Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen. -George Orwell

Monday, February 9, 2015


National Review's Andrew Johnson and Radio America's Greg Corombos discuss current events. Today's topics: The continuing flap over Brian Williams's tall tales, Bob Woodward says the Obama White House micromanages without a strategy, and Congressional Dems may steer clear of Benjamin Netanyahu's speech.

Anchorman Lies His Head Off, And You Won't Believe What Happens Next!
That's according to Howard Kurtz, who writes, "Brian Williams does not face investigation, stepped aside voluntarily, source says":
The move on Saturday, developed in consultation with the NBC brass, was not a thinly disguised suspension. In fact, no one, including NBC News President Deborah Turness, suggested that Williams take time off, this person says.
What's more, according to the source, NBC is not conducting an internal investigation of its anchor, as has been widely reported. The network is engaging in journalistic fact-gathering so it can respond to questions about the crisis created by Williams' false story about having been in a helicopter in Iraq that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. That means there will be no report with a finding on his conduct, this person says.
At Big Journalism, John Nolte ponders what Williams cashing in his get-out-of-jail -free card with Letterman implies. As he asks, "Because this is all one big fat joke to Williams and NBC News, right?"
If you think about it, though, it does make perfect sense.
There have been numerous reports about how Williams, like no other news anchor before him, "fervently courted celebrity." And it now appears as though that is exactly how Williams sees himself — not as a news man and managing editor of the most-watched nightly news telecast on television; but as Hugh Grant —  a celebrity, a star — a guy who can run to a comedy show and HumbleCharm his way out of a career-ending scandal by taking some pre-scripted barbs from a comedian.
Reading a teleprompter for 20 minutes a night is only part of Brian Williams' celebrity job. The main part is yukking it up with David Letterman and Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon with slow jams, exaggerated "war hero" anecdotes, and digging-his-toe-in-the-dirt confessionals to get out of career jail.
At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple investigates another lie Williams told during his disastrous appearance on David Letterman's show in 2013:
Amid talk of the incoming fire, Williams supplied this detail: "Our captain took a Purple Heart injury to his ear in the cockpit."
The Purple Heart is a military decoration for those who are killed or wounded in combat. Chris Simeone, in a first-person piece in the New York Post, claims to have piloted the Chinook that transported Williams and his NBC News crew. Contrary to Williams's claims — in that Letterman appearance, among other venues — that his helicopter sustained "AK-47 and RPG" fire from the enemy on the ground, Simeone says the flight was "uneventful." That means no injuries, which also means … "I do not have a Purple Heart, and my ears are just fine," wrote Simeone in the New York Post.
Other members of the Chinook crew that allegedly transported Williams & Co. insist that the helicopter took absolutely no incoming fire. "No we were not shot at. We took NO enemy fire," Joseph Miller told the Omaha World-Herald.
As Nolte asks:
Is Brian Williams a news man, or not?
Is NBC News a news division, or not?
We've known the answer to that second question for nearly a decade now...
Also read:

The Brian Williams plan: Wait and hope

WaPo: Williams' Katrina tales starting to sound fishy, too

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