Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Fog Of... what were we talking about?

Is it possible we're giving Brian Williams too hard a time for "misremembering" the time he wasn't shot down in a helicopter?  I mean, think about it - it was over a dozen years ago, right? And the helicopter he WAS on landed only about an hour behind the one which was shot down... I mean he was practically right on top of them, nearly taking fire...

A Chinook helicopter has a top speed of about just under 200 miles per hour (170 knots, or 196 mph) and a normal cruising speed of about 150 mph (130 knots). That's FAST! You can get, like, anywhere in practically no time at all at those speeds!

Look here:

Click to Enlarge.  Rings with radii of 150 & 196 miles from central Dallas

If you and your camera crew were passing over downtown Dallas, bookin' it high speed because as a journalist you're DEFINITELY over hostile territory (Texas, I mean, especially since Dallas itself is a left/right battleground), and your buddies, your forward guard, those soldiers who've earned and gained your respect, are shot down over Oklahoma City, that's essentially the same thing as being shot at yourself, right? Even if you land without incident?

We all misremember things in the heat of battle, right?  I know I do.

I have a confession to make:  In the 1st grade I was a bully. Pretty mean and nasty one at that. There was this one boy named Blair that I used to beat up almost every day! But at six, I was slightly big for my age, and even though "those were the times", and every single day - rain or shine - all the boys in 1st grade divided up into two teams and beat the stuffing out of each other during recess (at the beginning of the year the teachers all ran out screaming in panic, pulling us apart - after a week or so, they just brought chairs and their lunches outside and watched while we fought, then frisked us for weapons, including speargrass, when recess was over), I admit from this vantage point of nearly 45 years later that my behavior was "wrong".  Relevant case in point: Two years later, after Blair and I had both decamped to separate schools, and then by happenstance were deployed again into the same third school, I was no longer one of the bigger kids in class. In fact I think there was only one boy smaller!

So of course the first time our teacher Ms. Bell left the classroom, Blair swung from behind and knocked me out of my desk with a 2-inch thick textbook before picking me up and breaking the blackboard with the back of my head. In hindsight that was practically to be expected!

The point is, I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I spent the rest of the day in anything other than "the fog of memory". I'm dead solid certain that several things I remember clearly from later that afternoon didn't actually happen, because "physics".

These things are just part of life, people! The main difference, of course, is that I was a coward and kept quiet about what the hallways, walls, lights, and parking lot outside appeared to be doing, whereas Brian Williams manned up and TOLD his story. On live TV! Repeatedly!

But look, people, telling his story was his JOB!

God only knows what I would have said if you'd placed Brian Williams' salary in a briefcase, thrust it into my hands, turned on a camera, and stuck a microphone into the face of 9-year-old concussed ME. Would the audience have been able to see any difference at all in the veracity of our stories?

I say, let's give Brian a break. He's got some pretty rough days ahead. Like Chickenpox and the Mumps, the compulsive telling of wild fabricated stories is least damaging when it's a childhood disease.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, we should give him a break. Insisting he be fired to save the credibility of NBC News is to pretend that NBC News has any credibility left to save.

    Let his presence be a constant reminder that NBC New is basically made up stuff masquerading as information.