Brian Williams is Toast.

52 responses.

Brian Williams is ToastBrian Williams is toast.

Brian Williams is not going to return to NBC Nightly News. He is not going to reenergize his news career. He’s not going to make a comeback.

Brian Williams is toast.

Williams has promised to get back on the air, saying, “Upon my return I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

But it won’t happen because Brian Williams is toast.

It’s not that others haven’t lied and then succeeded at second chances. Lots of famous people lie to their audiences, suffer temporary setbacks, and still come back to enjoy bigger and better public images.

Bill Clinton did it. His assertion that “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” turned out to be a lie. But today Clinton is one of the most beloved political statesmen in the world.

Bill’s wife Hilary Clinton did it too. She “misstated” claims of coming under sniper fire during a visit to Bosnia in the 1990s and had to admit that it wasn’t true after video footage showed the first lady walking calmly from her plane. But now Clinton is a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State and the leading Democratic presidential candidate for 2016.

But Brian Williams is toast.

Here’s what Stars and Stripes reported Williams said: “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG… Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.” But The Washington Post added that, “Williams was not in the helicopter that was hit, but followed half an hour to an hour later on another helicopter that landed to avoid a sandstorm.”

According to The New York Times, “Mr. Williams said he had embellished an account of an incident in 2003; over the years he came to say that he was in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire, an assertion he now says is not true. He now says he was in a trailing helicopter, and that he ‘conflated’ the two aircraft.”

Williams has tried to say he was sorry, albeit in clumsy, ham-fisted apologies that used tortuous words such as “conflated,” “misremembered,” and “the fog of memory.” But even Williams’ clumsy explanations are not the reason why he’s finished. After all, we’ve endured a litany of fat-tongued celebrities’ clumsy explanations as they grasp for redemption, from Jimmy Swaggart’s tears to Larry Craig’s “wide stance” to Paula Deen’s not understanding the N-word to Tammy Faye Bakker’s MascaraGate.

The key to Bill Clinton’s impeachment was not what he said when he covered up his marital misdeeds but that he broke the law when he lied to Congress under oath. And Hilary Clinton’s lie (a story coincidentally similar to William’s) hasn’t seemed to derail her ambitions very much either.

So why is Brian Williams toast when so many others have managed to skate around their “misrembering” to little bad effect? It’s simple: no one really cares when politicians lie because — sad but true — no one really expects politicians to be honest in the first place. But Brian Williams is toast because as a journalist he violated his core value, his defining ideal, and his authentic self when he lied to himself and to us.

In a violent year when over 60 journalists around the world have died trying to tell the true story, Williams tale of false bravado is seen as a betrayal of not just the NBC anchor’s audience but of all the brave men and women who really were in harm’s way. And there’s no way NBC Nightly News’ 9.3 million viewers will ever forgive that.

Understanding and marketing your authentic self is what today’s customers want and are willing to pay for. Violating that promise is an unpardonable infidelity. Brian Williams’ brand value was built around unflappable trust and he dishonored it. Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

Brian Williams is toast.

  52 Responses

  1. Stefanie Hochstadter
    on February 9, 2015

    Spot on, Mr. Turkel. I loved that guy and he was my favorite nightly anchor. I was so disappointed and I felt stupid and betrayed as just the humble little private citizen I am–I can’t imagine what our service people or the journalists who really go in harm’s way (and their families) must have felt when this came out. He’s toast–you’re correct.

  2. on February 9, 2015

    Bruce:
    I don’t agree with you on this one. As you might imagine, I have put some thought into this. Part of the reason for his failure is that he has put so much time and energy into his brand outside of being an anchor. He’s a regular on Letterman and made a half dozen cameos on 30 Rock and I even remember seeing him in the audience at SNL. And it was during these star turns that his lie grew and grew. Yet he didn’t fabricate a news story on the air or make a huge gaffe while reporting the news. I think there is a difference here – maybe it is subtle and maybe only imagined by me! He embellished (lied) about something that happened to him personally not the newscast. I think he will be back. (I will spare you links to all my comeback related blog posts.)

  3. on February 9, 2015

    That’s a well thought out argument, David, and I’ll accept some of it. Williams is young, handsome, rich, talented, funny, and very very well known. He might resurface as an on-air personality, perhaps even hosting a show like Letterman. But he will never sit at the helm of a major news program again.

  4. on February 9, 2015

    It’s exactly that hurt and sense of betrayal that will keep Williams from coming back to nightly news, Stefanie. Thank you for weighing in.

