Brian Williams & The Temptation To Make Stuff Up

In the week since NBC anchor, Brian Williams made an on-air apology for falsely claiming that the helicopter he was in came under enemy fire in a case of what he called, “mis-remembering,” his reputation has plummeted from that of a respected journalist to becoming the subject of widespread lampooning across social media. At face value, it may appear to some that Williams has fallen victim to unfair criticism from a general public that loves to see media personalities fall from grace. Without a doubt, that’s part of it, but from a journalistic perspective, there’s something much more troubling at play.

At the heart of journalism is the story itself. A journalist, in turn, needs to be a good storyteller irrespective of whether that story is told on television, radio, the Internet or in print. A good journalist develops a skill at telling the story in a way that captivates the interest of the recipient. Essentially, a news anchor or field reporter best serves the public if he or she is successful at getting them to actually care about the story. If they care, they listen. If they listen, they are informed. Getting them to care is a bigger challenge than it may seem. To reach this goal, journalists often face the temptation to embellish the story a little in order to create drama, empathy or credibility. When they give in to this temptation, they sacrifice the most important element to the story they tell: the truth.

It happens at all levels of the craft. At the beginning of their careers, most journalists find themselves working at small time media outlets writing obituaries or community board meetings at the a coffee shop or public hall. These stories are far from interesting, but as a matter of public record, they are newsworthy nonetheless. Reporters begin to develop their story telling skills early on in order to make these basic news items interesting. This is why, in an obituary, the deceased is often called, “a loving father, or “beloved husband.” Remove these elements, and he’s nothing more than just some dead guy. Add elements to the obituary, and the writer risks deviating from the truth and sacrificing his or her journalistic integrity.

While the temptation is always there, the repercussions are greater the bigger or more important the story is. A news anchor with a national audience gains that position supposedly having developed his or her journalistic skills in such a way that the story is not only well told, but that the honesty of the story remains in tact. The public rightfully expects a national news anchor for a major network to be trustworthy. His apology notwithstanding, Brian Williams broke that element of trust even though he ultimately acknowledged the error of his ways.

To his credit, in addition to his apology, Brian Williams has removed himself from the anchor’s desk for a brief hiatus recognizing the damage his “mis-remembering” has done both to his reputation and to NBC. Will a few days out of the spotlight make everything all better? Hardly. The gravity of his journalistic blunder cannot be overlooked any more than can the disappointment felt by his fellow journalists who continually fight the temptation to which this highly respected network anchor succumbed. Will he survive this episode in his career? Perhaps, but only if it inspires him to approach his craft with a greater level of integrity than he has in the past.

 

By Jack Raplee

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  • 由全球生長因子與胜肽韓國廠商CAREGEN研發,利用美國專利「KP7-4胜肽技術」,獨特滲透配方提供高穩定、高滲透、高效能的胜髮環境,模擬人體生髮機制,目的使頭皮、毛囊恢復健康及作用活性,重啟生髮系統。DR CYJ髮胜肽療程的治療原理為 利用複合活性成分配方恢復毛髮平衡, 根據生態生物工程原理研發, 關鍵胜肽名為KP7-4,結合了七種專利胜肽, 實驗證明能有效模擬「人體胜髮因子」,掌握育髮四關鍵:毛囊強健、減緩異常落髮、強化髮根、供給毛囊血管營養,模擬毛髮循環機制,同時減緩異常落髮及強化髮根。DR.CYJ髮胜肽不含藥性且無副作用,能有效促進增髮

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