Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Brian Williams thing

Brian Williams has announced that he is taking a leave of absence due to the pseudo-controversy over his silly helicopter fantasia. Right now, this nonsensical "scandal" is all that the right -- and much of the left and center -- can talk about. While the general topic of memory and its failings is indeed fascinating, I just don't see the importance of this particular brouhaha.

The problem may be one of nomenclature. In America, someone holding Williams' job is called a news anchor or a journalist or a newsman/newsperson. In the UK, he would -- more accurately -- be called a news reader.

Williams' job is to look into a camera and read aloud words on a teleprompter -- words usually written by someone else -- without making mistakes and without saying "uh" (as normal human beings are wont to do). He is supposed to look well-groomed and confident as he does this task. And that is it. From time to time, a news reader may be asked to travel to a location where news is breaking, but that change in locale is just a gimmick, a theatrical exercise designed to give viewers the impression that the news reader is an actual journalist.

As long as Brian Williams and his fellow news readers manage to recite what they are given to recite without saying "uh" and without stumbling over hard-to-pronounce names, we have no reason to care about any other aspect of their lives. If Williams were to tell the world that he once danced with the pookas aboard a flying saucer, what would it matter? His job is to read words on a teleprompter. That is it.


Anonymous said...

I guess the MSD don't consider their promoting the wmd lie during the same time a big deal. I am quite sure that those people have no moral compass whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

If his job is just to be a hair model in the studio, then his pretense at being a war correspondent under fire is all the more egregious--especially when you consider all the real journalists who lose their lives every year.

Anonymous said...

The whole war was a result of a lie. The msm helped the liars, now they suddenly grow a conscious? So what is the real reason for all that

paul rise said...

Joseph your take on their relevance is correct but our society holds them in a different place. Rightly or wrongly they are considered journalists of record by the masses. Williams will ultimately be forced out by the studio executives. I have mixed feelings about it but I guess in the end they should be held to a standard similar to a reputable print journalist. I would on the whole prefer to see higher standards for broadcast journalism, not lower ones.