As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, NBC News anchor Brian Williams — a real journalist — finally admitted he has been lying about coming under RPG fire in Iraq in 2003. Fed-up troops called him out, but even after being forced to ‘fess up, he still clung to lies and “misremembrance.”
I am reminded of what this arrogant fabulist once said about us lowly bloggers in 2007 during a lecture at NYU’s journalism school:
After years of experience in the news business, Williams said he has developed his own “strong BS meter” — he can watch the local news in any city in this country and tell you which anchors went out to dinner that night instead of staying and writing between the 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news. Williams also said he can tell which anchors write their own copy and who’s just reading whatever pops up on the teleprompter. On The Nightly News, Williams reviews every word of the copy before it goes on the teleprompter. “Any time I’ve kicked a word, it’s because I’ve never seen it before,” Williams said.
The Nightly News attracts between 10 and 11 million viewers each night. But the playing field for prime-time nightly news is in constant motion, with NBC, CBS, and ABC jockeying for the top slot in the ratings game. The tremendous growth of online media — especially blogs — in recent years has altered the face of journalism.
“You’re going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe,” said Williams. “All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years.”
He added that it’s often difficult to judge the credibility of a blogger. “On the Internet, no one knows if you’ve been to Ramadi or you’ve just been to Brooklyn and have an opinion about Ramadi,” said Williams.
And if you work at NBC News, you can get away with bloviating a bullshit story about coming under fire for 12 years while America’s real heroes took bullets for you. And then, because you’re a Real Journalist, you can keep lying about it while using soldiers as your alibi.
Because Real Journalism.
Excuse me while I throw up all over my modem and bathrobe.