At Breaking Modern Today: My essay about Brian Williams

You can tell a lot about a society’s values from its lies.

After World War II, Germany abandoned its old values of obedience, conformity, militarism and most recently, Nazism. When veterans of the SS were asked about their military service in the form of that most famous question “what did you do during the war, daddy?” they lied about it. They either claimed that they hadn’t served at all, or that they had served in the regular army, or if there was no way to deny having been in the SS, said they had been nowhere near any atrocities or death camps.

Postwar Germany’s liars projected positive values: anti-militarism, anti-fascism, pacifism, principled opposition to violence.

Here in the United States, our liars lie about the exact opposite things — and their lies reveal an awful set of societal values…

Please check out the whole thing over at Breaking Modern.

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at, editor-in-chief of, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

7 thoughts on “At Breaking Modern Today: My essay about Brian Williams

  1. One of the most irritating aspects of the John Kerry campaign was his claiming to be a war hero in a war he famously went to Washington to speak against. He got out of the war as soon as he received enough nicks and medals and then started his political career at the Senate hearing. Kerry’s political career has been to “have it both ways”; about everything.
    In a debate, George W. Bush said of Kerry something like: I don’t think I understood your answer to that question but my opinion is….
    Nothing matters to ambitious people but self-promotion. It is all about their egos. The proof is in the ratings or in the votes. These people are amoral.

    • Absolutely. But that amorality is expected. When I put a bowl of kibble down in front of the dog, I do not expect table manners. I expect the dog to “wolf” it down, lick the bowl clean and then go sniffing around for more.

      In Williams’ case, there’s dozens of people who should have taken him aside long ago and told him to knock it off.

      But, seeing as the NBC press release said something about “family,” I think it’s safe to say that Williams will be gone pretty soon. He’ll take a few days off so that public perception can be monitored. If he manages to BS everyone with his smarmy charmy awshucks good old boy routine, he’ll be back.

      If not, he’ll “reluctantly” announce that, although he did nothing wrong whatsoever, his critics, who simply hate his success and achievement, have forced him, reluctantly, to step down.

  2. Well, I see that NBC issued a statement that mentioned the “NBC family.” So here’s how it’ll go down:
    1. NBC will issue the result of their tough (but fair) investigation: Bri-Bri made an honest error by his “conflation,” we’re all human, pencils have erasers, etc.

    2. At some point in the very near future, Mr. Williams will resign to spend more time with his non-NBC family.

    3. The whole thing will simply be shrugged off.

    4. Williams will have a crappy biography ghost-written for him, for of pseudo-patriotic baloney.

  3. He probably pissed a girl (or boy) friend off, and they informed BW they were going to “out” the endemic dishonesty that he had bragged to them about. Consequently, he let his bosses know so they could turn an evolving turd-circumstance into some kind of fairy-tale lemon aide.

    So now? Stay low for a year or so, then get reassigned on some real war-sponsorship front line (without the blue-screen), and appear uncommonly heroic. It really does work, just as long as you can trust your corporate bosses NOT to covertly martyr your ass for that last, momentary better ratings that it may produce.

    Good luck.


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