This is a discussion I had with another writer.
In a screenplay, a young man who is being led astray by a charismatic character lies to that person's wife to avoid exposing the other character's infidelity. The lie works and the situation is saved. He has ensuing qualms about the cover-up and says:
"I hate telling lies."
Whereupon the man he was covering for replies:
"That wasn't a lie. You were telling her what she needed to hear."
When I read this exchange, I criticized the "That wasn't a lie" part of the dialogue as wrong, and suggested omitting it completely or replacing it by "I wouldn't call it a lie.", to avoid this character who is supposed to be duplicitous but also smart and charismatic to seem like a fool. However, the other writer disagreed, stating that the line was strong as it stands.
How do you feel about this?