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Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Residents debunk Brian Williams' encounter with Christmas bandit"

The relevant excerpt from this morning's NY Post article:

In a 2005 interview with Esquire magazine, Williams said a thief drew on him in the 1970s — leaving him “looking up at a thug’s snub-nosed .38 while selling Christmas trees out of the back of a truck.”

He told the tough-to-believe story at least four times, claiming he was trying to help a local church when the thief snatched his money on West Front Street and Riverside Avenue.

“That wasn’t a bad job, until a guy came up and stuck a .38-caliber pistol in my face and made me hand over all the money. Merry Christmas, right? Of course, I suddenly appreciated the other jobs I thought I hated,” he told New Jersey Monthly in 2008.

[The article goes on to quote several long time resident of Red Bank who say it is extremely unlikely that that particular crime would have taken place in that era, especially in that particular location.]

There are a few distinctively sociopathic touches to this tale, too.

First, Williams wasn't just selling Christmas trees to make money -- he was doing it to help a local church. (What a noble guy!)

Second, he injects a falsely self-deprecatory boy-did-that-ever-teach-me-a-lesson note when he claims to have suddenly appreciated all the other jobs he thought he'd hated.

And third, in a weird foreshadowing of his later lie about having been in a helicopter that went down, this Christmas tale puts Williams' life in danger, adding to its drama. (When you think about it, what are the odds that a high school boy would be so familiar with guns -- and so cool under pressure -- that he would be able to identify the caliber of the gun he was facing?)

OK, all these fibs have now reached the level of pathological lying.

Official verdict: Brian Williams is a sociopath. 


Anonymous said...

is it possible to be a pathological liar and not a sociopath ?

it seems possible that he could have empathy , yet realized that his lying helped him advance his career , social status etc... so he honed his craft to become a better liar.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Good question. Theoretically it should be possible to be dishonest and yet have apathy, but I've never seen it. Pathological liars are just always sociopaths, and always have the rest of the characteristics that go along with it: lack of remorse, lack of shame, impulsiveness, disloyalty, an ability to perform on a public stage (lack of nerves), etc.

When you really think about it, to be as dishonest and as much of a dishonest 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.

Nobody is completely honest, and we've all told fibs in our lives. But the kind of consistent and shameless lying that Williams has exhibited, especially at his age, inevitably spells sociopathy.

Quartermain said...

I don't get my news off the tube because I find the talking heads annoying and full of it. They're smug, arrogant, and full of themselves.

I don't doubt that Brian Williams is a sociopath, I just don't think he's the only one.

John Craig said...

Allan --
I agree about most talking heads, but "smug, arrogant, and full of themselves" = narcissism, which usually doesn't rise to the level of sociopathy.

Most of them, while they spin the news to the left and are completely hypocritical that way, think they are doing the right thing, and don't lie about their own exploits the way that Williams has.

Anonymous said...

The lack of shame or embarrassment is amazing....even his apology contained several more lies..."I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG" is a bold faced lie, he was hundreds of miles away on the ground with a different group of aircraft when the attack on the 3 helicopters took place. This was not a mistaken recollection, it was a complete fabrication.

Williams was actually told by NBC executives to stop lying about this incident, as everyone at NBC knew it was a false tale, the fellow NBC crew members knew it was a lie..

John Craig said...

Anon --
I enjoyed the article by Kyle Smith in the Post this morning --

-- in which he quoted a "longtime colleague" of Williams as saying he was "a real pompous piece of shit."

That, too, goes hand in hand with the shameless sociopath diagnosis.

Anonymous said...

My impression of Brian Williams is that he likes to hear himself talk. Personally, I too get so tired of all of the talking heads in the media, overloading the public with news (constant, 24/7 news coverage), most of the news anchors coming across as full of themselves.


Remnant said...

One of the latest articles noted that Williams just cancelled an intended appearance on Letterman that had been scheduled to help him do "damage control."

This to me also indicates sociopathy: Only someone who doesn't understand normal human emotions, reactions and responses, would think that a humorous appearance on Letterman to handle the blowback from his lying would be appropriate.

I'm willing to bet it was Williams' handlers, and not he himself, who made the decision to cancel the appearance. As normal people, not sociopaths, they would have seen instantly what Williams could not: that scheduling such an appearance was bizarre.

John Craig said...

Remnant --
I hadn't even heard of that, but your analysis of it makes perfect sense. Those kinds of subtleties -- in this case not even all that subtle -- are often lost on sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's scary. So you believe that a person cannot be a pathological liar without also being a sociopath? I ask because my brother in law has admitted to being a pathological liar, and went to therapy for this, after some pretty bad stuff went down with my sister, and I've always since worried for her that this could reoccur.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Just re-read our exchange at the beginning of the comments section and see that I had a typo, I mean to say "empathy" when I said "apathy."

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but no, it's not possible to be a pathological liar without being a sociopath. The best thing your sister can do is get away from this guy. Even if the pathological lying doesn't reoccur, sociopathy has a myriad ways to express itself, none of them good.

Your brother-in-law's admission that he is a pathological liar, btw, is a classic case of a sociopath admitting to a lesser evil in order to disguise the bigger one -- sociopathy itself.