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Friday, February 6, 2015

Brian Williams lied about Hurricane Katrina as well

An excerpt from an article in the NY Post this morning:

More heroic tales of Brian Williams' adventures in journalism are being questioned…

Williams claimed to have gotten dysentery from drinking flood water and seeing dead bodies float past his hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter while covering Hurricane Katrina.

However the The New Orleans Advocate noted that the French Quarter was not flooded and quoted a local health expert who did not recall anyone getting such a stomach ailment.

The level of Williams' lying is now starting to sound almost sociopathic, so I looked him up on Wikipedia to see what I could find. But there was nothing about either his early background or personal life that jumped out as a red or even yellow flag for sociopathy. 

That doesn't mean he's not one, of course. There are plenty of sociopaths who come from outwardly normal backgrounds, whose parents simply did not love them the way parents should. So they end up as glib liars who are good at projecting an air of sincerity.

Most of the reporters who were found to have made up their stories (Jason Blair, Stephen Glass, Janet Cooke) gave off an air of sociopathy. Will Brian Williams go down as a member of that club?

It's the skill with which Williams lies that is most disconcerting. He'll say that his own harrowing experience paled compared to what other people were going through, a falsely modest touch that lends a bit of credibility to what he's saying. 

When nonsociopaths lie, they tend to give themselves away with some sort of tell: a sheepish expression on their face, a catch in their voice, a certain hesitancy. When sociopaths lie, they do so with the same full-throated, look-you-straight-in-the-eye conviction that most people use when telling the truth. Just like Williams does. 

And then, it's the way they lie about their lies when caught that is most telling: to explain a lie with the poetic phrase "the fog of memory" and to say that constant viewing if war footage caused you to "conflate" the story of your helicopter with that of another helicopter is simply dishonesty piled upon dishonesty.

I'm not saying that Brian Williams is a sociopath -- yet. But the evidence seems to be headed in that direction. Stay tuned. 

By the way, did I ever tell you that I won the Medal of Honor? 

Oh, wait a sec, the fog of memory just caused me to conflate my story with that of Michael Murphy.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking at him in a different light, also suspecting that he has a definite problem with fabricating stories.


Anonymous said...

Even if he has been caught he will come back fine, they always do.

Chuck in a bit of the "What moi?" charm and life continues.

A normal person would be filled with remorse and make a genuine apology.


John Craig said...

Andrew --
I'm not so sure Williams hasn't been mortally wounded by this. NBC has evidently set up a Williams truth squad" to look into all of his past statements. If they find more, I suspect his career is toast.

Mark Caplan said...

Brian "Copter" Williams and Hillary "Sniper Fire" Clinton show that truth can be funnier than fiction.

My English-major wife mentioned that the stock comic character the Braggart Soldier dates back at least to Roman times. Shakespeare's Falstaff is literature's prime example, although my own favorite is Commander McBragg:

John Craig said...

Mark --
My son, who actually served with the infantry in Afghanistan, says that 90% of war stories are at the very least exaggerations. And he's talking about stories from soldiers who actually were in war.

But to me, there's a world of difference between being one of those guys who actually signed up to put his life on the line (even if they subsequently embellished their stories), and being a casual observer -- like Williams or Clinton -- who claimed false valor.

Mark Caplan said...

John Craig - You're right about Brian Williams, but you're forgetting that Hillary served her country as co-commander in chief for eight perilous years.

John Craig said...

Mark Caplan --
Ha! True, I'd forgotten about two-for-the-price-of-one.