Williams just wanted to make the story better

February 10th, 2015 by Ken

Brian Williams – the head of NBC News and the anchor for its evening news program – is taking a few days off as penance for his story telling.

Back in 2002 Williams was flying in a flight of helicopters as a journalist covering the war in Iraq – – when one of the helicopters in his formation was hit by a rocket grenade.  All of the helicopters in the flight landed safely.

Years late – in telling his story – Williams said that he was in that helicopter that was hit by rocket fire.

The story was false and Williams knew it – -but it wasn’t until soldiers came forward to tell the truth that Williams apologized for his bad memory and misstatements.

But – it was too late.  The damage had already been done.  A respected newscaster was caught in a lie and his credibility would forever be in question.

Technically it was a lie – – but was it really?   Seems to me that it was just an exaggeration – – a chance for Williams to make himself seem a little braver than he really was.   It was a chance for him to identify with those who actually faced danger every day they were in Iraq.

His exaggeration really wasn’t needed.   Dozens of journalists have been killed or wounded covering the wars in the Middle East.   It’s a dangerous job and Williams should have been content with just being there and doing his job.

But – I can see how he got involved in the story telling – and how over the past 12 years has exaggerated his close call with the battlefield.

Journalists tell stories.  For many of us, exaggeration is just another way of making a good story better.  I’ve done it myself and will continue to do it.

But Williams should admit his failures, be contrite and do his best not to exaggerate again.

When he comes back to the anchor seat at NBC he just needs to be a little more cautious about telling stories.   Some stories don’t need embellishing.

Posted in Business, History, Informational, The Real News

(comments are closed).