Readers at this site know that I called for the head of Brian Williams after he insulted veterans everywhere with his flight of fantasy about being in combat when in reality he was just a spectator far from the danger. I still believe that Brian Williams and everyone else at NBS who knew he was lying—and I suspect there are plenty of those—should be shown the door permanently. In fact, why not just close down NBC’s entire news division and good riddance. Having made my views clear, I now want to suggest that unwittingly Brian Williams has done conservatives everywhere a favor. Before you conclude that I have—in the words of Margaret Thatcher—gone “wobbly” on liberals, let me explain.
Because Brain Williams got caught up in his own web of deceit, there is now one less liberal commentator among the army of them employed by the mainstream media. Admittedly this is a very small step in the right direction, but it is a step nonetheless. But Williams’ perfidy did more than just undermine the credibility of NBC, it undercut the credibility of all three of the major broadcast networks—liberal bulwarks of the mainstream media. A review of the impact Williams’ imitation of Walter Mitty has had on NBC, CBS, and ABC is revealing:
- Viewership for NBC Nightly News dropped by 36 percent in the aftermath of Williams’ half-hearted apology for lying.
- Viewership for CBS dropped by 17 percent.
- Viewership for ABC dropped 16 percent.
- A Rasmussen poll found that 40 percent of Americans are now less likely to believe what they hear reported on NBC Nightly News.
By exaggerating his involvement in an attack on an American helicopter in Iraq in 2003 and then trying to cover his tracks with an explanation that just raised more questions about his credibility—if not his sanity—Brian Williams managed to turn thousands of viewers away from the networks. Considering that ABC, NBC, and CBS have allowed their news programs to devolve into little more than propaganda outlets for liberal politicians and causes, this is a good thing. Fewer people getting their news from NBC, CBS, or ABC means fewer people being fed a diet of leftwing propaganda and anti-American tripe every night. With any luck, viewers who have given up on the big three networks will transfer their loyalty to Fox News where they will at least come closer to hearing the truth. Who knows, they might even start reading The Washington Times or the Weekly Standard.
Thanks to cable television and the Internet, viewership of all three major network news programs was already on the decline even before the Brian Williams fiasco. With his flight of fantasy, Williams has greased the skids on their downhill slide. For doing this conservatives, patriots, and thinking people everywhere should thank him. Williams has been suspended for six months. Will he be back? Probably. Americans have short memories and tend to forgive those who tearfully apologize, even when the apology is scripted, choreographed, and as artificial as plastic. But one the other hand people are creatures of habit. If viewers who are disenchanted with NBC for playing fast and loose with the truth change their loyalty to Fox, talk radio, or the Internet, they might just break their lifelong addiction to the mainstream media. One can only hope.