Jonah Goldberg: NBC’s Puffed Up Anchor Brian Williamson: ‘He Couldn’t Stop Himself’

puffed-up-anchor-williams-nro-gold

Surrounded by fans and protected from criticism, it’s no wonder Brian Williams became a serial fabulist

Jonah Goldberggoldberg_square writes: By now everyone knows about his transgressions. If even only some of the reports are true, Brian Williams is a serial embellisher, a self-aggrandizing fabulist.

No doubt everyone knows somebody like this, and if you don’t it’s probably because you’re that guy. But Williams’ case is special. This isn’t some sad Willy Loman at the end of the bar who needs to invent impressive stories about himself. If anything, he needed to not tell such stories, given that he reportedly makes more than $10 million a year to be a trusted name in news.

Yet he couldn’t stop himself.

“To walk down a street with an anchor is to be stunned both by how many people recognize them and how many viewers call out to them about specific stories. There’s a respectful familiarity different from the awe displayed to Hollywood celebrities. The anchor is treated as the citizen’s trusted guide to the news. As a result, they can feel expected to dominate discussions, to tell war stories, to play God.”

— Ken Auletta, The New Yorker’s media critic

I have no doubt that’s true. But I am also certain that Williams is hearing only from the people who see him as their trusted guide to the news, and that can be very deceptive.

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

If Kathy Griffin is the quintessential D-list celebrity, then I’m probably somewhere south of Z. But I do get recognized at airports and restaurants from time to time, mostly because of my stints on Fox News. A couple dozen times a year, someone will come up and compliment me. (Or, they’ll compliment The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, thinking I’m him.)

But you know what virtually never happens? Someone coming up to me to tell me how much they hated my column, my comments, my book, my face, or my existence.

Now, all you have to do is peek at the comment thread on this column to know that such people exist. Some mornings my inbox is like the Ark of the Covenant in the first Indiana Jones movie; one look inside will melt your face. Yet almost none of these people ever say anything to me personally. If I didn’t know better — and believe me, I do — I might get a pretty skewed impression of what “the public” thinks of me.

So I can only imagine what it must be…(read more)

National Review Online

 



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