Brian Williams and the Loss of Integrity


I am not usually one to jump on the bandwagon, and I have purposely waited a week for some of the dust up to die down regarding the dare I say lies, which NBC Newsman Brian Williams spoke.  I use the word lies because that is what they were.  I do not know Mr. Williams, so I have no idea if it was intentional, but this clearly speaks to his integrity.

Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”  It is the beginning and ending of one’s moral life and when everything else is stripped away all we are left with is our integrity.  When any news person sits in the anchor chair or reports on a story, we the viewer has no choice but to believe what they are reporting as being the truth.  We allow them into our lives to bring us the facts, well at least it used to be the facts not it is their opinion of the facts.

There is a certain amount of trust that is developed if one is to have any shred of credibility in leadership.  People will follow you through anything if they believe and trust you and know that you will not lie to them.  But betray that trust and it is game over.  Morality in America has shifted, especially with the news media, to a point that it is hard to recognize what is fact and what is fiction.

News used to be just that, news.  Now it is entertainment that is not so much concerned with journalistic ethics and outstanding reporting, but being first to bring you a story whether the facts are correct or not.  If they get it wrong, they just apologize and move on.  The blame for all of this can be shared by both the so-called “left” and the so-called “right” media outlets.  It has become “newsertainment” and it is all about telling you what is wrong and who is to blame for it.

Making mistakes are part of being human, and perhaps he is correct that the confusion of the time made him put several stories into one, but I find it hard that attempt at justification hard to believe.  I have never been involved in a crash of a helicopter I have been involved in auto accidents and close calls on airliners, and I remember each of them as if they happened yesterday.  In fact, the airline close calls contribute to my paralyzing fear of flying today.

It seems all the rage in American public life today to say whatever you want and when you get caught, apologize and simply move on.  As if saying sorry gives us cart blanch to say wherever we want.  He only apologized after he was outed by soldiers who had an idea that the facts of the story did not add up and took on some research.  It also appears that his reports of “bodies floating down the street of the French Quarter” were also fabricated.  Integrity is everything!

In the end, I believe Mr. Williams has done the right thing is stepping away.  I further believe that if NBC puts him back on the air it will be a mistake he is tainted now and has zero credibilities and every word out of his mouth will be questionable.  We hold certain professions to a high standard, and we feel violated when things like this happen.  It is good that Mr. Williams has recognized this fact I only hope that he is never allowed to appear on air again.

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