(CBS News) In the wake of the separate scandals surrounding star cyclist Lance Armstrong and college football star Manti Te'o, Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, said the public's love of a good tale was motivation for each athlete to perpetuate their stories.
"Each of them had an incredibly strong investment in sticking to their tale," he said on "CBS This Morning." "With Manti, we don't know when he knew what he knew, to what degree he was a victim of this hoax or what degree he kind of conspired or let it happen. But in both of their cases, there was a story that the public loved, the perpetuation of which really served their economic interests, kept the spotlight on them, kept them adored, and so they had very powerful motivation to keep it going."
However, Lance Armstrong's case is a bit more severe because of the victims involved, Bruni said. "With Manti, I'm not really sure who the victims of the story are, if any. With Lance Armstrong, there are a lot of victims. There are people he sued. There are people he defamed. In the interests of preserving, of perpetuating that lie, he smeared a lot of people."
Bruni has expressed that the public believes in fairy tales. "With both of these stories we have to ask ourselves, not just what was done to us, but the degree to which we handed over, you know, our trust, our gullibility. We love these big, wonderful stories.
"Take the Manti Te'o situation," Bruni said. "This girlfriend was never produced. If you go back and you look at the transcripts of some of the interviews he did, now you say, 'Gee, no one asked this follow-up, that follow-up.' We loved this tale of double grief and someone valiantly performing through it. And because of that, I think we deliberately didn't ask some tough questions, that now, in retrospect, it looks like we should have."
For more with Bruni, watch his full interview in the video above.