  5. on February 9, 2015

    Very well said and most likely an accurate prediction. It makes me sad though. Not so much for Brian Williams who has been well paid to be a trustworthy source, etc. etc. More so for all of us who live in a world without trust.

  6. on February 9, 2015

    Pulitzer prize winning journalist, David Cay Johnston, posted this comment to his Facebook timeline:

    “The New Orleans item in the somewhat jaundiced piece linked below raises serious new questions about Brian Williams’ credibility. If it holds up then, together with the helicopter story, his career should end immediately. Indeed, any new and credible example of Williams making false claims about being in danger or otherwise upgrading his personal experiences to make himself appear brave/courageous/fearless ought to trigger whatever clause in his contract allows termination for harming his employer’s reputation. Williams has already done serious damage, whether through carelessness, hubris or mendacity. If its a brain defect (stroke? disease?) he also does not belong in the anchor’s chair. And if it not medical issue then, well — What the hell was he thinking? Does Williams have some self-destruct button that was well hidden during a long career? (My initial point — that this episode should prompt all of us to think more skeptically about eyewitness testimony — remains. Whatever the outcome for Williams and NBC, we need to understand that innocent people get imprisoned or executed and guilty people go free because of excessive reliance by police, prosecutors, judges and juries on eyewitness testimony and individual memory.)”

  7. on February 9, 2015

    More on your New Orleans observation, John. And for anyone who thinks this is much ado about nothing or just the exaggerations of a public figure, look at what The New York Times reports this will do to NBC’s business:

    “The attention on the Iraq mistake has brought the rest of Mr. Williams’s career under a microscope. Some blogs and media outlets questioned Mr. Williams’s description of what he saw while reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Should Mr. Williams be forced out of the anchor chair, it would be a major setback for NBC’s news division, which is in a fierce competition for viewers. So far this season, NBC has averaged 9.3 million total viewers for its nightly broadcast, compared with 8.7 million for ABC and 7.3 million for CBS, according to Nielsen.

    The evening broadcast has remained a stable block for NBC even as its “Today” and “Meet the Press” shows have faced challenges. As such, top executives have not focused on succession planning for the “NBC Nightly News” because it did not appear necessary. In December, the network extended Mr. Williams’s contract. The terms were reported to be as much as $10 million per year for five years.

    “There is really nobody on the NBC news bench who can replace Williams in terms of his projection and presence on the nightly broadcast,” Mr. Hanley said. “Just look at the problems the ‘Today’ show had in trying to assemble a team that could reverse its fortunes there.”

  8. Vera
    on February 10, 2015

    Wow! Tough crowd – humans are fallible and we make mistakes, large public ones and small corrosive ones. Despite the breach of trust, he may redeem himself; criminals guilty of far more than a lie receive second chances often enough.

  9. BMAC
    on February 11, 2015

    NBC did the tough but correct thing in the name of trust in their news brand. In sticking a fork in him, he’s done.

  10. on February 11, 2015

    Whether it’s blowing your followers’ trust or coming up with inane excuses as to why, he lied. To reiterate Bruce’s thesis, Brian Williams is toast. If Mr. Williams returns to the NBC News desk, I will buy a drink for anyone who predicted his return (and landing a gig on Fox News, as has been rumored, doesn’t count).

  11. sal dickinson
    on February 11, 2015

    Unfortunately conflated confusion and all of the forensic questioning – from saving two puppies to being robbed at gunpoint while selling Christmas trees in front of a church – has and will continue to cause irreputable damage to his brand and journalism career. Sad, especially given there was no obvious need to embellish…

  12. on February 11, 2015

    Bruce,

    Great insight, but I disagree. We are all about second chances. Our society loves to see its heroes fall and redeem themselves. Brian Williams will be back. I suggest you make a note to follow-up on this in six months. This should be a great exercise in perspective.

  13. on February 11, 2015

    I think it is too early to tell on this one. While the news lives in absolute statements, much of how this story turns out really depends on what Williams does in the next few weeks. If he continues to deny the magnitude of this and the massive mistake he has made, and if more stories that question his credibility come to light, then you are probably right. However, if her owns up, repents, makes himself vulnerable, and throws himself on the mercy of the people – while also avoiding the discovery of any further improprieties – I think there is hope.

