It seems quite unlikely that Brian Williams will be able to continue news in the current environment. As we now have come to learn, Williams is taking a leave of absence from the NBC NEWS job, writing this:
In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.
"As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us."
His statement sounded complex.. It's difficult to figure out if he's done for good or just hoping some of the feeding frenzy lessens.
I don't think it will..
People following Williams on Twitter already know that his entire Twitter feed vanished early on think 'my helicopter took fire' scandal.. Even further, Williams became associated with interesting comments about watching bodies float by him after Katrina--trouble was, he wasn't in a place of New Orleans where that was happening. He also said he got sick from drinking flood waters.. But it does not appear other surrounding him recall that vividly..
I ponder to myself if Williams just wants to fantasize about these tall tales as a way of giving himself more street cred? Drum up the news and include himself in there so he seems more trustworthy. Get into the action, and if the action doesn't find you, just pretend it did.
Any return to the news, this age, won't work.. You don't have to look too far in the past to realize how truth often begins to slowly leak out and then sooner or later floodgates are broken. And the levees fail. In Williams' case, even with NBC NEWS deleting his entire online history, there's enough history in other places. Bill Cosby wanted to be 'memed' online. Instead he was maimed and his life turned upside down when this generation found out that the previous generation ignored rape claims for various women.
People will scour through every bit of public record for other flaws in Williams' character. And when that starts to happen, undoubtedly even the cleanest person will become tarnished with some mistruth and consequence..
This is a lesson: Be honest. Be good. Be real.
People love real. And quite frankly, I think human beings are becoming a little better adapted at figuring out who is real and who isn't..
Except on this one. Brian Williams had me fooled..
Did he commit a crime? No. Did he do something unforgivable? Not really. But did he include himself and brag about things that never occurred? Yes. And in doing so, he may very well have destroyed his career..