the writing in mainstream media-newspapers, magazines and books-whose managements are so financially strapped that they can't afford decent editors. The result: Authors left to themselves are sloppy, self-indulgent and frequently boring as dirt.

This is also true of writing on the Internet and BlackBerrys/other mobile devices.

Can George Bush Do for Curling What JFK Did for Sean Connery? Feb. 23, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 15 IN THE NEWS Bush Tries His Hand at Winter Sports President Bush tried his own version of winter sports this weekend—two bike rides in subfreezing temperatures—after watching some of the Winter Olympics on Air Force One on Friday. While flying back from Florida, Bush watched part of the U.S. men's curling competition broadcast from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. "We were watching some curling—cheering the U.S. on," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, recalling the match the U.S. team won by

The amazing, unbelievable story of the Henokiens IN THE NEWS NEW YORK -- Rupert Murdoch is becoming publisher of the New York Post, replacing his 33-year-old son Lachlan, who abruptly resigned last week. --Associated Press Aug. 1, 2005 The bitter battle has all the hallmarks of a classic family drama. It pits the toddler children of Mr. Murdoch and Ms. Deng, a Chinese-born woman in her mid-30s, against Mr. Murdoch's children from his first two marriages. One of the key debates: Who should inherit the family's $6 billion fortune and Mr. Murdoch's control of News Corp.? Should it be just the media titan's adult

More Blogs