Brian Williams and the Truth

While Ukraine is in facing the reality of being taken over by far-right Neo-Nazis, and the Islamic State continues to devastate the Middle East, here in America the big question is about Brian Williams or NBC Nightly News—who is at fault?

As it would happen, Brian Williams, editor and chief journalist for NBC Nightly News, was caught in a lie about the events of his trip to Iraq during 2003. When he first reported the incident, Williams told his viewers that he was part of a helicopter convoy that received weapons fire, and the helicopter he was following was hit. When recounting the event over a decade later, Williams reported that it was his helicopter that took fire. After being corrected, Williams issued a public apology for his misspeaking and took a leave of absence. On the same day, a letter was published by the president of NBC News Deborah Turness declared that Williams was to be suspended for six months without pay, publicly disgracing the face of NBC Nightly News. This scandal comes in the wake of rating crises on Meet the Press and the Today show, and with a new figurehead leading their organization, there is a lot of clean-up to be done. Of course, after NBC Nightly News assured the American public that Iraq was in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction, adding to the propaganda and fear-mongering that caused the US invasion of Iraq, there were no internal reviews regarding the obvious falsehood of their claims. In fact, there didn’t seem to even be an admission that such claims were false.

Amazingly, when NBC News and Brian Williams were caught lying for months about the events leading up to the murder of Trayvon Martin, a public apology was issued, and everyone promptly forgot about their mistake.

As an American citizen, I find it difficult to take these sorts of news stories seriously. On the same day that Brian Williams issued his apology, an unarmed black man was shot in his home by the police. In the same month that President Turness insisted that Williams’ retelling of events was “wrong and inappropriate”, protestors gathered to mark three months since a twelve-year-old boy was murdered.

Still, the last time I watched NBC news, their biggest headline was whether “The Dress” was white and gold or black and blue. I suppose this is just as good a story.

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