Brava to Sara Nelson, editor of Publishers Weekly, who takes a gimlet-eyed look at the Margaret Jones/Peggy Seltzer debacle and concludes that the publishing industry owes more to its consumers than a million little excuses and a "mistakes were made" shrug:
...I also think it's time we, as an industry, checked on another set of facts: that there are a lot of potential liars looking for book deals, that the reality show–obsessed public has upped the ante for more and more outrageous “real stories” that we may be all too anxious to provide and, not incidentally, that we're losing credibility with our audience with every scandal....
But publishing remains its old credulous self, falling back on bromides about “trusting the author” and “the smell test,” and the argument that being more inquisitive would be too expensive. And while it's true that these disasters are only a small fraction of the good, well-researched memoirs we publish every year, they have a lasting and perhaps cumulative impact. In these post-Frey, Google-able times, being more, not less, skeptical is not only the right thing to do, it's the expedient thing: you can bet that a mistake or misrepresentation is going to be discovered, sooner or later—so why not protect yourself in advance from the inevitable pillorying? I think we can all agree that the one thing the book business doesn't need right now is less faith from readers.
Nelson has written a terrific, thoughtful essay, rich in common sense and basic decency, and the whole thing is well worth reading.