By Michael Durbin
As journalists, we have a responsibility to publish and report the truth about what is going on around the world.
When a journalist fabricates a story for the purpose of raising public interest and furthering his own career, he becomes known as sensationalist.
Brian Williams, until recently a popular NBC anchor, did just that when he lied on national television.
Williams stated he was in a helicopter in Iraq when it was shot down in 2003.
He told of a forced landing, of “landing hard,” but surviving the ordeal, during the Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion.
It was all lies.
Since the story of his lies broke, Williams has tried to limit the damage done to his career by offering apologies and removing himself from his anchor chair in the NBC Evening News broadcast.
Williams joined NBC in 1993 and had become one of the most recognized news anchors in the business. One of his defining moments was his coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
He has been an anchor since 1981 and was well-respected by his peers.
All his good work and qualifications didn’t save him, however, from the firestorm that erupted on social media, after it came out that he had invented stories about his wartime reporting — using military airmen and soldiers and helicopters as props for his self-promoting lies.
Other journalists have been exposed for being dishonest and summarily drummed out of the profession, for doing similar things as Williams.
A young New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair, made up interviews and vivid scenes, often copying them from other journalists’ stories he found on the Internet.
Blair fabricated articles related to a deadly sniper attacks in Washington and the anguish of families grieving for loved ones killed in Iraq.
He wrote about incidents in other states as if he had been there, while lounging in his apartment in New York.
Even the Associated Press, who sets high standards for journalism, has had issues with a corrupt reporter.
In 2002, the Associated Press fired AP Bureau reporter Christopher Newton for journalistic fraud.
The wire service alleged that in at least 40 of his stories, Newton wrote between Jan. 13, 2000, and Sept 8, 2002, he fabricated sources and quotes.
I have mixed feelings on this subject and would never lie about them just to make the story more interesting for my readers.
The fact that Brian Williams lied about being shot down was wrong.
You just don’t make stuff up to promote yourself when someone else actually suffered through those life-threatening events — and they now have to watch you, on TV, taking credit for being in the midst of it.
He didn’t have to try to make himself out to be a victim of this to promote himself as an anchor.
If anyone wants to read lies presented as facts, they can read the tabloids, such as the National Enquirer, or watch Jerry Springer on TV.
Whenever you see anything written by me, you can be assured that it will be the truth and nothing but the truth.