A report tonight on the ongoing saga of Brian Williams reveals that NBC News discovered yet another embellishment of his, in the midst of its internal investigation into the many embellishments Williams made publicly.
According to The New York Times, the NBC inquiry found Williams exaggerated his experience covering events in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring in Egypt four years ago.
The Times does not have much detail on what NBC learned, but recounts how Williams told Jon Stewart, in the days after he covered the protests, he was right in Tahrir Square and “actually made eye contact with the man on the lead horse.” He told Stewart he witnessed the pro-government forces on horseback whipping and beating people.
Again, this isn’t nothing. Brian Williams had a very big chair with a very big microphone in front of it. But the stories we’ve heard about aren’t exaggerations on the facts of the story as they related to the story or anyone in it. They’re exaggerations on how fucking cool and badass Brian Williams is, and about all the crazy shit he’s seen, man. They’re basically a guy in a bar, telling war stories, only he’s on TV.
(How did this happen? Like did he forget he was on TV, like how people forget that everyone can see their Twitter feeds or get seduced into thinking Facebook or Tumblr is their diary?)
That’s not okay, but it’s not the UVA rape story. It’s not Judith Miller’s Iraq reporting. Nobody died. And more attention is being paid to these fabrications than the ones that did lead to deaths. To wars.
So we are arguing about who fucked up the color of the bunting on the runaway train. Yeah, let’s fire that guy, because he screwed up. But let’s also find out why the brakes failed and the cargo’s flying off and oh, up ahead, is that a hole? A big one? Well, shit. Guess we’re going straight in.
All lies are lies and all lies on this scale are wrong and should be rooted out. But not all lies lead to the same place.