When it comes to trust, I sympathize with Brian Williams.
The former NBC anchor has been on a whirlwind tour of late, apologizing to every living organism except his houseplants and vowing to never again insist he was present when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Critics reporting on Williams' fall consistently reference statistics compiled by The Marketing Arm, a Dallas-based marketing and promotions firm that ranks celebrities in categories including appeal, endorsement potential and trustworthiness. Williams' trust ranking currently sits at 3,367, alongside rapper Eminem, football player Reggie Bush and some presidential wannabe named Trump. Prior to the scandal, Williams ranked at No. 23. If it's any consolation, Williams can take heart knowing Taylor Swift ranked 1,140 in appeal, alongside lesser known celebrities such as professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek. I'm guessing Swift's rating dropped after survey participants found little appeal in hearing Bad Blood played every 7.3 seconds on commercial radio stations.
As the father of two daughters, I have seen my ranking in the "Most Trusted Dad" category plunge faster than the Chinook helicopter Williams never rode in. During their toddler and preschool years, I occupied the top spot; heck, I occupied the top 10 spots. For it was me who ran behind the two-wheeled bikes they tried to master, loosely gripping the seats and repeating, "Keep pedaling, I've got you." As they stood on the edge of the diving board contemplating their initial jumps, it was me treading water in the pool's deep end with encouraging and outstretched arms. It was me who checked under the bed and far into their closets for monsters who might sully their dreams.
Now both are teenagers; last time I checked, on the trust list I sat somewhere between used car salesman and Satan. I'm the guy who my 18-year-old insists has ulterior motives when I hug her at 1 a.m. and say, "How was your evening?" This despite my insistence that my deep breaths are necessary for me to continue living and I am not sniffing for hints of alcohol or pharmaceuticals on her person. (OK, maybe I am. Kids today are so perceptive.)
Then there's my 13-year-old, somehow convinced I am taking her phone during the eight seconds a day she does not have it surgically attached to her palm, and scrolling through her texts. Or that I am eavesdropping on her conversations when she grows tired of texting and uses the phone for its original use - two way verbal communication.
I've emailed Matt Lauer, hoping for a sit-down interview in which I bare my soul and apologize not only for these indiscretions, but also past instances in which I may have "misremembered" the facts in my attempt to, as Williams stated, "better my role in a story I was already in." No answer so far. So, instead, I have composed a statement that I will read aloud to both daughters should they ever choose to open their bedroom doors:
Girls, I have listened to the "Black Box" of fatherhood and uncovered numerous instances where a poor choice of words caused me to mislead people. One of you, I can't remember which, hit a home run during a Little League game, a "fact" I proudly stated to your grandparents. In my attempt to bring myself closer to the story, I neglected to say the left fielder bobbled the ball. In reality, it should have been scored "Triple, E-7." For that I am sorry.
Many times, your report cards contained nothing but As. But a closer examination reveals you may have achieved those marks by turning in extra credit work or participating in philanthropy projects. So I misspoke again. Instead of saying, "My daughters are straight-A students," I should have said, "My daughters received high marks, made possible through due diligence and their insistence on helping others." That's more accurate.
I am certain there are numerous other instances where I bragged about your exploits by embellishing facts or using a sloppy choice of words. My proud Dad ego got the best of me. It won't happen again.
Now please turn off Bad Blood and open your doors.
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