If you could be a news anchor for a day, who wouldn’t you be? Why?
Brian Williams has been in the news for hyping what was already a good story. Why did he have to lie about his experience in in Iraq? He is good at his job, and already had shown bravery in 2003 for reporting amidst the life threatening conditions — including going up in a Chinook helicopter.
Said Williams, “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago. I want to apologize.” His rationale: “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.” Even when the helicopters were not close to on another, not in the same line of fire? Hmmm. I think my recollections, particularly if I were in the aircraft that was forced down after an RPG attack, would have been very clear in my mind.
Lance Reynolds, veteran who was the flight engineer on the Chinook that was hit by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire said: “It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I’ve known how lucky I was to survive it. It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.” speaking of Williams’ lie or the reason for it, perhaps. Reynolds was the one who “outed” Williams recently when the the newscaster again gave his recounting of events.
The most frequent lies people tell are to make them feel better about themselves, to inflate their ego, or appear better, smarter, braver or more successful than they are. Sometimes it’s not so much to impress others as it is to maintain a view of ourselves closer to how we would like to be.
The next biggest reason for lying is to ease sticky situations, to avoid confrontation, to be “nice” rather that state a truth which may cause conflict. Well, Williams’ lie put him in a sticky situation, as lies often do in the end, and it’s amazing that it took 12 years for it to catch up with him.
So, why did he lie, especially when he knew there were soldiers out there who knew the truth and really had put their lives on the in harm’s way? I discount misremembering; this was event was too significant not to be etched in his brain in detail and living color, especially if he had been on the stricken aircraft.
I suspect one of two other reasons: envy or guilt. He wanted to be as brave as those men he was observing, to be in the thick of it and survive, to feel the rush of wonder at still being alive after a dangerous mission. Or it could be guilt: he was with soldiers who were actually fighting and dying, and he wasn’t — he was getting paid millions a year to write about what was happening, they were getting paid a pittance to do the actual business of war.
He’d grown up in a well-to-do household, gone to private (Catholic) school, attended two fine universities without graduating, and still got jobs that led to where he sits today, and that includes producer of his own show. Would he have been as lenient with others telling a fabricated story?
In any case, I sincerely doubt the foggy memory excuse. Williams was forced to recant and apologize, and still wasn’t able to tell the whole truth; maybe he doesn’t understand the whole truth — what made him to it. The mind is a wonderland as well as a maze. Nevertheless, all the public know is that he lied, and his credibility may not survive that knowledge.