WASHINGTON, February 7, 2015 — “He cannot tell a lie,” his defenders say of Brian Williams, “he simply misremembers.” The NBC news reader is in hot water for claiming — untruthfully — to have been aboard a U.S. military helicopter that was fired upon in Iraq in 2003.
Disgraced former CBS news reader Dan Rather said in defense of Williams, “Brian is an honest, decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor – and a brave one … he is a superb pro …”
Rather was tossed off the CBS Evening News in 2004 when an internal investigation found he knowingly used forged documents to accuse GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush of desertion from the Texas Air National Guard.
In a glowing profile of the crackpot dissembler, The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta said that on the door to Rather’s CBS office were written these words in fading gold script:
“Go tell the Spartans, thou who passest by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”
Rather told Auletta that the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae were “loyal to the very end. Loyal to their beliefs. Loyal to their code.”
Sparta was a diabolical totalitarian state. The Spartan Code, wrote historian Heinz Herrmann, “produced good soldiers and nothing more,” and “made vigor of body a graceless brutality because it killed nearly all capacity for the things of the mind.”
The Spartans, so admired by Rather, had two narrow goals: preventing a slave revolt and striving toward the fundamental transformation of democratic Athens – through brutal conquest and mindless regimentation.
For one brief, shining moment, Rather thought the left’s monopoly over network news could change the outcome of an election. New-media bloggers, however, presented expert evidence casting doubt on the bogus CBS documents that ended with Rather’s resignation.
It’s getting increasingly more difficult for the mainstream media to maintain its facade of honesty. And so its defenders – the mainstream media – dismiss Williams’ lies as a manifestation of second-hand post traumatic stress.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Researchers have long said that memory is not as straightforward as we tend to think … There are plenty of situations that could influence the creation of false memories, including conversations someone might have with another person, or a news story a person might read … Williams could have developed the false memory that put him onboard a U.S. military helicopter that was hit and forced down by enemy fire in 2003.”
If this is true, can we take anything uttered by a network news reader as credible? Is the life of a network news reader so sequestered and lonely they must live vicariously through the stories they tell us each evening? How is the viewing public to know what is true and what is a false memory swimming in the head of our elite guardians of information?
The answers to these questions can’t come from the mainstream media, but only from ourselves. It is incumbent upon all information consumers to understand that the press lives, like the Spartans, by a code that produces “good soldiers and nothing more,” and kills “nearly all capacity for the things of the mind.”
And the sooner we recognize that truth, the sooner we disarm them of their most potent weapon – credibility.