Well, that escalated quickly: one moment you’re minding your own business regaling the entire country with the stories of how your helicopter got hit by RPG fire in Iraq, and the next you’re “temporarily stepping down” from your plum post with one of the most powerful news networks in the world.
But hey, when you play stupid games, sometimes you win stupid prizes.
The stupid game former NBC News managing editor Brian Williams played was to “misremember” an incident in Iraq in which a helicopter received ground fire and was forced to land. What Williams “misremembered” is that he was not only not actually “in” that helicopter, he was nowhere near it when the incident occurred.
Williams was actually in Iraq at the time, but apparently that didn’t make a good enough story for the folks back home. Instead of being in a helicopter that was an hour behind the chopper that actually got hit, Williams “misremembered” his way right into the middle of the action. He repeated his version of events for several years, before angry veterans got enough mainstream news organizations energized about the issue. And once they did, it was only a matter of time before “Choppergate” brought down the man who was the face of NBC News.
He had it coming. Instead of a straight up mea culpa, Williams doubled down on his Choppergate blunder by claiming he “misremembered” the event. I guess that sounds better than “I lied my ass off about the whole thing.” Nonetheless, Williams was ruthlessly pilloried in the blogosphere, with articles and memes about him cropping up all over the Internet.
Credibility matters, even in the US news consortiums. No one would take NBC News seriously when its biggest star was someone who definitely lied about his experiences in Iraq and most likely lied about his time in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as well. After all, att this point who knows what else he has lied to the American people about? No wonder so many Americans are considering him the “douche of the week.”
So, little Bri-Bri is in the wind, on a “temporary” vacation that will likely become permanent. Not to worry though, America has a short memory and Williams has his defenders so he will no doubt be hired on by some other ethically-challenged news agency after the dust settles. And at least he still has that daughter. But for now, he’s on break. Maybe he can use it to get his story(stories) straight.