The Oberlin Review

Lying Embedded in Political Tradition

James Millette, Professor Emeritus, Africana Studies

May 8, 2015

To the Editor: Poor Brian Williams! Now that we are all sticklers for truth, we just have no place in our noble profession for those who are fiddling with it. Tut! Tut! Time was when it was a hallmark of our profession to place false stories in random places so that they could be picked up as “sources” for more stories that could be laundered to look like truth, no matter how they smelled. Does this mean that lying is now extinct in the journalistic profession? That Iraq really was invaded to find WMDs? That the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a job-killer? That the minimum wage should not be raised because it will kill the economy? That billionaires should be paid million-dollar incomes in order to grow...

Williams Controversy Highlights Perils of Fame in Objective Journalism

Editorial Board

February 20, 2015

Media lenses turned inward last week when NBC announced its Feb. 10 decision to suspend Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Revelations that the Emmy Award–winning news personality had repeatedly misrepresented his experiences reporting on a 2003 Iraq War mission left the news network reeling, trying to assess damage done to the network’s credibility. Williams delivered an on-air apology on Feb. 4 for what he called a “mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” but his words were quickly overshadowed by a media cycle determined to scrutinize stories from throughout the anchor’s Nightly News tenure. On the same day as the suspension, revered newsroom comedian Jon Stewart announced that he would be l...

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