I recently heard about Brian Williams, the host of the NBC Night News. Suspended, by NBC, for some tall tales he told of his times overseas, during the Iraq War. When I learned all the details, I almost laughed.
Now, please understand, I am not excusing what he did. I certainly agree it was wrong; he never should have done it. As a member of the media, especially as the host of a news programme, he is supposed to remain as honest as possible. If he were a politician, no one would even have noticed the issue. As someone we rely on to give us clear and unambiguous reporting of the news of the day, his actions were wrong.
Having said that, I do feel we should put it in perspective. This is a man building up the events of his “war record,” so to speak. Over the many wars of history, I’m sure plenty of fathers beefed up their acts of heroism, especially when telling their grandchildren.
I wrote a memoir of my parents, how they met during World War II. I tried to report the events as accurately as possible. I’m sure they, especially my dad, added a few choice details to make the stories more exciting.
What I find more reprehensible is the condemnation Brian Williams. Others, the powerful people who actually got us into the war, get a complete and total free pass. To this day, Dick Cheney continues to go on news programmes and proclaim the war a ringing success. The fact that he promulgated the war on a complete and utter lie is irrelevant to him.
The media ignore fact Cheney and the administration created the lie. No member of the media ever calls him on that fact or any of the myriad lies the Bush Administration presented as irrefutable facts. When you stack all of those against a few minor things done by one reporter regarding his personal history, the scales of justice do tend to swing hard to one side.
It’s very clear to me we no longer have a free press. We merely have the media and they have traded probing, hard-hitting journalism for ratings. I think that, more than anything else is what truly worries me.
Brian Williams embellishing his wartime reporting is inconsequential. When so-called reporters don’t have the guts to call politicians on there lies that’s tragic. That’s when we get “reports” on death panels, calls for repeal of the minimum wage to boost employment and the push to privatize Social Security and Medicare as a means of helping the elderly.
This is why Trickle-down Economics remains a viable economic policy, despite confirming it false. This is why the GOP can keep calling for cutting taxes on corporations and the so-called “job creators,” and claim that they work, despite concrete proof that they don’t! Unfortunately, this is also how they can call for cuts to Food Stamps and other social programs, yet the oil companies and agro-businesses can keep their billions in subsidies.
The day Speaker Boehner or Senator Cruz spouts another wild falsehood and some member of the media shouts, “Liar!” that’s the day we get a real reporter again.
I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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