A major, award-winning TV journalist in the United States has had to leave his job for six months.
For 10 years, Brian Williams has been an “anchor” on the popular NBC Nightly News show. (In this case, “anchor” means a person on camera who reads out and reports the news.)
He was suspended (told by his boss to leave his job) for six months without pay because he “misrepresented” some important events that happened to him during the Iraq War.
While Williams was covering the war more than a decade ago, he was in a helicopter with some American soldiers. Williams has been telling people—including during a recent television interview with talk-show host David Letterman—that his helicopter was hit by a grenade and was forced to the ground.
But when he originally reported the story for NBC back in 2003, he reported that the helicopter in front of his was hit by a grenade—not his.
Some soldiers who had been part of the mission pointed out that Williams was misleading the public. Williams later admitted that his helicopter had not been hit.
According to NBC News, Williams has misrepresented the story more than once.
On its website, NBC News said:
As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times… we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.
Some people are now questioning other things Williams says about other situations he has been in.
Williams went on the NBC news and apologized for what he had done. (See video below).
According to Wikipedia, the NBC Nightly News is the most-watched news program in the United States. It is seen by more than 9.3 million viewers each night.
By Jonathan Tilly
We know that telling a lie is not a good thing, but why is it especially bad that Brian Williams was caught changing the details of what occurred to him? In which careers is it most important to be truthful?
Reading Prompt: Points of View
People may feel very different about the truth of Brian Williams story. How might the following people react to this story: a veteran from the war, an executive at NBC, David Letterman, a viewer of NBC Nightly News.
Identify the point of view presented in a text and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).
Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).
Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).
Language Feature: Word Choice
One of the skills that a writer needs to use effectively is word choice. A word can mean a lot of different things to different people, so it’s important that an author considers the specific meaning of the words he or she chooses. Do the activity below and see for yourself!
Rank the words below from the worst (1) to the least bad (5). Have a friend do the same. Compare your lists and see the similarities and differences.
_____ telling a white lie