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You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Feb 13, 2015

bettyarensonIn mid-December 2014, the media buzzed with NBC’s renewal of Brian Williams’ contract for a minimum of 5 years and “at least” $10 million per year.

Williams was crowned the Golden Boy of the News, overcoming the ABC and CBS competition. He was also named managing editor of “The NBC Nightly News,” which ceded to him full control of his show’s content.

Now sunlight is on Williams and NBC with scandals dubbed “The Chopper Whopper” and “Choppergate” presented by “Lyin’ Brian.”

Deborah Turness, president of NBC News, had promoted Williams’ new deal by saying:

* “Brian is one of the most trusted journalists of our time. He has led this organization through every major news event for the last decade, from Hurricane Katrina in his first year in the anchor chair to his exclusive interview with Edward Snowden this year, through elections, wars, natural disasters, tragedies and triumphs.”

* “In all of those cases he’s taken ‘Nightly News’ viewers to the heart of the stories that matter most in a way that’s uniquely his.”

Ironically, that certainly came to light.

CNN Money quoted Turness’ internal memo, stating:

* “Please join me in congratulating Brian and in looking forward to a shared future together.”

* “In this changing news and media environment, that special trust in Brian is more important than ever, and therefore wherever Brian is, the audience follows.”

Williams succeeded Tom Brokaw in December 2004 and has enjoyed great success. Parts of the triumphs were NBC being awarded a Peabody Award for coverage on Hurricane Katrina with a lauding statement that the NBC Nightly News team had “exemplified the highest levels of journalistic excellence in reporting on Hurricane Katrina.” The same show also garnered the George Polk Award and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia-Columbia University Award for the same event.

These are not recognitions from paltry sources.

The DuPont-Columbia University Award is described as “dedicated to upholding the highest journalism standards.”  The Peabody Award “recognizes distinguished and meritorious public service by American radio and television stations, online media, producing organizations and individuals.”  In kind, the George Polk Awards are described as “prestigious.” A PBS website published an opinion from one Idea Lab writer saying the Polk Award is “one of only a couple of journalism prizes that means anything.”

Two months ago, Variety reported that Williams also had been considered for multiple slots such as hosting the “Jeopardy” game show, or maybe as a late-night show host.  Apparently Williams has a penchant for comedy, as he makes frequent showings on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” participating in “Slow Jammin’ The News,” as well as “The Late Show with David Letterman.” LBN reported this week that Williams likewise “lobbied” to host “The Tonight Show” after Jay Leno’s departure.

All of this being said, the viewing public should be angry about this whole scenario. Not just because a man with so much notoriety as the cream of the crop tried to fill some hole within himself with a bunch of lies, but because NBC had his number, yet let it all roll because he was their cash cow.

News reports from the lips of Brian Williams have gone into millions of homes, millions of times and have been heard by millions of people.  NBC knew of Williams’ penchants for exaggerating (at best), and at worst, lying. NBC did nothing about erroneous news reports that framed many stories in the minds of listeners – all in the name of revenue.

This week, LBN told that both Tom Brokaw and Steve Capus, former NBC News President, warned Williams “years ago” to “be careful” with his story about Iraq. That certainly indicates pretty direct knowledge by NBC’s “powers that be.”

Now, to save face, NBC claims Williams is on a six-month leave without pay.  Perhaps NBC hopes he’ll be off-camera and the public will just move on.

Williams wasn’t shot at in a helicopter or anywhere else; he wasn’t in a helicopter 1,500 feet above an enemy aircraft that could have shot him down in a moment; he wasn’t attacked by a gang in New Orleans hotel; and he didn’t see a dead body floating by him in Katrina waters, as exposed by a New Orleans health official.

These are not embellishments.  These are stretches that crossed the line to manufactured lies, loud and clear.

NBC, for its complicity, is as guilty as Brian Williams.  The network executives have never apologized to the audience for the lies – for the intentionally falsified, counterfeit misreporting the network facilitated.  Remember, NBC doctored the audio tape of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman incident that led audiences to believe Zimmerman said things he actually did not.  That malicious act fueled the fires of racism.

NBC speaks only of gaining “back the trust.” That’s code for viewers and dollars.

On a lighter side, we have learned a new word: “misremembered.”

Perhaps NBC is the real “Faux News.”

 

Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety.

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5 Comments

  1. Am I the only one not completely knocked over by the fact that the mainstream media is being outed as puffery?

  2. You are extremely late to the party.

  3. Scott Ervin Scott Ervin says:

    What utter bollox. Faux outrage from conservatives who probably lap up the daily dose of half truths and outright lies from the foxes on FOX. Take a deep breath and try to find something worthwhile to opine on.

  4. Scott Ervin Scott Ervin says:

    What utter bollox. Faux outrage from conservatives who probably lap up the daily dose of half truths and outright lies from the foxes on FOX. Take a deep breath and try to find something worthwhile to opine on.

  5. Rob Parker Rob Parker says:

    Yeah Scott, because liberals are committed to their truthful media sources, like Al Sharpton and MSNBC

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