I’ve stopped updating the passenger list on the rapidly slowing Brian Williams Ethics Train Wreck. Essentially it’s all biased and unethical journalists outing themselves and not being honest or sufficiently self-aware to realize it.
Bulletin: Brian Williams being exposed as an untrustworthy journalist isn’t a “tragedy” for anyone but Brian Williams and NBC’s bottom line, and he was no more a “giant” of broadcast journalism than Joe McCarthy was a “giant” of the U.S. Senate. He was a fraud, and his exposure and fall was a good thing, as exposures of frauds always are. His demise (he isn’t coming back, and NBC should stop the speculation and just say so) does serve as a useful trap for similarly unethical and biased journalists, like TIME’s Joe Klein, who made no sense at all while bemoaning the treatment of Williams in an interview on Fox News, first using a straw man argument:
“I think that we’re living in an era where the ferocity of the prosecution is much greater than the severity of most of these crimes.”
No one’s alleging any “crimes,” Joe. Journalists who are paid huge contracts to deliver the news in a professional and trustworthy fashion can’t be allowed to stay on the air. Absent the “ferocity,” Williams would still have his job today, because news organizations value their profit over integrity and ethics. Plenty of people don’t care if journalists are ethical or not, and can’t tell the difference. If critics don’t make their legitimate complaints strongly enough, the majority’s apathy prevails.
Then Joe went for the rationalizations, this time, #19 and #20:
“And all of us make mistakes. All of us do make mistakes.”
Someone explain “signature significance” to Joe Klein, because Williams’ helicopter fable was a perfect example of it, as I surmised from the first report of the episode. Yes, good journalists make mistakes, but ethical and trustworthy journalists don’t make mistakes like that, even once—telling a false story about being in one helicopter under fire when the reporter was really in another. Sure enough, we have since learned that Williams made up lots of stories that upon examination could not have been true (Joe apparently wants to ignore all that), like seeing bodies floating in the French Quarter after Katrina, like claiming that he was imbedded with elite SEAL team that took down bn Laden. They weren’t doubted at the time because we didn’t know Brian Williams was a serial liar then. “Mistakes” are not the issue. Moreover, Williams’ “false memory” defense, complete with “experts” sent out to the media to explain this phenomenon, was also a lie, and a carefully devised one. His other false reports, slowly becoming known like the endless trail of Bill Cosby victims, prove it.
Next for Joe: euphemisms.
“I do believe that the word conflation was appropriate. When the story first happened, he reported it accurately. And I know that over time the stories that you tell kind of tend to get exaggerated.”
Ridiculous. Conflation and exaggeration are when you caught a fish that was six-inches long and over time the fish becomes a foot long with repeated tellings. It is not conflation when you report on the invasion at Normandy and later start claiming on TV for 13 years that you led the assault on Utah beach . That’s called lying.
All of the journalists attempting to excuse Williams are engaging in The Saint’s Excuse rationalization (“It’s for a good cause”), because that’s how biased and unethical journalists think: our lies (Conflations! Conflations!) are not important because we’re fighting the good fight, telling the public what is right and true, even if that means distorting the facts to make it clear for them, because the poor dears are so easily confused. Mark these journalists well: any journalist who won’t agree that Brian Williams was a disgrace to his profession is one too.
Then came the mainstream media garment-rending over Jon Stewart’s decision to let someone else of equal talent handle Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” This time, Fox News bloviator Bill O’Reilly hit a bullseye, stating that media coverage of Stewart‘s departure is all the proof you need that the press has a liberal bias. Well, you shouldn’t need any more proof, but this would do if you had been keeping Walt Disney company in a frozen state during the 2008 and 20012 Presidential campaigns, for example, or were unconscious when the mainstream media started lobbying for gun control after Sandy Hook rather than reporting on lobbying efforts, or were being kept hostage when the news media was desperately trying to call Obama’s “you can keep your plan” ACA lie anything other than a lie, or have been following the evidence in the troubling IRS scandal, which has been treated as a non-story because the Obama Administration wants it that way.
Except for the very rare instances when taking down a Democrat or a liberal media competitor (like Keith Olbermann) was too tempting to resist, Stewart’s satire was overwhelmingly aimed at conservatives, opponents of Democratic policies and the liberal wish list, Republicans and Fox. If you think that made him a journalist and a force for truth and justice because those targets are the main offenders to logic, fairness, honesty and competence in the culture, you are deluded and biased, or disturbingly gullible and ignorant. And most mainstream journalists do think that, while Democrats are happy to agree.
The fact that so many lauded Stewart didn’t mean that the biased clown was a journalist. It just showed that a lot of journalists are really biased clowns, and don’t even know it.