The New York Times’ media columnist David Carr has weighed in on the Brian Williams drama. His take is essentially that Williams shouldn’t be fired because everyone lies, and Williams was only trying to live up to the standard that America has for a news anchor; a standard that is impossible to attain.
While Carr made some good points — everyone does lie and Williams does occupy a lose-lose role — he loses us when he gives his verdict. “I don’t know if Mr. Williams will lose his job,” wrote Carr. “I don’t think he should — his transgressions were not a fundamental part of his primary responsibilities.”
Actually, his transgressions are not only a fundamental part of his primary responsibilities, they are the only part of his primary responsibilities. His job is to tell the truth. Viewers trust that what Williams is telling them is correct.
Instead, Williams has been lying — for more than a decade — about the helicopter flight in Iraq. Williams also may have been lying about events during Hurricane Katrina and the Israel-Palestine war. People are even questioning Williams’ story about getting mugged when he was young.
Carr might not think embellishing stories to make yourself seem braver than you are is a big deal, but it is. Williams should be fired. He shouldn’t get to lie in his free time then expect viewers to take him at his word when he’s back at the news desk.
A lesser anchor would’ve been gone by now, but not Williams. Viewers await Williams’ self-imposed banishment to end so he can tell them what he’s learned. Or at least, what he wants them to hear.
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