February 11, 2015 5:56 AM

Lying has consequences...unless you're a Republican trying to convince Americans to go to war

As Brian Williams is likely to be stepping down later this year, television’s most trusted news anchor, Jon Stewart, will be stepping in. This news has been confirmed by Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show. America knows and loves him, and cannot wait for him to begin his new adventure of delivering honest news to a broader market. In what can only be seen as a rite of passage for Stewart, he’ll be filling some big shoes, but shoes he’s prepared to fill, with honest reporting and integrity. Stewart is said to be excited for his career move and is looking forward to an exciting future at NBC. NBC released the following statement regarding their choice of Stewart: “He’s America’s most trusted news anchor, and quite frankly, we could use that about now.”

Sure, the quote above is satirical, but it’s also indicative of the current state of American journalism. When Brian Williams, the last great journalistic icon, a paragon of integrity and sobriety in an anchor’s chair for 22 years, is revealed to be a liar and a hypocrite, turning to America’s most trusted newsperson makes a lot of sense.

It’s too bad, really- especially when you consider that Williams is the first person to be held accountable for lying about the war in Iraq. Those responsible for lying their way into the way (and sending almost 5000 young Americans home in flag-draped boxes) have thus far evaded consequences, but Williams has been suspended for six months without pay for lying about his experience in the war. As someone who’s been in the Army (though I never came close to seeing combat), I recognize that one of the worst things someone- military or civilian- can do is to lie and puff up their experience to make it look as if they came under enemy fire. Williams crossed that line in 2003- and repeatedly over the intervening 12 years- until it finally caught up with him. He could have corrected the error early on and probably escaped with little if any consequence. Instead, he stuck with the story, even though on some level he had to know it would eventually catch up with him.

A very wise man once told me that if you tell the truth you’ll never have to worry about keeping your story straight. Why Williams felt it necessary to ignore that truth defies rational understanding. Now someone previously known for integrity and probity has become the butt of jokes by late night comedians. Trust, once abused, is tough to rebuild and restore. Whether Williams will ever be able to do that- or will ever be given the chance- is difficult to say.

And those who lied their way into a war in Iraq continue to walk the Earth as free men and women, safe in the assurance that they will likely never be called to account. As a very wise man once told me, steal thousands and be prepared to do time; still millions and you’ll be called “CEO.”

Meanwhile, Brian Williams is getting roasted. Not that he doesn’t deserve it, of course, but demanding he be held accountable while those actually responsible for the war wander through life free of consequences seems nothing if not hypocritical. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Fox News Channel.)

Of course, all Williams had to do was tell the truth. He never would’ve had to worry about keeping his story straight, and he’d still be America’s best journalistic example of integrity and honesty. Now I find myself wondering is there’s anyone in public life that can be trusted.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on February 11, 2015 5:56 AM.

The anti-vaccine movement: Who needs facts when you have fear and conviction on your side? was the previous entry in this blog.

I dream of a world in which carbohydrates are diet food is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Contact Me

Powered by Movable Type 6.0.2