    The American people love a good comeback story. Sometimes the way you handle your biggest mistakes open up your biggest opportunities. I wouldn’t shut the door on this one yet. Plus, smart, magnetic, good looking people with high powered friends tend to find a lot of second chances in this world…

  14. David Stiefel
    on February 11, 2015

    NBC has a very short bench of seasoned anchors and the American public has a very short memory. Williams could be demoted to a less visible position, perhaps as a news magazine contributor, and allowed to slowly rise back through the ranks over time.

    On the other hand, he would make an intriguing replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

  15. Michael Donovan
    on February 11, 2015

    When I was around 19 or 20, my dad asked me one evening if I had been drinking. I believe I conflated drinking with spitting on the sidewalk or something, and I insisted that I hadn’t, and my brand was tarnished forever. I’ve regretted it for fifty years.

    Bruce, either you or John P. David will be right about Brian Williams in the end. Is there somewhere I can put my money on YOU?

  16. on February 11, 2015

    That’s a very good point, David. Williams is very funny and would be a great Stewart replacement — especially because they’re now both known for “fake news.”

  17. on February 11, 2015

    i personally could care less (i’d have to be dead to do so) whether williams ever reads the news again. still, the ny times of feb 9 had a thought provoking blog on “false memory” and brian williams: here t’is:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/09/was-brian-williams-a-victim-of-false-memory/?_r=0

  18. on February 11, 2015

    I agree Len. Americans love comeback stories. And Williams will be able to take advantage of this and make an interesting comeback. But I don’t think it will be in the driving seat of a major nightly network news program. That ship (or helicopter) has sailed.

  19. on February 11, 2015

    That’s a good suggestion, Chuck, I’ve put a note in my Evernote tickler file to revisit this issue. It also makes my life easier because it will be one less post I’ll have to come up with an idea for. Thank you.

  20. Anne-Marie Roerink
    on February 11, 2015

    I’m curious. How do you think this story compares to Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical correspondent who got busted sneaking out of Ebola quarantine? Many called for her resignation, citing she should have been setting the example, even if she didn’t feel she was a health risk?

  21. on February 11, 2015

    He made a mistake (unless you consider his lying a permanent character flaw) in a context where it probably cannot be forgiven. I agree he’s likely done with his current job. Williams is a smart guy – is he a funny guy? (there’s an opening on the Daily Show.) After war, terrorism, and major disasters the “fall from grace” may be America’s favorite story. We are a gossipy bunch.

  22. on February 11, 2015

    I’m agreeing with you that his career will never be the same. Another factor at play is that someone from the mainstream media has been caught being “less than truthful” and is actually paying a price for that misstep. Those who believe there is no objectivity in mainstream news reporting are thinking “it’s about time”.

    On the brighter side is what he does have going for him: A high likeability factor. That will help in whatever he ends up doing next. The other thing is to own it. As long as he can take the slings & arrows (which will seem never ending) with grace, humility and a really good sense of humor, he will get back some of what he lost. The grace and humility part is always lost on politicians.

  23. on February 11, 2015

    Brian Williams is a canary in the mine shaft. As a former journalist and later co-founder of a marketing firm now entering our 31st year, I find the analogy between news reporting and marketing to have numerous parallels. When I read or listen to the news all I want is who, what, when, where and why. I want Journalism 101. Those days are long gone. And Brian Williams is simply one of countless examples of why we are seeing the Fourth Estate rot from the inside out, while a lazy, indifferent and increasingly illiterate public permits the same to happen to our country. Ironically, the real power rests with the advertiser or subscriber. When we stop consuming lies by tolerating them, and when leading advertisers stop supporting this drivel because we stop buying what they’re selling, perhaps the demand for truth in journalism will return. Until then, we deserve what we get; nut cases on the left, short skirts on the right, and SpongeBob SquarePants in the middle. Brian Williams isn’t the problem; we’re the problem.

  24. Gloria Nunez Turkel
    on February 11, 2015

    Sadly, I agree Brian Williams’ brand is tarnished however it’s revolting to hear the news media, FOX, CNN, etc., on their high horses reporting on this story. I guess it’s okay to lie about reasons to go to war, the President’s birthplace, climate change, etc. but God forbid an anchor enhances a war experience. As always, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, the only news that’s credible, calls out the hypocrites…I am going to miss him.

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/zeehf7/february-9–2015—patricia-arquette

  25. steve demar
    on February 11, 2015

    BT, loved your perspective on this-I think you are spot on, not only as it relates to Brian Williams, but our cynical view of politicians

  26. on February 11, 2015

    I’m not so sure it’s as black and white as everyone seems to believe. The assumption here is that this was a deliberate fabrication. They were following behind in a helicopter when the helicopter ahead of them took fire and then they made an emergency landing in a sandstorm. That’s a pretty hectic series of events, and years later it might be easy to get them confused when you’re way behind on sleep. The way he probably was all the time.

