Last night it was announced that Brian Williams was suspended without pay for telling some lies on air as network news anchor and as elsewhere when he was promoting his role as network anchor. The suspension was appropriate, and he should not have been fired.
Admittedly while covering the story here and at TruthRevolt, I have enjoyed some of the jokes running through twitter at Williams expense and defended those who contributed more to the story and those who made fun of the story. Many in the mainstream media couldn’t understand why social media was so relentless in their attacks on Brian Williams–he deserved every bit of it, and those people who criticized the attacks, such as Geraldo or Dan Abrams aren’t looking at it from an objective point of view. They say that Brian Williams made a mistake–no he didn’t, it was much more than that—Brian Williams violated a sacred trust.
Reporter, or News Anchor are really lousy words for what Brian Williams (or me for that matter) does on a daily basis. A better word would be truth-teller. A reporter’s job is to seek out the truth and share it with an audience. And while that truth may have some biased opinions attached to it, the basic facts of the story must be real. Truth is Brian Williams’ sacred trust. And just like when one goes to a pharmacy and trusts that they will go home with the right medicine for their illness, Brian Williams’ audience turned on the TV daily to get the truth.
Now news junkies like me know Brian Williams, indeed most of the news anchors aren’t really telling the truth. As managing editor of NBC News, he was omitting important stories and skewing his reports to promote the progressive agenda. And none of that will change with Lester Holt or anyone else in the anchor chair. Williams went beyond that, he invented news. Yes he was only trying to add machismo to his stories, invent this newsman as hero story but in this business the news is supposed to be the hero, not the person delivering it.
Making matters worse was when he took the opportunity to apologize last week, Brian Williams lied about his lie. If he had come clean with his apology last Wednesday the entire scandal would have been over.
But on the other hand, NBC did the right thing by suspending and not firing Brian Williams. America is the land of second chances, going back to the pilgrims who came to this continent for a second chance. When Nixon said we wouldn’t have Dick Nixon to kick around again, he came back and we kicked him again. Don Imus got fired a few times, for his addiction and for racist comments he was given a third chance. Bill Clinton committed perjury as President of the United States and even though he probably didn’t deserve it got a second chance.
I am reminded of June 2010 two days after I broke the story and video exposing Helen Thomas for the hater she was a post on this site urged that she not be fired:
Helen Thomas is one of the smaller voices spewing that hatred. If she
gets fired, so what? Nothing changes. Bigger voices such Pat Buchanan
will still be on Morning Joe, Al Sharpton will still be the media’s
favorite African American guest, and representatives of CAIR will still appear on Fox News every time there is a Muslim-related issue….Firing Helen Thomas is the equivalent of giving a lifetime sentence to
the college freshman who gets caught selling a joint when you have the
head of the entire cartel served up to you on a silver platter. Ms.
Thomas’ comments were disgusting, and this is not the first time she has
made anti-Semitic comments, but firing her while ignoring the “cartel
leaders” such as Sharpton, Buchanan, and the other big haters in the
public eye is meaningless.
The same thing applies here. What good is firing Brian Williams if nothing happens to the NBC management who knew he was inflating his biography and did nothing. Also nothing will happen the anchors who are just as bad as Williams. Heck George Stephanopoulos was Bill Clinton’s press secretary and still acts if he is working for the Democratic Party and there are others.
If Brian Williams comes back in six months (and that is a big if) and is a chastened and more honest truth-teller we will all be better for it. If he comes back and resumes his lying ways, well then he blew his second chance and will get busted and probably fired for the violation. But if Williams doesn’t learn from the public ridicule and suspension then he isn’t very smart and doesn’t belong in the anchor seat anyway, and personally I believe he is a bright man.