By Carlos Gamino, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer
By now we’ve all heard about Brian Williams, the former NBC News reporter who exaggerated his claims about his time in war-torn Iraq. He says he took a leave of absence to “adequately deal with the issue,” but a statement from Deborah Turness, the president of NBC News says otherwise.
“We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today,” read the memo.
Williams has admitted to making false statements about being shot down in an Army Chinook helicopter during a 2003 tour.
His whole career is under the microscope now, including his coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
While it’s unlikely that he’ll face any legal consequences—is there really anything to accuse him of?—he has probably effectively ended his career as one of America’s most well known reporters.
And this brings up a very valid point: the three major news media outlets regularly get their facts wrong, and it’s not always accidental. Only about 10 percent of the things you hear on NBC News are fully true, and just 11 percent are completely true on FOX. CNN doesn’t fare much better, with only 18 percent of their “facts” ringing true.
Should we forgive Brian Williams for embellishing his war stories? Should he ever report the news again, or would he be better off starting an opinion column in the New York Times? I’d love to hear your opinion, so let me know in the comments section or head over to my Facebook page to join the discussion.