The Truth Is Out There…Just Don’t Go Looking For Brian Williams To Provide It…
CNN’s Brian Stelter writes the following…
The NBC P.R. person now says the network can’t confirm which person piloted Williams’ helicopter. The situation remains murky and many questions remain unanswered. (There is somebody that can clear a lot of this up — and that’s Williams.)
Nope. Williams can no longer clear this up. I’ll get to why in a moment…
There are two and only two possible narratives at play here:
Narrative A: Brian Williams indeed has a foggy memory.
Narrative B: Brian Williams outright lied (or embellished) and knew he was doing so.
That’s it. There is no Narrative C.
If it’s Narrative A, Stelter is out of luck because Williams can’t remember the details accurately. So how are we to believe that any possible future remembrances are accurate when he’s already stated his memory is foggy? We can’t.
If it’s Narrative B, Stelter in all likelihood is still out of luck. If Williams prevaricated and knew he was doing so, doubling back on his previous explanation makes him out to be an even bigger liar than people thought he was. And that’s it. He’s done at NBC.
Boom! NBC’s News Division comes crashing down the same way CBS’ News Division came crashing down at the end of Dan Rather’s career.
Think about it. If it was total BS, a lot of other people (not all of them still in NBC’s employ) get dragged into what is usually a Washington D.C. pastime; “What did they know and when did they know it?” It will almost certainly bring NBC News down. ABC News will take over as the #1 nightly news broadcast and NBC will be spending the next five years trying to right the ship Brian Williams self-torpedoed.
Because of all that, the chances of Narrative B leading to a clearing of the air seem like too high a stakes gamble for Williams to contemplate at this point.
This is why I say to Brian Stelter, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get the clearing of the air you seek from Brian Williams.
The wild card is NBC. Right now, it’s in bunker mode and praying night and day that this blows over. But if it becomes apparent to NBC that it’s not going to blow over, that things are trending south and ratings damage is being done, then de-circling the wagons around Williams becomes an increasingly palatable option. If your news division is in the process of crashing down because of one man, you’re going to look long and hard at removing the cause of the crash to stop the damage infliction. NBC could decide to clear the air itself and pin it all on a shifty Williams.
But the above only applies to Narratve B. If Narrative A is the real deal, NBC has to ride this out and so does Williams.
I still lay odds, based on what we know right now, that Williams stays. If CBS can keep Lara Logan on staff and CNN can keep Fareed Zakaria on staff by making use of some incredibly tortured explanations that don’t stand up to close scrutiny, I see no reason why NBC couldn’t keep Williams via similar means.