VOTE: Can you believe NBC’s Brian Williams reporting now?
The late Walter Cronkite was the “most trusted man in America;” and as anchor of the CBS Evening News, you knew you were going to get the news straight – with no embellishment.
Not so with the "most watched newsman in America" today – NBC’s Brian Williams.
In what he terms a “bungled attempt” to report having been on a helicopter shot down in Iraq in 2003 – he was reminded big time on social media that his report was false.
He had reported last Friday that soldiers rescued his crew after their helicopter was hit by what was called an RPG, mentioning this as part of a tribute to the soldier who allegedly saved their lives.
The soldier was thanked by Williams both on the air and at a Rangers game where the Jumbotron displayed their picture and the announcer retold the story of the rescue.
But hold on there.
According to the newsletter “Stars and Stripes;” Williams’ account was untrue. Testimony from soldiers there stated that Williams was in a helicopter behind the one shot at.
Hence the apology on the news last night.
Why is all this important?
Well, for one, it casts doubt on anything Williams reports – and the pillorying he’s taking on social media.
It has to do with the closing of Mater Dei Prep in Middetown and the reaction of one of its most prestigious alumni.
Yes, it’s the same Brian Williams, who said the following:
"I first read about Mater Dei's closing on Tuesday evening, via APP.com. I am heartbroken.” "It was the heart of my existence during my four happy years there, and it remains a presence in my life. I have friends who work there, and classmates who have since sent their own children to Mater Dei. My high school diploma from the Mater Dei class of '77 is the last degree I earned."
"This news arrived with no warning -- no attempt at fund-raising by the Diocese, no indication that Mater Dei's financial problems were fatal. I will be highly interested in any attempt to save this great Monmouth County institution."
Sure you are – assuming you did go to Mater Dei like you said you did. Or did you really go to Middletown South?
Kidding of course – but this is the tenor of joke he’s being subjected to that truly compromises the credibility of those in whom we trust to accurately report the news. Much like his coworker, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who reportedly was supposed to be in quarantine after having visited the Ebola hot zone in West Africa, only to be spotted at a Hopewell restaurant ordering lunch.
Moreover, it was the undoing of Uncle Walter’s successor, Dan Rather, regarding a story meant to smear President George W. Bush, based on forged documents, that were almost immediately revealed as such.
Then came the Rather apology – and the end of Rather’s career.
For sure, the revelations of Williams’ “mistake” might not rise to that of Rather’s – but it’s a huge mistake nonetheless – and makes the “most watched newsman” a punch line worthy of an SNL skit.