The latest: Williams lied about this trip to Israel in 2006.
Right after the trip, Williams reported that there was rocket fire on the ground below as he rode in a helicopter with an Israeli general. But a year later, in 2007, he claimed that “there were Katyusha rockets passing just underneath the helicopter I was riding in.”
One point that should be made clear here is that there is no such thing as a pathological liar who is not a sociopath. After the last Williams post an anonymous commenter asked if it were possible to be a pathological liar but not be a sociopath. I responded:
Good question. Theoretically it should be possible, but I've never seen it. Pathological liars are always sociopaths, and always have the rest of the characteristics that go along with the lying: lack of remorse, lack of shame, impulsiveness, disloyalty, an ability to perform on a public stage (lack of nerves), etc.
When you think about it, to be as much of a self-serving fabulist as Williams is, you can't feel shame. And if you can't feel shame, it's because you have no conscience. And if you have no conscience, all the other characteristics fall into place.
Most of us don't tell self-aggrandizing lies because it just wouldn't feel right. If we claimed an accomplishment falsely, we wouldn't be able to enjoy basking in the reflected glory because we'd feel too much like a jerk for having falsely claimed it. That's because we can feel shame.
When someone tells a lie like that, he's also effectively being disloyal to whomever he's lying to, by misleading them. If you think so little of people that you don't think twice about fooling them, then you have no regard for others. And such lies are usually spur of the moment acts, reflecting a certain lack of impulse control.
So all of these traits are interrelated.
I've always felt that the two most obvious signs of sociopathy are serial killing and pathological lying. One, of course, is far worse than the other. But both reflect the same basic inability to feel shame or remorse, i.e., sociopathy.
So, psychologically speaking, Brian Williams is far closer to Ted Bundy than he is to the rest of us. Williams may not have that psychological quirk which caused Bundy to need to kill someone to get off sexually. But he is equally incapable of shame or embarrassment.
If you've ever seen Williams on TV, you can see that while he comes across a little pretentious, with that faux-thoughtful full-of-gravitas anchorman delivery, he doesn't come across as evil. (Even if, if push came to shove, he would be more capable of it than most.)
He doesn't look evil, either. In fact, he looks like the nice Irish Catholic boy next door. And yet, when I look at pictures of him now, somehow that crooked smile of his seems…..crooked:
Hindsight is, of course, 20-20. But the way his nose veers off to his right, and his mouth semi-offsets that by curling up to the left, now appears reflective of an intrinsic dishonesty.
Ascribing character to facial features is foolish. But look at the following two pictures and tell me you don't have the same reaction:
Williams' next public statement will probably be some sort of solemn semi-apology to his viewers for having stretched the truth, and a claim that he will be seeking help for his problem, as if it is some isolated quirk that can be cured.
But pathological lying is never an isolated quirk, and sociopathy can never be cured.