My opinion of the reliability of most broadcast news is already pretty low. Then along comes the Brian Williams story. Williams, the NBC news anchor for its evening broadcast, has been caught in a lie of significant magnitude.
Back in 2003, reporting from Iraq, Williams began telling the tale of how a chopper he was riding in was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and how he was very fortunate to still be alive after that harrowing experience.
This week, he performed an on-air mea culpa about the incident, apologizing for making a “mistake.” It seems his helicopter wasn’t hit after all. He had simply mixed up the facts. It’s all a mistake, folks—no real story here.
Mistakes are mistakes. They are understandable. But to tell a blatant untruth for more than a decade and then simply say, “Whoops, got it wrong,” doesn’t really answer the questions. Even his sort-of apology has now been challenged by those who were there. Williams’s revised story says it was the chopper in front of his that got hit, yet the pilot of his chopper says it was a second set of choppers going the other way that were attacked—Williams’s own group never was in the line of fire.
Why did he finally try to wiggle out of his former story, the one he held to for years? Was he going to be outed anyway, so the best strategy was to get in front of the issue?
Sorry. It doesn’t pass the test. He can’t be suffering from trauma. After all, he was never hit. Isn’t it reasonable to question how anyone can confuse the facts in a case like this? I mean, if I had been in a chopper that was hit by an RPG, I would probably remember, wouldn’t you? And if that had never happened, most of us wouldn’t suddenly think it had.
This is ludicrous.
The silliness of it all was captured by the Media Research Center, which had some fun with Williams yesterday. It decided to enhance his resumé further. Did you know we owe Williams a debt of gratitude for the American Revolution?
Yes, he was there, reporting on the scene that crucial night when Washington crossed the Delaware and took the Hessians by surprise.
Then, of course, there were his contributions in WWII:
It’s nice to know Brian Williams is always there, giving us the facts.
Any news organization concerned about its credibility would dismiss someone who has done what Williams did. But we’re talking about NBC, the parent of that unbiased source of “news” called MSNBC. Don’t expect any real action. They’re so used to spinning the news for partisan purposes, this will hardly matter to them in the long run. What’s one more lie, even if it is tellingly more blatant than usual?