It is a human tendency for people to embellish their achievements.   Thirty years later, a former high school football player, mostly a bench warmer, regales his son with his gridiron exploits or a mother slightly exaggerates to her daughter how many times she made the dean’s list in college.

Sometimes, the aggrandizement is not so innocent.  In 2014, a Career Builder survey of employers found that 58 percent of them had caught a lie on a resume.  Last week, a young man was discovered in Florida who had passed himself off as a decorated American soldier, when, in fact, he was never in the military.

The tendency to mislead has reached the pinnacle of electronic journalism.  NBC News anchor Brian Williams is on suspension by his network for several alleged misrepresentations.   His is not the first case.  CBS News anchor Dan Rather ultimately lost his job for putting on the air a report in 2004 about then-President George W. Bush that Rather and his producer apparently knew to be fabricated.

In the world of sports, the 2015 honor for hyperbole goes to Hall of Fame basketball player turned sports television announcer Bill Walton.  On a recent college telecast, he commented to his co-announcer about Michael Jordan:  “What I loved about Michael Jordan was his commitment to the team, his emphasis on physical fitness, footwork, fundamentals and the ability to figure out how they’re going to get the job done.  Because Michael, face it—the guy was basically average in terms of size, strength, jumping ability, all the things that you seem to think make a great player.”

Sure Bill, and Secretariat was an average racehorse who excelled on fitness and grit.

If you want to see examples of innocent puffery in horse racing just wait until the week before the Kentucky Derby.   Glowing reports will emerge of workouts by a late-developing colt that bode well for Derby Day.  This will be the “wise guys” horse, who looks unbeatable until he gets to the stretch at Churchill Downs.

The elegance of understatement and objective analysis and reporting is less and less common in today’s society.  At least I read that on the Twitter, so it must be true.

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