Brian Williams, the face of the NBC News franchise, was suspended for six months for telling false war stories repeatedly for 12 years.
The goal is to salvage NBC’s remaining integrity and the network’s investment in Williams, the affable front man for the liberal news. NBC News might need to embark on a new advertising campaign. I’d suggest “NBC News: Home of the Whopper.”
The ratings at NBC, and especially at its sibling MSNBC, are way down. Still, let this be a lesson: Be careful what you say on NBC. There may still be a few people watching.
Fabricated war stories are nothing new. Hillary Clinton famously lied about being shot at in Bosnia when she said, “I remember landing under sniper fire … we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” Hillary saw no action in Bosnia. But to be fair, Bill Clinton probably saw a lot of action back home while she was gone.
Liberal John Kerry lied about his Swift Boat valor in Vietnam and Dan Rather knowingly used a fake letter to attack George Bush’s military record.
Williams also “misremembered” seeing a dead body floating outside his Ritz-Carlton hotel in the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina. There was only one problem: The French Quarter never flooded, during or after the storm. Katrina was a big story the left sought to blame on Bush’s FEMA. It had to be harrowing at the Ritz for a limousine liberal, dilettante like Williams. I am told the hotel is so bad the mini-bar fridge is not even a Sub-Zero!
Why lie? The “God Complex” of liberals who surround themselves with sycophants is the reason. Liberals always imagine themselves heroes, the saviors of others with their caring gestures and empty rhetoric and their leftist media never challenge them. The liberal mindset is: “As long as I convince myself that I am doing good then the truth doesn’t matter.” Dr. Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of Obamacare, demonstrated this when he said they counted on American voters’ “stupidity.”
It is only with the advent of egalitarian internet journalists and Fox News that any leftist transgressions have come to light. Twenty years ago the Brian Williams story would have been buried by the left-wing oligopoly media of NBC, CBS, CNN and ABC. Maybe we should thank Al Gore for inventing the Internet.
In a country so conditioned to understand the titillating simplicity of TMZ rather than the complexity of the DMZ, there is more room to be swayed by spin doctors in the news masquerading as journalists. Too many in the U.S. think the pending issue of “net neutrality” is what Bruce Jenner is going through.
There was a time that journalists were not cozy with those they covered. They went to different schools and social events. As a result, they were objective; they did their jobs. Today, Brian Williams hosts “Saturday Night Live” and appears on Letterman and Fallon and pretty much any other place that will have him. Yes, he is likable and a good sport, but this ruins his journalistic cred. It is more important to liberals to be liked than to be respected; Obama personifies this priority of glamour over substance.
It is always the liberal celebrity parties and associations these journalists desperately seek. No one wants to do what it takes to be invited to Dick Cheney’s Oscar party.
Newsmen are no longer dignified reporters in the vein of David Brinkley and Edward R. Murrow. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is hosting a new game show on his network. It will be exactly the same as CNN’s regular newscast, except that contestants – instead of CNN journalists – will give the wild and speculative answers.
Journalism, which has morphed into editorializing, is a powerful medium. Snarky comments by Brian Williams and his ilk can advance the ideas of some while belittling those of others. The racist caricature they have created of the Tea Party agenda is an example. What they decide to report on – and more importantly, what they omit – is a powerful podium.
Can Williams survive the relentless, sniping chatter and shrill whining about his lies? It can be done; guests do it every day on “The View.” If not, President Obama will have to appoint a new anchor for “NBC Nightly News.”
NBC’s crisis management calculus tells the network that, if he lays low for awhile, Williams can come back with credibility. Camille Cosby is less in denial than NBC.
(Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com)