Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brian, Brian, Brian

What are we going to do with you?

We invited him into our home most weeknights. We depended on him to tell us the world news that our local stations don’t. They most serve as a local police blotter, weather report, and high school sports information.

I’ll admit, lately I’ve been talking back. The oversensationalism of EVERYTHING is getting old. I’ll also admit, Boston has a lot of snow. But the other places? It’s winter. It’s snowing. I also, personally, think that splatting the reports about Kayla Mueller before anyone had any information was irresponsible and harmful to her family.

But, anyway. One of my points is that we trusted him. He comes from a long line of Most Trusted newscasters: Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Huntley and Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, and most recently, Peter Jennings.

There was one in there, Dan Rather, who was disgraced by falsifying news. Guess what? He’s defending Brian. With friends like that…Only in Dan Rather’s world could a person say, as Dan did, that “Brian is an honest decent man.”

(In 2004, he erroneously reported that George W. Bush had flaked out of his duties to the Air National Guard in 1973, and stood by the story even after critics complained that the documents appeared to be falsified. After two weeks, Rather was forced to retract and apologize for the story, and retired the next year.)

And now we find out that Brian had not, as he and NBC had claimed for many years, been on an helicopter downed by an RPG in Iraq. That story has been claimed by him for 12 years. Then, other discrepancies (lies) starting creeping out. Katrina, etc.

I saw this roll past my TV screen on Feb 7th:
“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.

“As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

My husband says he thinks there must be a deep-seated insecurity. Some sort of inferiority complex, as we used to say. Writers know about this. With every book we put out, we fear it will be discovered that we’re a fraud; that last book was a fluke; we’re just faking it. Maybe that’s it. But all you had to do, Brian Williams, was report news—actual news—and you would have kept on being a trusted figure with a good, extremely well-paying job.

If this blows over and he starts reporting again on the Nightly News show, I’ll never watch it. How could I believe what he says?

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