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EDITORIAL — We’re all just bloggers now

Brian Williams. (YouTube screenshot)

Brian Williams. (YouTube screenshot)

EDITORIAL — Everybody’s missing the point about Brian Williams.

NBC’s anchor began a six-month suspension without pay this week for fudging the truth. Williams has said for years the helicopter he was riding in got hit with small arms and rocket-grenade fire during the Iraq war.

Turns out it didn’t. He got caught. So, he has been suspended.

He should be fired. That’s the harsh truth. Journalists live by their honesty; without it, they have no credibility. It’s impossible to imagine Williams ever returning to television  because his credibility is gone.

But here’s the real problem. Williams, by virtue of his previous stature and now his fall from grace, has taken the mainstream news business down a notch. Until now, the thing that set mainstream media apart from amateur bloggers and fake news shows like Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show is that the mainstream was real.

Mainstream journalists have always lived on their believability. Even if they don’t write the stories they read, TV anchors are supposed to be able to back them up. We trust them. Williams has tarnished that trust. He’s made it harder for them to distinguish themselves from the pretenders.

Stewart, who has announced he’ll be leaving his fake news show sometime in the next few months, is honest about the fact he makes things up. Many bloggers, on the other hand, would like to be serious but don’t have the resources of a major network or other news outlet to back them.

We’ve been used to getting the news fast, thanks to Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere, but we’ve relied on the networks and other traditional media to confirm the truth for us. Whether you work for a big television network or a small-town community newspaper, integrity isn’t just important, it’s everything.

Traditional, mainstream journalism is in trouble already. Daily newspapers are folding, weeklies are taking a beating, radio and TV are fighting against mobile news apps. The one thing they’ve clung to is their credibility, thoroughness, and the trust we place in them.

Thanks to Williams, a degree of that trust is gone. The distance between the mainstream media and the rest has been severely diminished.

 

About Mel Rothenburger (8666 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL — We’re all just bloggers now

  1. Walter Trkla // February 13, 2015 at 9:42 AM // Reply

    Let me just say how we report things about Harper and his support for the new Kiev regime which came to power through an overthrow of a democratically elected government. This overthrown government, bad or not, was an elected government, was taken over by racists, anti Russians, fascists or Nazis who hate Russian. These Nazis are ethnically cleansing Russians from the Eastern provinces, they are shelling and killing civilians, destroying their schools and hospitals on the daily basis. These arte war crimes and Harper knows this and so does every editor unless he/she is comatose. This is taking place in a region that voted 90% for the president that was ousted by Nazis who killed police officers and burned people alive in Odessa. There are three Military formations , the Azov Battalion, Svoboda and the Right Sector’ These groups proudly displays the Wolfsangel symbols – a motif used by several SS groups in Nazi Germany and the Bandera Nazis of WWII that were responsible for the death over a million Jews, Red Army soldiers and Russian civilians. These groups are militias whose fighters ultimately report to the Ukrainian government, and leading members have been promoted to positions in the police force by cabinet ministers. Their leaders hold important cabinet posts in the present government in Kiev which claims legitimacy even though one third of the country did not vote. Virtually no Canadian or U.S. ‘news’ medium has reported that the actual person whom NATO–Obama with Harper’s help placed in control of Ukraine is a longstanding leader of Ukraine’s “Nazis. And that is the way it is” because we say so not because it is.

  2. Pierre Filisetti // February 13, 2015 at 7:19 AM // Reply

    “…but we’ve relied on the networks and other traditional media to confirm the truth for us…” That is one dishonest and basically nonsensical little piece of writing. Intellectually insulting.

    • Mel Rothenburger // February 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM // Reply

      It’s reality. As social media have usurped the mainstream traditional media’s immediacy, mainstream media’s most relevant role has become the provision of depth, background and fact checking. When mainstream media try to be too fast off the mark, they’re as prone to error as the social media, but their much greater resources give them the ability to give us accuracy when they take the time to work at it.

  3. J. Brian Stainton // February 12, 2015 at 5:40 AM // Reply

    Yes Mel – right on. That part of our human being sometimes referred to as the ego is a lot like water. It is quiet. If it can seep unexpectedly into your life, it will. It is terribly destructive, especially when it has encouraged you and cheered you on quietly to “stand up and be noticed” and then publicly chops you down. An internal attack, defying logic. Ouch. How many of us take the time to sort ourselves out and really understand our inner workings – and especially our ego? Certainly worth the time. This Brian Williams story provides an excellent example. Sadly, if not really mindful, it could happen to any one of us vulnerable humans.

    • Walter Trkla // February 13, 2015 at 9:06 AM // Reply

      Brian Williams did not lie . Remember Walter Cronkite’s sign off “And that’s the way it is?” Well it was never like what he reported . It was scripted and made up. As for Brian Williams his handlers made this up for effect, to give the anchor more validity where validity did not exist. .

      Ninety Nine percent of Corporate Media Journalists are Brian Williams. Journalists rape whole nations with lies and when that is not enough they kill their society with propaganda and distortion. Walter Cronkite’s departing catchphrase “And that’s the way it is” constantly deceived listeners. CNN, CTV, and even CBC parrots Obama as well as the EU on Putin, oil, Ukraine, Middle East and a swath of other conflicts with fake information and outright monopoly of lies. The Media has lost its sense of social justice. Most journalists are ignorant about history, economics and politics so they make things up. If journalists told the truth thousands of men women and children around the world would not be refugees, and most of those who died in wars would be alive, but the journalists who told the truth would be without a job. Journalist represent “Neoliberalism a murderous plague where paid operatives flog government policy. It is invading at brushfire speed the entire western world. What makes it even more diabolical is that it controls almost all the western media. Ninety percent of the news we get in the West are controlled by six giant Anglo-Saxon media corporations. They dish out every day nefarious propaganda – lies after lies after ugly lies. They brainwash people into believing what is not. “

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