Guy W. Farmer: Call it an embellishment, it’s still a lie

Apparently, lying and embellishing news stories isn’t enough to get highly paid journalists fired at NBC News. Instead, they get sent down to the minor leagues, which in the news business is ultra-liberal MSNBC, the lowest ranked cable news network. That’s where former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will attempt to resurrect his career alongside the likes of the “Rev.” Al Sharpton.

Williams will share MSNBC air time with the despicable Sharpton, another proven liar who specializes in fanning the flames of racial discord in our troubled nation. I won’t say they deserve each other, but it’s reassuring to know that lying still has consequences in the news business.

Williams was suspended from the Nightly News earlier this year when “he was caught fibbing about his work,” as USA Today reported in a go-easy-on-Brian news story. Williams himself offered a convoluted explanation of why he told stories that weren’t true.

“This (the lying) came from clearly a bad place,” he told Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” show. “This was clearly ego-driven, the desire to better my role in a story I was already in.” But he couldn’t bring himself to deliver the right answer to Lauer’s questions: “I lied and I apologize.”

In fact, Williams’ long, drawn-out explanation of his on-air misdeeds sounded a lot like that of another accomplished liar, Rachel Dolezal, the white former president of the Spokane, Wash., branch of the NAACP. Ms. Dolezal, who was teaching African studies at Eastern Washington University, said her “truth” was she was black, even though she’s white. So I guess the truth is whatever we say it is.

OK, in that case, I’d like you to know that I batted .350 and hit 40 home runs for the Seattle Rainiers in 1960. I also won the war in Grenada in 1983. That’s my “truth.” Please hold your applause until I finish.

Lying has become an art form in 21st century America, especially in politics and in the news media. Maybe it started with the spurious body counts in Vietnam, but lying went mainstream during the troubled presidency of Bill Clinton, who told us he didn’t have sex with “that woman,” young White House intern Monica Lewinsky. “It all depends upon what ‘is’ is,” Clinton told us as his enablers smirked and excused his behavior.

After all, the economy was good so why worry about hanky-panky in the Oval Office? To its credit, the House of Representatives impeached him anyway — but he wasn’t convicted in the Senate — and he was disbarred from practicing law. Lying has had consequences for President Clinton, but not serious consequences because his long-suffering wife Hillary is now running for president, which would put the two of them back in the White House. And if you think that’s a good idea, I have some beautiful waterfront property for you in Washoe Valley.

Getting back to Brian Williams, he told NBC colleague Matt Lauer his ego got the better of him in an attempt “to appear better than I was. . . . I said things that were wrong. I told stories that were wrong,” but added he wasn’t trying to mislead anyone. Oh really?

That sounds like Ms. Dolezal claiming she’s a black person who grew up in a teepee and describing her race and ethnicity as “multilayered” issues, whatever that means. Personally, I think she and Williams need professional help to spare us any more tall tales.

Now let me tell you about my impressive baseball career.

Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, didn’t play professional baseball.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment