Brian Williams: Bloggers vs. “Professional” Journalists

williams-bloggers2The thing about “professional” journalists and the disruption created by the Internet is that “professional” journalists continually bemoan the destruction of their trade by untrained citizen journalists, aka bloggers. Journalism has always benefited the elite of the community. It has always been the individuals with money, that have driven what you get to know about and what is kept hidden from you. Unfortunately, the news outlets controlled the airwaves and thus they were allowed to create the illusion that they worked for the viewers and listeners instead of those funding them.

Take for example Brian Williams, the latest example of the “professional” journalist exposed for what he really is – a liar. As you know, Brian Williams has been suspended by NBC for six months for lying about a helicopter crash for many years. Since the lie was exposed, other questions about other statements made by Williams have come under scrutiny, including whether he was actually in Germany when the Berlin wall came down or whether he was with Seal Team Six during the Baghdad invasion. (I have already documented six lies uttered by Williams. You can see them on my Twitter feed under #brianlies hashtag.)

On April 4, 2007, Brian William lectured journalism students at NYU. According to a report of the event posted at the NYU Bullpen website by Kristen O’Gorman, Williams made a few statements about the rise of citizen journalists.

According to O’Gorman, Williams stated, “You’re going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe.” Williams then goes to state, “All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency in two years.” According to O’Gorman, Brian Williams was worried about the “explosion of opinion-driven amateur media” that would distract the public.

This is the same individual that has been proven to lie to the viewers for many years and is likely to have lied about other newsworthy events to embellish his “professional” credentials.

One of the things that drives my blogging is the hypocrisy I witness all around me. As such, I am not at all surprised at the other quotes attributed to Williams by O’Gorman. “On the Internet, no one knows if you’ve been to Ramadi or you’ve just been to Brooklyn and have an opinion about Ramadi.” This, from Williams who didn’t know the difference between being on a helicopter that was shot down by an RPG; or the one that arrived after the incident.

Unfortunately, Brian Williams is not the only one, there are some that have been exposed and many more that are yet to be exposed. This reality brings us back to how “professional” journalists have been able to keep the illusion that they served the truth going for so long.

Their voices were so magnified that anyone challenging the assertion that journalists were nothing more than public relations machines for elitist public policy drivers were drowned out and marginalized. Journalists had built the mystic that they are honest historians delivering the news to you.

In fact, for the most part, they have been nothing more than mouthpieces for those that could pay to control what you were allowed to know. Their awards and accolades were created to promote the illusion. Unfortunately, for them the carefully crafted illusion began to crumble around them as soon as the Internet became a viable mass-delivery vehicle of information.

The Internet gave rise to the citizen reporters. The people who want to express their personal perspective of the various issues and events that frame the human experience. Since then, the news machines have been on a downward spiral trying everything they can to remain relevant.

Net neutrality has been framed as an issue of equal access to technology, however it is much more than that, it is about the unimpeded access to unfiltered information. The companies arguing for control of the speed of the Internet are the same conglomerates that benefit by controlling who or what you are allowed to know about. They fear the citizen reporter – therefore are looking for ways to silence them.

Yes, I am suggesting that citizen reporters are much better at giving you the unvarnished truth even though many of us have our own biases and agendas. As many of you know, I consistently point out the bloggers that serve their masters. That is exactly why citizen reporters are the future of the news business.

Ultimately, you, the news consumer is the best judge to understand and digest the news of the day. The more viewpoints delivered to you the better understanding you can attain. Ultimately, as with everything else, it is your responsibility to separate the news from the misinformation. Unfiltered news is what should be creating the historical record, not the digested and filtered news that the various agenda drivers want you to see.

Next time you hear or read a “professional” newsperson bemoan the citizen reporters consider the source.

6 thoughts on “Brian Williams: Bloggers vs. “Professional” Journalists

  1. Martin, the first error you made is to state that Williams was suspended by NBC. He volunteered to be off the air for six months.

    The problem with professional journalism is that it has become a ratings competition based on whom we like best and which opinion is closest to our idealogy. So it becomes the best bs artist. Get back to reporting facts without any slant and things will change.

    Remember the Killing Fields, based on a true story. Sidney was the reporter and he placed his assistant Prang in serious danger by begging him to stay instead of being evacuated. Prang suffered for many years as a result, before he was able to escape Kampuchea(Cambodia). Sidney was looking for the Pulizter Prize.

    Walter Kronkite, a respected journalist and had great trust and respect from the public. He did not report the facts about the Tet Offensive of Jan 31, 1968. He went on the air and expressed his opinion of Tet. He stated we had lost the war ! That started the down hill roll. The facts are, 67% of the VC force was decimated. But the damage was already done and continues today.

    Bloggers are a different breed, they don’t have to be accurate or factual. They are commenters that decided they are good enough to control the discussions. Some get paid, some don’t. If the blogger doesn’t have a regular source of income, he becomes Have Blog will Travel. We don’t know if the blogger has been bought or
    not. Some are better at obtaining information than others, but then you wonder is the blog slanted? If so why? Benefit an agenda, no facts only rumors or innuendo ?

    In the end, we just have to decide who we believe or comes closest to slanting to stroke the idealogical ego. It becomes so and so posted that and it agrees with me do it has to be true. We are left without reliable and credible stories.

    1. For clarity, Brian Williams offered and took a “few” days after the scandal broke. It was understood that a “few” days meant about three days. Subsequent to that, the network announced a six month suspension without pay and that they were conducting an investigation into Williams. As of this morning I am aware of six instances where there exists questions about Williams factual reporting on events and his related actions.

      Thank you for your comments,
      Martin

  2. Brian Williams is the one being sacrificed for this outfit of liars – NBC, let’s face it, it’s a team effort. As anchor he was the well-paid celebrity at 10 million per year (read that figure somewhere) and he went around on the night shows promoting himself and his tv station, that was his job. There are producers, editors, camera people, and others involved in the news rackets and as long as the lies (let’s stop with the euphemism, it is lying not embellishing) aren’t questioned, they continue with their scams, trying to out-do the other lying news outfits. Now Brian being the star of this outfit, he’s the one that has to take the fall, remember Ollie North? It’s understood. Real investigative journalists like Seymour Hersh or Robert Fisk you never see on MSM.

    So he takes himself out (it’s team’s strategy) and when the outfit sees that it will take more than a mea culpa from the star then they decide to suspend him for six months without pay. What they are doing is testing to see if they can salvage the star after all it is a good face; right gender, right color, nice touch of cockiness, and that air of gravitas just-so for the evening news. Now if he had been a member of a lower caste, he would have been out on his ass in a New York minute. I don’t think he is going to survive because I’ve been reading ‘his boss and Tom Brokaw had been warning him about embellishing his stories’ this more than likely started by boss and Tom to distance themselves, self-preservation.
    Or maybe, just maybe, they want him out because there is something else going on and this is the right time to kick his ass under the bus, raptors do it raptors after all.

    Bloggers on the other hand provide their views and may or may not have agendas, but they also provide sources/citations and we the readers go check these and more often than not come across other sources and on and on. So in an indirect way bloggers and their readers’ comments do provide news but in the end we the reader make the decisions.

    1. How much control does he have over content or is that dictated to him? What bothered me about the Williams affair was that the NYT (Dowd) and HuffPo hopped on the let’s diss Brian bandwagon immediately like it was coordinated. It is as if he’s being taken out and they couldn’t catch him in a honey trap like Spitzer and DSK, so they got him on embellishment.

      What was he going to report that they needed to take him out so quickly? Has he been talking to Snowden?

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