There are three questions surrounding the Brian Williams saga that have consumed the debate:
- Why did he deceive the public, when the facts could easily be verified?
- How many of the stories he told on Letterman and elsewhere were lies, or at the very least extreme exaggerations?
- And what can he do to redeem himself?
You can’t turn on a cable news channel, read a newspaper or blog, or turn to a website on the topic and not hear or read from a slew of experts on one of the three.
We have heard from everyone from fellow journalists, to Navy SEALs, to crisis-management experts, to psychologists — and even from noted intellectual Charlie Sheen — as to why he created the quagmire he finds himself in and how he can extricate himself from the muck.
The details of each have been dealt with numerous times — both here and elsewhere — so I will try not to be redundant.
The reason he was confused about Katrina was he had dysentery; his claims that he was given gifts by SEALs were fabrications, but basically harmless bravado made on an entertainment program, so what’s the big deal? (BTW: I totally disagree with this argument.)
However, I do want to address one issue that has been used as a defense for his claims related to Iraq: The Fog of War.
I have known, and still know, many reporters who have covered conflicts, put their lives on the line and suffered deeply as a result.
Whether they have been kidnapped, like the titan of journalism we just lost, Bob Simon; wounded and nearly died, like current CNN analyst Kimberly Dozier, or were killed in conflict, like my old friend and former colleague Marie Colvin.
I can continue the name dropping, adding those who were murdered by ISIS and those who are still involved in coverage in the Middle East, Ukraine, Central Africa and elsewhere.
These brave and dedicated people are the ones that suffer the Fog of War. Not some highly paid news people who go over to these areas of conflict for short stints — mostly for the publicity involved and the ratings and exposure it brings to their outlets.
Brian Williams was once a fine, investigative journalist. I have watched his work since he was a reporter on Fox News’ station WTTG in Washington, D.C.
He has devolved into a personality cultist.
He fell into a trap of his own making and it infuriates me when people try to make excuses for his behavior or theorize what he can do to bring his credibility back.
The Fog of War!
Go talk to the parents of James Foley or Colvin about the Fog of War.
Brian Williams is a pathetic, habitual liar. If he had just done it once, maybe he could be forgiven. But we are daily getting more incidents under question.
Let him take his millions and figure out what he has done — maybe spending it on a good shrink would help.
But as a true journalist, he is not redeemable. And people should stop trying to make it sound like these incidents are going to blow over.
And, though it it’s a darn shame, he has no one — or anything — to blame but himself.