Brian Williams has been suspended by NBC for lying about being in a helicopter that was hit by RPG fire. NBC says they are “rooting” for him and that he deserves a second chance, presumably after the suspension. One wonders why NBC would even consider putting him back in the anchor chair. Are they incapable of finding anywhere in the world a news reader capable of doing the job at least as well as a man who has sullied his reputation for veracity beyond any hope of repair?
Be that as it may, there has been a lot of “analysis” over a very straightforward matter. For his part Williams says “I would not have chosen to make this mistake. I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”
Of course he would not have made such a mistake; no one would. Of course he does not know what screwed up his mind to cause him to conflate one aircraft with another, because he did no such thing. He lied. Why are we even discussing any other possibility? He is a trained journalist; a professional observer. Does anyone seriously believe he is incapable of telling whether or not he was riding in a helicopter that was hit by RPG fire?
What was his motive for lying? Easy. He wanted to inject himself into the story and appear to be more relevant. I’ve experienced this before firsthand.
One of the most bizarre experiences of my life occurred while I was representing the Columbine families. Jim Taylor was one of the law enforcement officials who responded to the scene, and he happened to be a friend of the father of one of my clients. Here’s where it gets weird. Taylor told my client that he was actually on the scene when his son was shot. He said he saw the boy get hit and go down. Every word of it was a lie. The truth came out eventually but not before a great deal of chaos and anguish resulting from the fact that it was impossible to reconcile Taylor’s account with the official account put out by the sheriff’s department. One or the other accounts simply had to be false. Naturally, my client believed his friend, whom he assumed had no motive to lie.
After all the dust had settled and his lies were exposed and he had lost his job, Taylor was asked, “Why did you do it?” His answer, “I wanted to make my involvement look greater than it was.” Brian Williams would understand that.
Here’s a brief article from ABC from just after the matter erupted.