A Journalistic View of the Importance of Truth

This is what too many journalists are saying about NBC’s Brian Williams’ lie about being on a helicopter in Iraq that was forced to land after being hit by an RPG. They’re making these statements, too, while eliding Williams’ subsequently discovered lies concerning his…reporting…in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and in Israel, before that, during Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah. First up is Howard Kurtz, author of the piece from which the rest of the quotes below are taken:

What’s been striking to me is how many people are willing to end what has been a pretty solid career because of this one admittedly horrible mistake.

That’s because the career should end. The man has destroyed his credibility with his lie—a deliberate act, not a “mistake.”

Alan Colmes, as cited by Kurtz:

[I]t was “sad” to see this mistake “destroy a man and destroy his career.

No. Whether all of this destroys Brian Williams is up to Williams alone, what he chooses to learn from this, what he chooses to do about it. Whether it destroys Williams’ journalist career, it certainly should. He lied. At least three times.

Dan Abrams:

I am troubled by the fervor, occasional glee, and potentially disproportionate fury…. This alliance of certain capital-J journalists, conservative bloggers, and some who simply despise any rich and famous journalist are a formidable force.

No journalistic distortion there. Nope.

Joe Scarborough:

…the decision is made to judge what Brian Williams’ future should be, that that decision will be based on the entirety of his career and not on one or two or three mistakes.

Mistakes. I’m detecting a theme here. When a journalist lies, that’s just a mistake. No big deal. Nothing to see here.

Scarborough again:

If he exaggerated, if he puffed his chest out a little bit—news people do that.

Lies are just puffery. And since all news people do it, it’s OK. That Left morality, again: an act’s legitimacy comes from whether or not somebody else did it, or does it, too. Morality is not at all inherent in the act.

How can anyone ever believe what a liar says? Kurtz and his fellows apparently have chosen not to answer that one.

2 thoughts on “A Journalistic View of the Importance of Truth

  1. And now CNN has commissioned a survey that says 52% of the ‘American People”, based on 1087 interviews, say Brian Williams should be back on the air.

    But they don’t provide a link to the survey questions, nor the questions picked to make the determination, nor the questions they threw out as ‘non-representative’, nor their weighting scheme they used to ‘normalize’ the results.

    If a non-famous ‘journalist’ makes a mistake, makes up facts, and out right lies they tend to have a DEAD career.
    But when one of the ‘elites’ does the same thing – all should be forgiven.

    • They also don’t appear to have identified the parameters defining their sample of 1087. Land line telephone callees? Cell phone? Door to door (what time of day)? Internet survey offer? Basic stuff.

      But when one of the ‘elites’ does the same thing – all should be forgiven.

      Nah. They’re elite. There’s nothing to forgive.

      Eric Hines

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