The lie seems more brazen with each telling so let’s make sure to flag all of them. Here’s a nifty catch by Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller from an interview Williams gave to Alec Baldwin two years ago in which he claimed he “briefly” thought he might die when his chopper suffered an attack that never actually happened — but, see, that’s the risk you run when you’re a serious newsman, he goes on to say. That bit comes at 54:30, but I recommend listening at 53:00 to hear him grumble about the “haters” online who like to call him a phony populist. How dare they question the common-man bona fides of a multimillionaire who made up a story about nearly dying from enemy fire to steal a little glory from American troops.
To answer Ed’s question, though, yes, of course Williams’s career will survive. This matrix from Sean Davis will serve you well now and in the future:
In case you're wondering: No, Brian Williams won't lose his job. He plays for the right team. Here's how it works. pic.twitter.com/upSMesqalg
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 5, 2015
Davis thinks Williams will take a temporary leave of absence until this blows over, which should be, oh, by the close of weekday business tomorrow. If this were a Fox News newsman who’d been telling phony war stories, we’d be in the “crucifixion” square of Davis’s table; as it is, we’re in the “wrong lie/right team” square, which means we’re already well on our way to “doesn’t exist.” There’s a slim chance that he gets suspended, I think, but “leave of absence” is more likely. A suspension is something imposed from the top down on a malefactor for wrongdoing; a “leave of absence” is something a person might seek on his own initiative, to punish himself for a lapse. This way, NBC can spin his disappearance from the air for a week or two as evidence of how conscientious and remorseful he is after lying his balls off for 12 years.
Big caveat, though: What if other stories he’s been telling about his adventures as a James Bond/Walter Cronkite hybrid start getting challenged? SooperMexican has a clip of him claiming that he stayed in a hotel “overrun with gangs” when he was in New Orleans covering Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago; supposedly, an unnamed policeman rescued him from some sort of attack in a stairwell. Did that happen? Did Williams, as he once claimed, actually see a body floating by from his hotel window? NBC can tolerate this guy taking a dump once on their pretensions to honesty and integrity in news coverage. Two, three, or four dumps is probably a few too many for comfort, though. That’s when they have to flush.
Exit question: If America’s prepared to elect someone president who tells phony war stories, why shouldn’t the people who cover her tell them too?