Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Suspension of Brian Williams

Little did Lester Holt know when I worked with him over twenty five years ago at WCBS-TV in New York that he would be elevated to the figurehead of NBC News.

I’m sure he’d not wish it this way, but when actions and events collide and change the everyday dynamic, people are moved, nudged, elevated or thrust into positions they hardly ever thought about days or weeks before.

I personal think NBC’s suspension of Brian Williams is ill advised, but corporate speak is different from what may be right and just. Brian Williams is a good and decent man. He is a fine journalist in the collective of his career responsibilities. He made a major mistake and he alone lives with the consequence. Whether he returns to lead NBC news remains to be seen.

The military shot him down because of his false and inappropriate claims of battle experiences. It was right to do so. The sacredness of battle experiences whether they are held within the mind or publically shared must be upheld.

But it was not the military that administered the “Coup De Gras,” public vilification and suspension for six months. It was the self-righteous pundits of journalism who slammed, niggled, carped and attacked Brian forsaking his many sound accomplishments. 

It is also the corporate agglutinations that see dollars vanishing and are willing to light the pyre of sacrifice to save the profit margin.

If the corporate conglomerate really gave a hang about journalism they would demand their reportorial minions hold governmental feet and statements to the fire of truth and consequence.

A friend of mine said that the late CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, who was once the most trusted man in America, might not work in today’s market. I said he would work in today’s journalism if journalism were taken out of the “market” arena. When “news” became a major moneymaker for the corporate entity, the journalism that speaks reason to power waned and ethical responsibility to truth moved to a few.

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