    I think there’s a genuine possibility that people are ignoring. That it could have been a genuine mistake; the result of side effects of medication, withdrawal, physical deficiency, substance abuse, and/ or the pressure of the job. People with much more “ordinary” lives and less demanding jobs get turned upside down all the time by these things.

    It’s only remarkable when someone famous gets mixed up or makes a mistake. Because deep down, we want them to fail so we can discuss it dissect it, and wonder why. The reason? Deep down we suspect that famous people really are somehow different. They’re not. And I can only guess how I’d be feeling after years of being Brian Williams. Which brings me to…

    The final factor nobody is talking about. That he may have wanted to self destruct, or subconsciously stopped caring as much about his image and wishing it would be over.

    Overnight he’s a nobody. Albeit a very, very rich nobody. Perfect, hassle-free retirement, if you ask me.

  27. on February 11, 2015

    I think it’s “bigger they are the harder they fall” in action, Anne-Marie. Williams has a very big footprint, Snyderman, less so. The public is attracted to stories about people they know and care about and less interested in stories about strangers. The big fear for NBC will be that both Williams and Snyderman could be seen as the tip of the iceberg of a culture that tolerates misbehavior. To be clear, I am absolutely not suggesting this is so, only that NBC’s PR professionals need to be prepared to handle this eventuality. The time to plan for a house burning is long before the smell of smoke wakes you up in the middle of the night.

  28. on February 11, 2015

    So is the mirror cracking, Bill? Great comments, thanks for adding to the discussion.

  29. on February 11, 2015

    The New York Times printed an interesting article on false memory that speaks to your point, Jay. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/09/was-brian-williams-a-victim-of-false-memory/?_r=0

  30. Ana More'
    on February 11, 2015

    Bruce, I don’t agree. He is a well loved news anchor and with the right approach, he can overcome this. A good example is Bill Clinton’s return to grace after the Monica Lewinsky affair. I don’t think there is a position that people expect perfection more than POTUS. He did fine in his comeback. I think you are being overly negative. I’m rooting for Brian.

  31. Anne-Marie Roerink
    on February 11, 2015

    Interesting perspective on the Snyderman comparison, thanks! Further, as a military spouse, I do not believe in the memory fog. In having listened to many of my husband’s and other friends’ stories who have been there, done that, the detail in their stories simply undermines any such explanation by Brian. I think the difference is that soldiers don’t have a need for sensationalism and simply do their jobs.

  32. Seth Berkowitz
    on February 11, 2015

    I don’t see Williams ever sitting behind an anchor desk again, but then the network anchor desk isn’t anything like what it used to be, so that may not be such a terrible fate.

    On the other hand, I don’t see him as toast as relates to the wider world of news, entertainment or the ever growing intersection of news and entertainment.

    Williams’ appeal mustn’t be underestimated. Both Jon Steward and Bill O’Reilly showed respectful restraint in their censures of Williams. He’s one of those guys (like Clinton) where even when he’s done wrong, he’s too darn likable to dismiss completely.

    If he can lay low and work on himself for the next six months and come back with just the right amount of contrition, there has to be a significant role for him somewhere.

    To me, the worst damage he has done to his image is that he has made himself appear pathetic. Confidence, especially in a man, is a trait that is universally admired. When a guy with all Williams had going for him feels a need to embellish his credentials, it reeks of desperation and insecurity.

    However, Williams image prior to this was almost too perfect. Handsome, charming, accomplished, funny, he had it all. If he does the mea culpa just right upon his return, this fall from grace could actually burnish his appeal.

  33. on February 11, 2015

    I know, Brian Williams could replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show!

  34. ROBERT MAZZUCCHELLI
    on February 11, 2015

    Bruce,

    I agree he is toast. People have been speculating about WHY he would lie. He’s clearly a capable journalist, respected (until this) by millions of viewers and countless peers. Well, your reference to Bill and Hillary yield the answer. Hubris and arrogance. Williams $10 million per year contract put him in that rarefied place where people start to feel untouchable (even disconnected from themselves sometimes, like they are just watching their own lives and, depending on their psychological profile, just might want to improve the show. Anyone remember a golfer named Tiger Woods). If not kept on solid ground by frequent reality checks, some people who attain this level of success begin to feel like they can say and do anything without consequence (Bill Clinton even asked, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” Really Mr. President?).
    Williams may just be a sad victim of his own success, the demands of the fame he pursued outside his job or not having someone around to remind him that honesty is the cornerstone of journalism. On a personal level, he will have ample time to reflect on his behavior as a retired anchorman, because his days on the NBC news are over. We, as consumers of news will be a little more jaded by his transgressions, but will move on. After all, in an industry that allows Al Sharpton to host a quasi-news program, what level of journalistic quality or integrity can we really expect these days.

