THE BLOG

In Defense of Brian Williams and Any Other Anchorman Who Makes Up a Story

02/09/2015 01:42 pm ET | Updated Apr 10, 2015

See now I thought that's how the late night talk shows worked. The celebrity sits down next to the host, and then he or she embellishes a personal story to make their boring, shallow life seem interesting. Unless it's Keith Richards, who doesn't need to make stuff up.

And that's what Brian Williams is- a celebrity. He's not a Congressman. He's not a religious leader. He's a guy on TV, just like Charlie Sheen and the Bachelor and Chaz Bono... well, I mean, not exactly like Chaz Bono... although they do have the same mother.

Opinion polls show that Brian Williams, by exaggerating his peril in a military helicopter, has lost his credibility. Credibility to do what?! Read a teleprompter? Heck, the Muppets could sit at a desk and tell me there's another big snowstorm in the Northeast and the Patriots deflated the footballs and whatever else passes for important news now. "And now with the latest Presidential polls, two years before the election, we go to Miss Piggy."

Credibility? CNN questioned the possibility that a lost airplane might have been swallowed up by a black hole. Al Sharpton hosts his own show on MSNBC. The FOX News Children's Cartoon Network is now an actual news channel. (Though Sean Hannity still hosts a comical kids show on weeknights at ten.) The View is part of the ABC network's news division. Yes, you read that right. And on CBS, Sharon Osbourne spends an hour a day on The Talk giving America her opinions. Have you ever watched The Talk? It feels sort of like going three rounds with Mike Tyson, but if he's only allowed to punch you in the nuts.

Look, Brian Williams made up a story for the same reason every guy makes up stories- to impress women. Heck, the way *I* tell it at bars, not only did my plane go down, but I saved a dozen puppies along the way. And Kanye was flying the plane. (Although I'm thinking of removing the Kanye part because it seems to turn women off.)

An anchorman made up a personal story- unrelated to the factual information he reports during his news broadcasts- and then he was caught in a lie and then he apologized. And now it's done. Human beings make mistakes. It's just not a big deal. This affects nobody. I know you want it to be a big deal because Williams got lucky in his career and he's rich and successful and we hate that. And being fake outraged and self-righteous enables us to mask our own human shortcomings. But to lose one's job is a big deal, and I don't think we should be so flippant in calling for one's dismissal, unless they make a living writing those GEICO commercials.

Network news is a business. It's about making money, just like Burger King or charter schools. NBC News has an audience. If the viewers no longer want to watch Brian Williams, they'll stop watching. And NBC will let Williams go. But if the viewers don't care about Williams' "scandal", or if they forgive him, then they'll keep watching. And NBC will continue to put Williams up in a diamond-encrusted Manhattan apartment with six butlers and pay him millions of dollars. This is capitalism, and it's as American as eating apple pie and catfishing losers on-line.

Perhaps fans of Brian Williams want to watch him anchor the news. Why do you want to prevent this from happening? Why do you care? I mean, are you just talking about this because it's fun to talk about? Okay, fine. But if you, a person who has never watched an entire news broadcast hosted by Brian Williams, anyway, are truly outraged over the fact that he exaggerated a story on a talk show that you don't watch, anyway, and now you're demanding he be fired... well, then, buddy, you need to reexamine your life. Being overcome by irrational anger all the time just can't be healthy. That's why those lunatic parents who scream at the umpire during their kids' Little League games die young... or at least hopefully they do.

According to a poll in Variety magazine, 80% of people who saw some of Brian Williams' apology believe he should be fired. That's a lot of people. Although I bet the majority of Americans believe the following people should also be fired: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, all Congressmen but their own, NFL referees, the local weatherman, the waiter who is taking forever to bring you your food, and Kim Kardashian from anything she does. I've heard it said that Americans are a forgiving people. No we're not. We're assholes. And when people get fired, we think they're lazy because they don't have a job. Damn welfare recipients.

That Brian Williams made up a story, on camera, that could easily be refuted by other witnesses is kind of weird. I could try to analyze what he was thinking, but I don't care enough to do that. In fact, I don't care about anything involving Brian Williams. I don't even watch NBC News. His daughter is cute, though.

But I'm continuously fascinated and puzzled by the public's zealous anger over situations that amount to nothing. Everything is not the end of the world. Do you know what is the end of the world? Zealous anger. This is what leads to road rage and spousal abuse and ISIS.