Stick with me on this. There's a common link between the Anthony Weiner scandal and the Brian Williams scandal. The circumstances are very different, and thank goodness Williams didn't accidentally tweet photos of the RPG in his pants. What's more infuriating than their respective episodes of derp is their stupidity and recklessness. Weiner moronically thought he could send photos of his penis to a virtual stranger on the internet and not get caught. The minute he clicked the send button, he was already doomed. He also didn't realize (or didn't care) how badly this would look for the Democratic Party. Throw John Edwards into the mix, too.
Likewise, Brian Williams failed to grasp that by lying about this, and apparently other anecdotes from the perch of what ought to be an unimpeachable anchor chair, he would potentially toss the entire "liberal media" under the conservative entertainment bus, ripping a giant opening in the space-time continuum and allowing every far-right crank to exploit it as an example of how the lamestream media is populated by lying liars. If your ass is at top of the heap -- the anchor of NBC Nightly News, watched by around nine million viewers every night -- you had better keep your house clean because if you go down for lying, you've killed yourself and inflicted a ton of collateral damage.
Knowing this, and he had to have known it, Brian Williams blurted out this white lie about Iraq anyway and, according to sources, a series of other lies that NBC is currently investigating. His stupidity and hubris alone are his biggest trespasses in my view. It doesn't matter that it was a personal anecdote rather than an actual news story about characters unrelated to his life -- he said it on the news. He told his tall tale multiple times in public, and that's all it takes for the piranha to swarm.
For example, two people with ethically questionable pasts, Sarah Palin and Dinesh D'Souza have piled on in spite of their own lengthy records of mendacity. Palin wrote on Facebook:
Don't be lulled into thinking this is only an NBC problem. It's all the major networks. Look, for example, at the outrageous media bias at CNN at the same time Williams was making up stories about his “war valor.”
And D'Souza, who somehow appears to not be in prison, had the gonads to call Williams "another liberal con man whose con is finally up."
I mean, these are guys who have been massaging and manipulating facts for a long time. Finally Brian Williams has got sort-of trapped.
So says the producer of the agitprop film 2016: Obama's America, which is filled with crap he made up.
The other repercussion of the Williams scandal is that it steals the lying-sack-of-shit spotlight away from Fox News Channel. Just a few days ago, the nonpartisan analysts at Politifact determined that Fox News Channel host are wrong almost all the time. Out of all Fox News statements covered by Politifact, the network was ranked "Mostly False," "False" or "Pants on Fire" 60 percent of the time. Comparatively, NBC/MSNBC was wrong 44 percent of the time, and CNN at 22 percent. I should note in MSNBC's defense, its fact-checked items included statements by conservative guests Dick Cheney, Carly Fiorina and Dana Loesch.
Here are just a few of Fox News Channel's lies:
--John Stossel: "There is no good data showing secondhand smoke kills people."FALSE
--Bill O'Reilly: "In 2012, 123 African-Americans were shot dead by police. ... Same year, 326 whites were killed by police."MOSTLY FALSE
--Steve Doocy: "NASA scientists fudged the numbers to make 1998 the hottest year to overstate the extent of global warming."PANTS ON FIRE
--Jeanine Pirro: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was "released by Obama in 2009."FALSE
--Dana Perino: "The insurance industry is actually run by mostly Democrats."FALSE
All of these instances and more are generally overlooked, especially by Fox News Channel which hasn't suspended or fired anyone for repeatedly lying to the public. In fact, Fox News encourages its hosts to distort the facts in pursuit of its political agenda. Again, they've been methodically proven to have lied 60 percent of the time, and that's based solely on the statements Politifact decided to isolate. How many more are there? How many other Brian Williams-caliber lies are delivered by Fox News Channel every day?
By the way, this isn't meant to exonerate Williams. It's simply to suggest that Fox News is the last place that's allowed to wag a finger at anyone else for lying. I mean, if we're busily flogging TV news people for making shit up, let's really do it. Don't stop at Brian Williams. When will O'Reilly take a leave of absence while NewsCorp conducts an internal investigation? What about Doocy? Or Eric Bolling? (I know, I know. Silly.) Short of that, the other anchors and hosts who are acting holier-than-thou and scolding Brian Williams need to shut up and open their records for public scrutiny.
But that's never going to happen. We don't live in a universe where that'd ever be possible. We don't have the attention span for it. Brian Williams stupidly brought this upon himself knowing how his opponents might react, and in that sense he deserves what's coming. However, when we stop talking about Brian Williams in a week or so, it'd be great if could spin the Klieg lights back around to Fox News because there's a new Brian Williams incident happening there every damn day.