Thank you, Peter. You put it very well.
I can remember using a Sharpie pen to remove intrusive trash from my 4x5 transparencies and Spotone to remove the same from B&W prints. I've used bleach to remove or lighten areas and burning to darken and reduce distracting bright areas on prints. Today I use a clone brush and digital dodging and burning tools to do the same thing. I don't consider myself as being dishonest when I do this. And I certainly don't condemn photojournalists who do the same thing.
I respect McCullen, he is one of photography's greats. But he sorta goes off the rails when he makes a blanket condemnation of all digital photography as a "totally lying experience" simply because someone can manipulate the image. We have always been able to manipulate images. It is the integrity and the honesty of the individual photographer that should be held up to scrutiny, not the tools and methods involved.