Friday, February 6, 2015

Brian Williams (4)

I make my judgment about the cause of Williams’ false memory/lie based on the words Williams uses in his written apology. Specifically, at two points he uses the term ‘bird’ to refer to helicopter; at another point he uses the military jargon ‘mech,’ which I suppose is short for ‘mechanized.’ Why would a famous journalist deliberately imitate the speech of soldiers? Why wouldn’t he wish to use the proper terms ‘helicopter’ and ‘mechanized’? Because, I believe, he wants to share in the sense of glory and brotherhood that surround the soldiering profession. In fact, it is telling that the accusation of lying and his apology follow a very public event, a hockey match, at which Williams appeared alongside an Iraq War veteran he met the night the helicopter was shot down. With thousands looking on, Williams repeated his false memory, feeling again that special glow of having shared the threat of death with a warrior those many years ago. Williams paid tribute to that veteran, to be sure: but he also gave himself a secret promotion to the brotherhood.

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