Monday, February 9, 2015

Sometimes the Band Wagon is a Poor Ride

Poor Brian Williams.

Last week he got busted.  Stars and Stripes, the venerable military news source from within the Pentagon exposed him as a liar for saying a chopper on which he was a passenger took enemy fire…or something like that.

Now, years later his “embellishment” has come back to bite him.  Realizing he was caught, he quickly broadcast his form of an apology to the military.  I happened to be watching that night, and ignorant of the controversy (sometimes ignorance truly is bliss), I thought, “Not sure what you did, but at least you’ve come clean and said you’re sorry”.  And I naively thought that would be the end of that.

But was I ever wrong!

The next day if you Googled “Brian Williams” the story of his lie and apology lit up the search engine like Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving.  Then, doing what all true investigative reporters do, they began to dig for more dirt.  Was this his first lie?  And suddenly the stories multiplied exponentially.

Social media wasn’t about to be left behind on this one.  No, sir.  And the clever memes began to pop up, inserting Williams into photos with Lincoln, with the astronauts landing on the moon, and with him saying he told Frodo where the ring was hidden. 

It’s human nature.  The bad side of it, I guess, to kick a man when he’s down.  Even when his slip, his failure, his sin, has an effect on who? 

Two thoughts.  First, I’m no big Brian Williams fan to start with.  It’s not that I don’t like him.  I just would rather listen to another talking head try and convince me of the world’s current events and that they really happened.  He’s on a network that, shall we say, hasn’t the best reputation for solid journalism.  Ever watch Today?  It’s more soap opera than news. 

So, his make believe war story, while offensive to some in the military, hasn’t served to ruin my week.  Not even my day.  The guy told a lie.  He got caught.  Now he’s got egg on his face in front of millions.  OK.  But aren’t there more important issues facing America and the world right now than a journalist’s fantasy ride?  Get over it.  Let’s move on.  No harm, no foul other than his reputation as trustworthy.  Brian Williams’ lack of integrity hasn’t changed my life. 

Second, and more important is this: I’m a liar, too. 

Now, I try not to make a habit of telling falsehoods.  In fact, I try to be honest to a fault.  For me, dishonesty and a lack of integrity would jeopardize far too much. 

But innocent?  Not me.  I did tell my 4th grade teacher that it wasn’t me who spilled ink on a page in the World Book encyclopedia.  She knew I was lying.  I was the only kid in class with a fountain pen.  (Still can’t explain that one.)  I did tell my friend’s older brother that I didn’t know what happened to his pocketknife, when I had taken it off his dresser.

All that to say this: Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.  Yes, he should have known this was wrong.  It seems he has a problem.  But I say let’s forgive him and move on, with or without him on the tube.  I can’t help but raise my eyebrows that it is the media pouncing on Williams, like cannibals feeding on their own kind. 

I like the Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippian Church.  “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”  Isn’t it just time to change the channel?

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