On Dec. 22, the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record published an article summarizing an interview its reporter Siobhan Synnot had with the superstar actor Will Smith. Near the end of the highly laudatory piece, the reporter wrote: "Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good" and immediately cited the actor saying: "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'Let me do the most evil thing I can do today,'" said Will. "I think he woke up in the morning and, using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.'"
What Will Smith said is probably true. Most of history's great evils were committed by people who somehow convinced themselves that the evil they did was really good. This is hardly a new problem. As the Prophet Hosea said 2,700 years ago, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Hosea 4:6).
Some years ago, I made a video on goodness ("For Goodness Sake") with the director David Zucker in which I said almost the same thing word for word, that few people who do evil wake up in the morning saying, "Ah, another day to do evil."
In his play "Incident at Vichy," playwright Arthur Miller depicts a Jewish doctor in Nazi Occupied France who seeks a corrupt Nazi to bribe in order to escape Hitler's genocide of the Jews. The Jewish doctor knows that if he finds an idealistic Nazi, he is doomed. Miller's point was that there were bestial Nazis who believed that what they were doing was good.
Yet, Will Smith, making the same point, was quoted around the world as saying that he thinks that Hitler was a good person.
Every Hollywood and celebrities Internet site I checked -- about 30 -- headlined that "Will Smith thinks Hitler was a 'good' person" (note that 'good' was put in quotation marks as if the headline was accurately quoting Smith).
And most then opened their phony report with this: "U.S. actor Will Smith has stunned fans by reportedly declaring that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was essentially a 'good' person."
A complete fabrication.
The lying about Smith was not confined to Hollywood and celebrity Web sites. For example, Rense.com, which calls itself "World's No. 1 Alternative News Service -- Your First Source for Reality and Honest Journalism," offered this headline (www.rense.com/general79/smith.htm), reprinting a World Entertainment News piece: "Will Smith -- 'Hitler Was Essentially a Good Person.'"
A Web site presumably credible to its readers put into quotation marks something Smith never said.