When I was 6 years old I jumped off of a wall and broke my leg. I remember it like it was yesterday. Unfortunately it wasn’t. It was 52 years ago. I remember how my wife had the shakes during the birth of our son 31 years ago. I remember the thrill of competition I enjoyed in my first Boston Marathon 21 years ago. I have a hard time believing that if someone’s helicopter was or was not hit over a war zone 12 years they would have a problem remembering that. I think you’d remember that incident the rest of your life.
Are we in a society where because we are so quick and have to be the first, that we sensationalize, exaggerate and say whatever we want to get the attention of the viewing public? Where is the commitment and responsibility to the news and the accountability to people as someone who brings the news and impacts our life?
Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. Those commitments are both spoken and unspoken. Does a journalist have an unspoken commitment to tell us the truth? Mr. Williams, there has to be a commitment that you are telling the truth because we are relying on you. We form opinions based on your information. We vote based on the words that come out of your mouth. We get into heated debates with our friends based on what we heard you say last night. What is your commitment to us?
If you just want to tell stories then ok, make it up. But then please change the name of the show from ‘NBC Nightly News’ to something like ‘NBC Evening Story Time’ with Brian Williams.
And this holds true for corporate executives, workers and our families. What are you telling your employees? What are you telling your co-workers? What are you telling your family members? If it is anything less than the truth stop and consider the consequences. Oh, and exaggeration and leaving out part of the truth is like not telling the truth.
Your credibility is shot Mr. Williams. Don’t be mad at us for that. You went down that road and then you continued down that road when you didn’t have the courtesy to right your wrong. Yes, we do make mistakes but if we sincerely recognize those mistakes, then and only then, are we moving to correct our actions, repair our commitment and be accountable to the people we serve.