Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brian Williams: The most entertaining man in America

Atlanta GA, – The news business has changed since 55 year old Brian Williams got into it. The year he got in was the year Walter Cronkite got out.
Cronkite was known as the “Most trusted man in America.” He reported on everything from the Death of Kennedy to the landing of Apollo 11 to Watergate, and everyone believed that if he said it, it must be the truth.
But for the embattled Brian Williams, trust is something he is lacking right now. It started off in 2003, when NBC reported that Williams, not yet the anchor, had been in a helicopter squadron, one of which had been hit. But then, a decade later, on the David Letterman show, Brian Williams said that it was his helicopter that had been hit.
But at the time, nobody raised a hue and cry, until that is, a few days ago, when Williams thanked one of the men in the helicopter, again saying that his chopper had been hit with RPG fire.
Now the hue and cry began. First the newspaper Stars and Stripes reported, interviewing military men from the squadron, saying it was not Williams’ chopper that was hit, but another one. Williams apologized on air, but the pack journalism had begun.  Everybody was on Williams’ case. Soon, people were saying it was not even the squadron Williams’ was in that was hit. Soon after that, the soldiers themselves began to disagree on what exactly happened about twelve years ago.
But now everything Williams has ever said was under scrutiny, and people were as eager to dig up dirt on as they were to call “FOUL!!!” just a few weeks ago during “Deflate Gate.” And they found, or at least thought they found it. The news anchor has made mistakes in the last more than a decade, but now everyone wants to make sure everybody knows about every one of them.
From supposed lies when he covered Katrina, to confusions in Iraq and other stories, the shouting match has begun.
Williams has stepped down, temporarily, saying he does not want to be a distraction while NBC does an internal investigation. Last night, Nightly News aired without him.
Some are even speculating that Williams will resign, and if he does not, that he should be fired. I will say that I myself hope he is not. He has a certain dignity about him that many, even younger viewers find attractive, and the man did make a mistake, there is no evidence to suggest he purposely lied to anyone.
He has been at the top of the rating in viewers for a long time, and is the most popular of the three flagship chairs of CBS, NBC, and ABC. The controversy seems not to have hurt his reputation too much, either. According to YAHOOO! News, on the Nightly News Facebook page, there have been over a 1,000 comments posted, many of which say they will not watch Nightly News again until Williams returns. On Williams’ own Facebook page, it states that likes have gone up over 7% from last week. He now has over 120,000
Illustrating how much he is involved in pop culture can be seen that the interview in which Williams purportedly lied was with Letterman, a comedian.

Williams has an audience of over 9,000,000 a night.
Brian Williams on the Jimmy Fallon show
Yes, the news has changed since Williams got in, if such a scandal had enveloped Cronkite, he would probably already have been shipped off to Elba to live out his last days with a hoard of other actors, newsmen and politicians that have lied.
But in the modern 3 second news cycle, Williams’ job is to take the top news stories of the day and put them in an engaging format that we can understand and know what is going on the in the world without having to read four newspapers, two magazines and visit nineteen websites. He is a bit more like an informed friend reading the headlines to you than the voice of god.
I for one certainly hope he returns soon. He made a mistake, but so does everybody. If he does it again it will be time to think of shipping him off to a mountain top, but for now, the world is a darker and colder place without Brian Williams doing the news.

Andrew C. Abbott 

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