Brian Williams: When Smart People Do Dumb Things

The current controversy enveloping the news anchor for NBC® Brian Williams is both growing in furor as well as out right shock. As many of you have probably heard he has come under direct fire that is quite real as opposed to the fictional accounts he’s been extolling about a helicopter incident he had in Iraq a few years ago.

Basically the narrative revolved around the central premise that Mr. Williams himself was aboard a military helicopter that received hostile fire and was not only hit by an RPG, but consequently put down in the desert where they then remained for days. Pretty hair-raising stuff for seasoned military personnel to be part off let alone for a civilian news anchor.

One would think the details of such an event would be chiseled in stone within one’s memory of exactly what took place and more. Especially for a person with the credentials of Mr. Williams. After all: reporting and describing the details so that an audience would (or could) imagine the incident as seen through his eyes via television is after all what he has been paid to do for most of his career.

The real issue here that has been brought forth is not that he embellished the story. For if that were what had happened many (including myself) would cut him some slack. After all, no matter how much we want as Jack Webb would state : “Please, give us the facts, and only the facts.” television news has been and always will have, an element of “embellishment” somewhere as to get you to watch. Whether it be in the title of a story, or the way a sound clip as a promo is produced, etc.

It’s part of the game and always has been. Adults with any semblance of critical thought can discern when it’s taking place. However: Outright lying or fiction made up from whole cloth is quite another. There should be no room for discussion on the consequences. Personally I believe he should resign immediately or be fired forthright. Period. Harsh? Yes, however I’m not alone.

It has just been reported that Tom Brokaw the very person Mr. Williams replaced after his retirement has publicly insinuated the same. Usually when situations like these happen to media figures (regardless of the media venue) the old guard as well as others circle the wagons first as to try to help give the beleaguered brethren a bit of breathing room to possibly recant, or in some cases, to even double down if need be as to defend themselves.

Media people understand what their own “media” can do to a person quickly. So in a show of solidarity, many will just try to help one catch some arrows till one can catch their breath. Yet, this time there is no way to defend. It’s prima facie. Mr. Williams account of the incident was a total fabrication.

Not only is that real news – is allows for one heck of a headline that can’t be embellished any other way but for what it is. “Top TV News Anchor: EXPOSED AS A LIAR!” Details at 6. The only people who still think (or believe) they can withstand the public disgust of such a revelation is Mr. Williams and the current management at NBC.

The real issue that came to light is not that this was a case where embellishment took on a life of its own. Where the subject suddenly found themselves riding a tiger and couldn’t get off. Things like that happen all the time. All of us at one time or another have had our own version of this happening to us in one form or another at some point in our lives albeit on a smaller scale. e.g., You’re mistakenly credited with doing a good deed for someone as a kid or adult when in reality it was out of happenstance and nothing more. Where you may have found it was easier to just say “It was no big thing” and shrug off any further discussion as to possibly quell the entire issue. We’ve all experienced our own version or circumstance of this in one form or another.

The difference here is: this was not an embellishment. Not a “taken out of context” styled incident. This is a case of outright lying. For it has now been both exposed as well as reported that Mr. Williams recant of him being aboard a military helicopter, taking live fire including being downed by an RPG, crashing, and being stranded in the desert for days has more in common with outright fiction and make-believe than anything resembling the truth.

What could possibly make this hoax of valor worse? It was made up, reported, and perpetually recanted on numerous other television and radio shows in greater and greater details of fiction by the one in the same top “news” anchors in all of media today. This is just astounding in both the scope as well as just how deeply Mr. Williams immersed and plunged himself within this fabrication.

When one listens to his public apology that was aired a few nights ago during his television report where he tried to explain how he bumbled his effort as to “thank” or “honor” a veteran, if that was all one had listened to, or knew about, one may think at first blush “OK, no real big deal, sh** happens.” However, it’s when you remember or listen to him recant the story as well as the details as he did when appearing with David Letterman does one fully grasp just how far down the rabbit hole he went.

There is no other way to view using just this one example of how the storyline was portrayed by Mr. Williams himself; and not come away with he was intentionally fabricating, and taking credit for surviving something that never happened. (at least to him)

In today’s world one would think the very people at the top echelon of media would not only know but understand (for it at one time was their job to know and expose) there’s no way stuff like this won’t be exposed. Yet, what’s just mind-boggling is not only was there no pretense as to squelch or tone it down, but rather he “Turned it up to 11” This was not only stupid – it’s idiotic.

The main stream media (especially that of television) is currently in the death throes of any semblance of credibility, let alone believability. As more and more incidents resembling the likes of these continue, the quicker as well as scope of their ratings failures will persist. For this is no longer a symptom – it’s now a full-blown metastasized cancer plaguing the main stream media as a whole.

If the main stream television needs any form of second opinion to understand just how far their standards for credibility have fallen they need look no further than to who is coming out publicly swinging as to help defend Brian Williams during this controversy: Dan Rather.

Need I say more?

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr