Wednesday, February 11, 2015
A Personal Opinion on the Brian Williams Debacle:
By Robert Janicki
Put aside Williams' charm, personality and sense of humor, and his occasional self deprecation for the moment, and look to Williams the journalist and then pivot to his second and possibly greater role as a celebrity.
This celebrity role of Williams, seems to have eclipsed his role as a journalist. Somewhere along the line in time, Williams' celebrity overtook his role as journalist. I have seen Williams appear many times on various late night broadcast TV or cable TV comedy shows. He has all the tale telling requisites and timing of the very best comedians of our time. He could easily be another Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart.
And that seems to be the genesis of Williams' conflict between celebrated TV news anchor and multifaceted celebrity across a greater social spectrum. Williams, at some level in his role as journalist, may have believed that he was running out, or coming up short, of heroic and self aggrandizing stories to enhance his dual role of journalist and, by association, his celebrity and needed more and greater tales to perpetuate his celebrity persona, if not his role as professional journalist and top ranked news anchor position.
It seems that being the top broadcast network news anchor was not enough to feed his alter ego of celebrity. Williams needed to expand his celebrity and that's when he went over the line of reality and into a world of self delusion of some sort. Either Williams is self delusional or he purposely has tried to delude the public to enhance his persona.
Is Williams a narcissist? I don't know, but I do know that people that live in those higher reaches of celebrity have at the very least, elements of narcissism. All one has to do to substantiate this assertion is to look to Barack Obama and his complex makeup of narcissist behaviors. Looking to the future as it rolls around in six months, I cannot see Williams coming back as the anchor of the NBC Nightly News and here's why.
Expect many more of Williams' lies and fabrications to pop up as every amateur sleuth turns up video clips on what will turn out to be an avalanche of previous prevarications, fabrications or misstatements by Williams. It will happen. Some will be inconsequential and others will have greater substance and significance. Time will not be kind and forgiving for Williams. Quite the opposite will be true, as more of Williams' prevarications come to the light of day and are published for all to see.
The problem for NBC is not just a matter of having the public forgive Williams, as much as it is having the public forget Williams' serial lying over more than a decade. I think that may well be a hurdle too high to overcome.
Jon Stewart announced that he is leaving Comedy Central by the end of the year. Maybe Williams can pickup that gig. He certainly has the comedic skills of telling tall tales.