I want to point out a well-written blog by ValetNon, who brought up this Frischling fiasco in a post called "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"
ValetNon is interesting because he's probably the typical Fish follower: He doesn't know him personally, nor does he really care about him, but finds his comments on travel entertaining. It seems like ValetNon actually took the time to read all the stuff compiled here, and just doesn't really know what to think. In fact, he wrote that for all he knows, Steven Frischling could be running this blog himself for attention! While that was good for a laugh, it made it clear this guy is smart because he questions.
The reason people get duped is because they don't question. For most things, why would you? If you've never met a pathological liar, you don't know that such people exist. In your naivete, you assume people lie to get out of things or to steal; you don't know they lie simply to lie or to make themselves more interesting. When people tell you stories or say they've been to a certain place or met a certain person or tell you a story, you most likely take them at their word. And on the Internet, your interactions with people are so superficial that you really can't be bothered to do any fact checking.
In his blog, ValetNon writes:
"I am sitting on a red couch, typing this out on my laptop. The TV is on, but the sound is down. At the moment, a Mercedes commercial is on TV and CBS has just gone back to the Texans-Titans game.
You can’t verify this, by the way. And, in the end, does it really matter what’s true?"
In this case, no, of course it doesn't matter. However, you are not posing as a photojournalist. Here would be the Steven Frischling-ized version of his day sitting on the couch:
"I shot back-to-back football games in two states one day, despite being sick with 103 temperature and earache that made me totally deaf! These two guys got in a huge brawl and as they were being dragged out, I went in to get a wide-angle shot and got too close as usual. I ended up getting 16 stitches in my head. Man, I tell you, they just don't pay photogs enough these days to put up with what we do in the trenches" (followed by a long rant about safety or something)
If you read this online, you're going to sympathize and think wow what a story. And if you're a photographer, you're going to think, right on! But are you going to demand medical records to prove he got stitches? Ask to see travel receipts or itineraries to prove his two games in one day story? Ask to speak to witnesses? Of course not. Why would you not take him at his word? That's why Steven's audience is entirely online.
From the messages I'm receiving, Steven's not really as respected as he claims to be, but he does have a few thousands followers on Twitter who are ignorant of his issues. Apparently a lot of people in the travel industry think he's a joke/idiot.
The point is, he's passing himself off as a photojournalist. He apparently even is quoted in the media (most disturbing). He spins elaborate tales to seek fame, and most importantly, influence that he hopes will pay off in financial contracts. While his opinions may be genuine, the fact is the majority of what he claims to base his opinions on are pure fiction.
If the truth doesn't matter to you, then by all means, Steven Frischling is the guy for you.