  35. on February 11, 2015

    Bruce,

    Off topic but I’m so glad that you mentioned former Senator Larry Craig’s supposed “wide stance” because I’ve always wondered about it. When a person is “on the john”, their stance is constrained by their pants. A wide stance requires that you fully remove your pants AND your underwear. Does anybody (else) actually do that? It’s #WorstExcuseEver.

  36. on February 11, 2015

    Bruce: You are absolutely right. In the five step branding process that I have used for years, the final (and most important) step is to “Live up to the brand, everyday”. All of the great brand strategy development and marketing campaigns are wasted if the brand isn’t obsessed with living up to their promise to their customers. Williams audience were promised truth, objectivity and accuracy over the years. Williams didn’t need to lie (or conflate) but he did need to maintain the trust of his viewers.
    Ken

  37. on February 11, 2015

    Here’s Brian Williams’ problem: Embellishment to add laughs makes you a humorist. Embellishment to add drama makes you a politician.

  38. on February 12, 2015

    Never thought of that before, Dave.
    Thanks for putting that little mind virus in my head!!

  39. Paul Pugmire
    on February 12, 2015

    I expect you’re right, Mr. Turkel. Time will tell and I’ve been surprised before. In the context of your reasons for your conclusion about Mr. Williams, I’d be interested in your thoughts on why and how Fox News stays on the air.

  40. Tim Daniels
    on February 13, 2015

    Best scenario- edging out Matt Lauer as Trebek’s successor on Jeopardy.

  41. on February 14, 2015

    Come on give Brian a break for he is the only New York resident that can see Russia from his house. Does it really matter whether the anchor is honest since all he does is read press releases provided to him from sources with an agenda– dishonest, lobbyist spin whether provided to him by political operatives, big Pharma, oil, the sugar industry etc. in between commercials for drugs or sprint cut cell rates, you may nor really need and generations before you lived happily without. Ever notice Obesity stories are always followed and supported by McDonalds ads? Is Williams the problem or should this incident give us an opening to see his behavior as a symptom of a bigger issue with Nightly News.

  42. Fred Blevens
    on February 14, 2015

    We should be careful drawing ANY analogies to politicians (Clintons) or political commentary (Beck, Hannity, Maddow, wt al). Core political speech is the most cherished and constitutionally protected form of expression. That is why the vast majority of content in campaign ads and on cable advocacy channels is not true. That was not Brian Williams’s standard. I always tell students you can lie everyday in a campaign and get to the White House but if you lie about your client’s product, you might get fined.

  43. Arelis
    on February 14, 2015

    Bruce, I don’t remember that last time I read one of your articles that caused such intriguing dialogue! Love it! I have to chime in and say that I’m disappointed in Brian. He replaced my other “idol” who is no loner with us and was an exceptional professional…Peter Jenkins!!! I hope he does return to TV in some way or another…humbled by this experience but not depriving us of his years of expertise and what has been an exceptional career! As Chuck said, its about second chances!!

  44. on February 14, 2015

    Is it me or is many of these comments are from people who actually believe the media tell the truth even when supposedly reporting news? News people today, like Williams, always want an edge that trends to opinions versus the facts. That’s not a news reporter, it’s a slanted opinion maker. Maybe they’re bored of lying about other people’s stories and just want to make up one up for themselves?

  45. on February 15, 2015

    Sarah Palin and Elliot Spitzer persists – and yet Williams is toast?

    Williams’ options are wide open, run deep, and at his choosing. Don’t miss the truth that America loves falls from grace and ascendance through redemption.

    If he does not get to be THE anchor.. his future multi-million dollar career in media is assured. If his prospective future is “TOAST” – well let me just say … “butter me up”.

    Anybody who feels “hurt” or “betrayed” – grow up, be honest and recognize whether of not you have the right to cast the first stone (or the next one after the first dozen you’ve tossed.)

    I look forward Brian Williams contributions in the media for many years to come. NBC loses if they drop this well spoken, highly presentable,supremely talented talker to me through the camera, self-deprecating, “every-man-of-the-air, humorist without crassness.

