I had a shocking and disappointing conversation with a good friend yesterday. She asked me if I thought that Brian Williams would return to anchor the NBC Nightly News following his six month suspension. I replied that I didn’t think so because six months in media and journalism is an eternity and things move on. Then I volunteered that he shouldn’t be permitted to come back based upon his lack of ethics. That his need to satisfy his own ego at the expense of reporting the truth precludes him from a position that has, or should have, integrity and the reporting of fact as part of the job description.
She said she was sad to see him go because he reported the news so well, was a good father and seemed to be a good person liked by many of his colleagues. She demanded of me, “Can’t you forgive him? Shouldn’t he be forgiven? Don’t you think he’s learned his lesson?”
I want to answer all three of her questions. First, he doesn’t need my forgiveness. Assuming he wanted it, I would gladly offer it up if he were contrite and exhibited evidence of remorse. Sadly, his on-air mea culpa contained yet another lie. Cornered into revealing the truth, he was still willing to manipulate the facts to make himself look better.
Secondly, of course he should be forgiven. We are all human, fallible and likely remorseful, even shamed, of behavior at some time in our lives. Forgiveness is always available for those who recognize the error of their ways, accept personal responsibility, and commit to ceasing the behavior. Americans, in particular, are soft-hearted and forgiving of individuals who seek to “turn over a new leaf.”
Thirdly, no, I don’t think Brian Williams has learned his lesson. This humiliating exposure may have him contemplating where he’s been, where he wants to go and how he wants to get there but I doubt he’s turned that corner yet. However, even if I’m wrong, only time will tell because only time can present him with the opportunities and circumstances to act differently next time.
Having responded to her questions, I went on to say that regardless of whether or not he gets it, he’s forfeited a career where honesty and integrity are foundational principles, or should be.
I qualify, “or should be” because we soft-hearted Americans can also be blind. Brian Williams is not a disease. He is a symptom. If there’s a disease in this story it’s NBC, the network that hired Chelsea Clinton for $600,000 to write for and host a journalistic magazine when she had zero journalistic experience. It’s a network that employs Al Sharpton, a professional conman who can barely read or speak the English language, having had every organization he ever started sued for tax fraud. A conman welcomed in the Obama White House 83 times and deemed by this President to be his “Civil Rights Adviser.”
No, Brian Williams is simply a symptom of a nation that has grown accustomed to and comfortable with shoddiness, corruption and a generalized lack of ethics. I stand by my statement that he should be terminated. But so should Chelsea Clinton, Al Sharpton and all the executives at NBC who continue to perpetuate this fraud.
BREAKING NEWS: A long as we take it they will continue to dish it out.