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.
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.
…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.
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.