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There’s an excellent column by Paul Krugman in today’s New York Times that should be read by everyone who aspires to be a journalist, bloggers included.

What do you do when a public official lies about important policy issues, as opposed to, oh, his or her sex life?

There’s no easy answer, as I’ve learned after all these years of writing about the city’s budget policies.

I suppose one thing you shouldn’t do, as tempting as it may be, is to assume that public officials always lie because they’re incapable of telling the truth. I have no doubt that some public officials tell the truth, especially when it coincides with their needs.

I guess it’s best to arm yourself with healthy amounts of skepticism. In a competition between convenience and truth people will — well, I think Machiavelli put it best 500 years ago: “How one lives and how one ought to live are so far apart that he who spurns what is actually done for what ought to be done will achieve ruin rather than his own preservation.”

Enjoy your democracy . . .