    To build a one-dimensional box for his future as having ‘only’ role is the only way to speculate on his being ‘toast’. With his vast options in reality – he is far from toast my friends.

    Tom Oser

  46. on February 16, 2015

    If Brian William told his story as a journalist, NBC did the right thing to let him go. But Brian Williams is not so much a journalist anymore, he is more like a celebrity. And he was for sure not a trained war correspondent. I think he got carried away and had a fog of war moment. It was 2002, a time where the Iraq war was still popular and all journalists wanted to show the world they had the courage to go there. Also Brian Williams. Due to his position maybe he thought he was invincible and a story about being involved in combat, was the exact thing he needed on his resume.
    Also listen to this very good clip from NPR radio, which, unfortunately, was one of David Carr’s last public appearances!
    http://www.wnyc.org/story/brian-williams-public-retreat/

  47. David Hall
    on February 17, 2015

    Uncanny timing with Jon Stewart stepping down and Brian Williams being ousted (whatever the PR spin)…Williams is still going to be highly marketable and I see him taking over Daily Show anchor position.

    Either that, or he goes the way of Katie Couric into the blogosphere (read: not much of an audience as in her heyday)…

    Perhaps Pee Wee Herman makes a comeback and gets a pardon for his bizarre public behavior that thwarted his great Sat morning TV brilliance…

    All of this is so absurd. Like spending trillions of dollars on election campaigns to get a politician voted into office only to BLOCK legislation sighting there’s no money to pay for such and such program. Absurdity gone mad…

    I’d consider moving to Denmark, #1 for healthcare,

  48. David Hall
    on February 17, 2015

    I’d consider moving to Denmark, but now even this quiet country is marked for terrorism of late.

  49. James
    on March 8, 2015

    Good piece, Bruce, but I will offer a completely novel perspective about this spectacle of a story.

    Brian Williams is a sacrosanct mouth piece. The media conglomerates that back him had to reprimand him otherwise they would appear unethical. The real truth is that as a rule, the media lies. Brian just got caught.

    The internet reformation is underway, just like the Gutenberg press in its heyday. Believing in something of course doesn’t make that something true. Just because Bill O’Reilly states something, doesn’t mean it is true or even factual. Ditto for Brian Williams.

    No, what is really occurring here, is that the alternative media is destroying mainstream media in ways that most people completely are missing. As a result, this is just an attempt from NBC to salvage what little credibility they have left. There is a reason that the vaccine debate has become so loud and mean-spirited – the truth is availing itself to a source that can no longer be controlled.

  50. on March 9, 2015

    Thanks, James. I agree with you that the mainstream media is watching their business being taken away from them and don’t know what to do to maintain their control (hint: nothing). I’m not sure about your point on the “vaccine debate” simply because from your words I can’t tell whether you believe vaccines are efficacious or not. If the uncontrollable source is people such as Jenny McCarthy then I miss the point entirely. She and her ilk have done a great disservice to public health. But if you’re referring to the medical industry — which certainly has no monopoly on the truth but seems to be correct about vaccines — then I agree.
    Please tell me more. And thank you for weighing in.

  51. James
    on March 15, 2015

    I should have provided more context about the state of the vaccine debate. My apologies but I will now.

    Without stating my personal views on vaccines – I’m not afraid to, but it is beyond the point I’m making and would be glad to do so separately – I’m pointing out that regardless of Jenny McCarthy’s views, there is clear evidence that mainstream media doesn’t want to even entertain non-maindstream views of its efficacious. The evidence is the outright vile commentary from many mainstream voices including nonscientist Jimmy Kimmel against those that even question its effectiveness. But the argument goes far deeper than this but you must look, but only slightly because it is getting very loud.

    Without diving too deep but am willing to if you are interested, my fundamental point is that whether you agree with inoculation or not it is imperative that you contain the right to express that view – period. Even your comment that Jenny McCarthy is doing a disservice proves my point. Doesn’t she have a right?

  52. on March 16, 2015

    Of course Jenny McCarthy has the right to say whatever she wants, James. That’s the whole point of freedom of speech. But the fact that she has a right to say whatever she wants neither makes her words anymore accurate nor diminishes her responsibility for spreading unsubstantiated rumors that affect the public health. She’s also allowed by law not to vaccinate her children if she chooses but that doesn’t mean that her children should then be allowed into a school system where they could infect other children. Remember that her right to swing her fist stops about a foot from my face.

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