In 2006 at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, Stephen Colbert (Or Papa Bear as I affectionately call him) said the following quote about American journalists and their sycophantic relationship with President George W. Bush and his administration.
“The President makes decisions. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. The one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration, you know fiction!”
Now, in a lot of countries, a comedian couldn’t say this about the press. In most nations on earth, brave reporters risk their careers and occasionally lives to expose the misdeeds of those who roam the corridors of power. American T.V. journalists used to be that good.
Not so much anymore though. These days, the small screen is solely occupied by what I like to call the “Media Personality”. You know the type; they’re the person who would’ve sent a libelous tweet while working as a student reporter in their college years. They’re the kind of person who would fabricate a harrowing tale from a warzone and consistently retell and embellish the lie over the next decade. One of those people is N.B.C. employee Brian Williams. Recently, he admitted to lying about being shot at while riding in a helicopter during the early stages of the Iraq War. I honestly don’t know where to begin my criticism.
I guess I’ll start with the most glaringly obvious and sad fact concerning Brian and his lie, would you believe me if I said that members of the flight crew were calling him on his bullshit over 10 years ago? Well, they were. According to The New York Times, several soldiers attempted to get into contact with media outlets after Williams first began his lie in 2003, but disturbingly, they never received responses. Not a single call or even an email.
That is utterly soul crushing. During my time at College, one of the most important things I was told was that you should never turn away a potential source with a story to tell. Next to writing stories in proper AP Style, listening to the public is one of the most important hallmarks of a good reporter. Clearly, America had none during the early days of the Iraq fiasco. If I had to guess, they were more concerned about book deals and career moves.
Besides ignorance of the truth, I am utterly disgusted by those writers and publications that call Mr. Williams a newsman repeatedly in their reporting on this embarrassment. Look at the video embedded below. Would a serious journalist like Peter Jouvenal do something like that?
No, he wouldn’t That’s because the man is a real journalist and takes himself and his work seriously. Any man or woman who would appear on several episodes of a comedy show and in a sketch that “Slow Jams” the news is not a reporter. Maybe a media whore, but that’s about it. I’m glad this tool has stepped down from his job and I hope he is fired soon.
Category: Opinion WritingTags: 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, Brian Williams, Brian Williams Lying, Evan Pretzer, Iraq, Iraq 2003, Jimmy Fallon, Kenji Goto, Media Personality, Media Whore, Murrow, Murrow College, NBC News, Peter Jouvenal, President Bush, President Obama, Slow Jam the News, Stephen Colbert, The New York Times, White House