Should Brian Williams be fired?

Brian Williams - NBC News

Brian Williams – NBC News

Brian Williams should resign his position as Anchor and Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News. He has been unquestionably exposed telling untruths about being aboard a helicopter struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The question of firing him should not even be a matter of debate for NBC executives, especially if one assumes that Williams cares for the good of NBC News.  He should relieve them of that decision, and simply resign.

Given the length and nature of his relationship with NBC, it is a reasonable assumption that he cares about the organization.

There is also little doubt that there are still those at NBC who care a great deal for Williams. In a recent memo concerning the Brian Williams controversy, Deborah Turness, president of NBC News, referred to the organization as a close-knit family.

It is fantastic that the atmosphere in the NBC news division feels like that of a close-knit family; however, they are a news organization and not a family.

Turness did acknowledge the seriousness of Williams’ ethical failure when she announced his six-month suspension.

“…This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.

In addition, we have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field.

As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times.”

This leaves little doubt that she fully understands the breech in trust this represents, but she goes on to explain.

“…We felt it would have been wrong to disregard the good work Brian has done and the special relationship he has forged with our viewers over 22 years…”

It is here that a failure in judgment occurs for Turness and the other executives at NBC; they are not handing out punishment to an adolescent family member, but to a news editor and anchor who committed a firing offence.

Williams should have tendered his resignation, leaving them to deal with rebuilding the trust of their viewers. But now the organization faces a lengthy investigation, and even future embarrassment as the saga will be drawn out over the course of six months.

The news media is like any other human endeavor, it is inherently flawed. We humans sometimes tell lies, we sometimes hold personal agendas over the well-being of our fellow humans, and sometimes we simply fail miserably.

New York Times blogger, Tara Parker-Pope, recently posted that,

“The fallibility and the malleability of the human memory is at the center of a national controversy involving Brian Williams, the “NBC Nightly News” anchor.”

While one can certainly acknowledge the fallibility of the human condition, it is preposterous when Parker-Pope goes on to suggest Williams is a victim of false memory, or that he shouldn’t be held to a higher standard.

We are not talking about a drunken uncle at the VFW Hall embellishing his battlefield exploits; we are talking about the Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News.

When humans band together to create institutions, we are at our most brilliant, we accomplish our greatest achievements, and we manage to mitigate our personal flaws by relying on the strength of the institution.

Brain Williams should hold himself accountable and resign; if not, NBC leadership needs to hold him accountable to the standards of the organization, and fire him.

 

 

Dear Readers

February 15, 2015

Dear Readers,

The Bedlam & Chaos Review started as student project during my studies at Towson University. Since I’ve been getting a few views and comments recently, I’m dusting off this blog and giving it some much needed attention.

I’m also modifying the scope and direction of the blog to stick more closely to commentary on news, media, and culture.

I still might include an essay or two that I write for a professor, but my primary intent is to speak in my blog voice about topics we encounter via modern media.

I’m nearing the end of my time at Towson University, and I feel it is time to break free and explore the world on my own terms.

Please feel free to comment and even disagree with me. I promise to limit moderation in the discussion section to a bare minimum.

You can be as harsh with me as you wish, but I do ask that you be polite to each other in the comments section.

On the off chance that I do get a following in here, I guess that I’ll have to establish a clear code of conduct, but for now that is all the guidance I’m giving you.

I hope you’ll enjoy my thoughts and voice as I continue to develop The Bedlam & Chaos Review.

Warm Regards,

D. Chris Draughn

 

A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities

(Bedrock and Springfield)

I have been studying early TV in my Mass Communication class and we were asked to compare a comedy from the early TV era to a present day show.

I came up with a flood of ideas, but all of them were boring to me. Until, I remembered how much I hate The Flintstones; be forewarned, if you like Fred and Barney, you are probably going to get mad at me; because I don’t have many nice things to say about them, and I always wondered why that show was so popular.

On the other hand, The Simpsons is a brilliant show and even when it hit the doldrums in the late 1990’s it was far more an imaginative and funny commentary on American life, than the Flintstones ever was.

The Simpsons has suffered through many changes in the writing staff through the course of its 25 year run; however, as the show enters its last year of production, it still produces top notch satire.

About the nicest thing I can say about the Flintstones is that the opening song is infectious. That song has wormed its way into the brains of millions, if not billions of people, and still turns up in pop culture references. Watch the video, if you dare, because you’ll likely be humming the song for the next three days.

The Flintstones originally aired between 1960 and 1966 on ABC and featured Fred and Wilma Flintstone, plus their neighbors, Barney and Betty Rubble.

The characters were obviously lifted from the 1950’s Jackie Gleason classic, The Honeymooners and relied heavily upon the gag of setting contemporary life in the Stone Age.

I’ll forgive the show’s creators for adding dinosaurs to the Stone Age, as they needed something to spice up the blatant rehashing of Honeymooners plot lines. However, how many times can a person watch a gag of a Pterodactyl  inside a Polaroid camera chiseling out photographs and think it is funny?

I searched through many Flintstones episodes for something funny, or at least edgy, and all I was able to come up with was something completely unintentional, this advertisement for Winston cigarettes.

By today’s standards, that innocently placed advertisement borders on being horrific; it’s worth clicking on the link to watch. I predict you’ll at least feel creepy watching it.

I remember an older friend of mine telling me, that when Wilma had her baby, Peebles, it was considered controversial. I found a short clip, of their mad rush to the hospital; I dare you to watch the entire clip, without begging for your 3 minutes and 42 seconds back.

This “modernstonic” family was a very unimaginative depiction of a 1950’s working class family, despite the Saber Tooth Cats and Brontosaurs. I know I was very harsh on Fred and the gang, but I’ve always disliked them from my very first encounter with their re-runs in the early 1970’s.

Flash forward to the late 1980’s to Springfield and meet The Simpsons: Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and little Maggie. Not to mention an entire universe of Springfield characters that emerged over the course of the show.

Homer is another working class stiff, like Fred, but he manages to be lovable despite his stupidity and ignorance. Marge, the mother,  is the voice of reason and the glue that holds the Simpson family together, but she is often portrayed as regretting her role in the family.

Lisa is the intellectual leftist leaning vegan daughter, who is often misunderstood and used as the foil to lampoon both the left and the right. Her older brother, Bart, is the hellion and anarchist of the family, plus, little Maggie who, for 25 years, has perpetually been the baby of the family with her trademark pacifier.

What makes me like the Simpsons is that it is clever satire of culture as opposed to a tired and worn out depiction of life inside a household.

The writers of the show reach out into the real world for their story lines; while they often lampoon or spoof classic movies, Broadway musicals, they never blandly copy them. They take pop culture and politics, and twist it into a clever commentary.

Take a look at Homer in the voting booth during the 2012 elections; I guarantee that you’ll have no trouble watching it.

I thought it was funny enough, but when I heard people were mad about it, well, it made me laugh all the more. I guess that I’ve got a little Bart in me.