Williams has now been suspended for six months without pay which means he will make only five million dollars this year instead of ten. It would not be so troubling if Williams had not, even in his apology, lied about the situation that evoked the initial lie, which was alleging that he was shot down in Iraq. It is now being reported that upon further investigation Williams did violence to the truth on a number of occasions, both as the NBC anchor of the Nightly News and on the TV guest and speaker circuit. The most notable of those lies being embedded in Williams' coverage of Hurricane Katrina about observing bodies of dead people float past, below his hotel window and which, in part, resulted in NBC receiving a Peabody Award.
Williams has a long career in broadcasting, is a handsome and well spoken journalist who followed in the steps of some of the giants in television broadcasting. So the question arises, why did he believe it necessary to fabricate when the truth would suffice and his integrity would remain intact? The answer is likely very simple. A Washington Post article explains, ."..he was trying to...basically use himself to make this story more interesting, more powerful." For Williams, lying was evidently intended to cast himself as bigger than life in his own eyes, as much as the eyes of others.
That evokes the question, what is a journalist's job? Is it to report the facts, or "make the story more interesting, more powerful?" Given that the media is a business whose objective is to make money that flows from advertising, which in turn is dependent on viewers who buy products, there is a built in temptation to make ones version more interesting than a competitor's and thereby draw more viewers, sell more advertising and make more money. Given that all anchors and anyone in the business know those fundamental facts, there is a built in temptation to color stories that will produce the desired result. As the GEICO ad begins, "Everybody knows that."
Was anyone harmed by Williams' lying? What is immediately evident is that it has harmed NBC and Williams. It has also further jaded the public perception of journalists and most certainly damaged the integrity of the Company's brand. A related question arises, does it matter given that Clinton did it and seemingly got away with it? Time will tell. Clinton was an expert liar who honed the "skill" to such a fine edge that Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska said of Clinton's predilection to lie, ."..he is an unusually good liar."
Did Clinton's lies do harm? Yes, most notably to the Office of the President, to his own reputation, to his family and to the millions of people who had entrusted him with the security of the Nation and free world. Will Clinton be remembered for a good economy during his tenure or for the semen stain on Lewinski's blue dress? But the worst aspect of his lies was its damage to the United States which up to that point in time had been a beacon of excellence and worthy of the world's admiration and confidence.
What Clinton did not know was that a young mulatto by the name of Barak Hussein Obama was watching and taking lessons. In the fulfillment of time Obama proceeded to steam roll Bill's wife, Hillary, in the Presidential Primaries, putting an end to the Clinton hope of a dynasty. Later Obama let Hillary lick his boots as a "reset," lackluster, dismal, Secretary of State. In that role her most "notable" accomplishment, when questioned about the Benghazi disaster, was her exclamatory question, "At this point, what difference does it make!?"
But "four Pinocchio's" Obama has not only lied, "you can keep your doctor," and "you can keep your insurance," to get "universal" health care enacted, but now is regarded as was Bill Clinton, "if his lips are moving he is lying." Have Obama's lies to sell the Affordable Health Care Act hurt the American people? Some say "yes," others "no."
A lie is an effort by one to deceive or mislead another for some selfish purpose and therefore, there is no such thing as a victimless lie. Witness Obama's lies about traditional versus gay marriage; being a unifier; cutting the budget in half during his first term; and notably, "being the most transparent Administration in history!"
Obama had an opportunity to bring the country together, to lead in a dangerous world, to set a shining example, of which all Americans could be proud. But, his deception and lying has been the most divisive since the Civil War; given Americans the worst economy in the last seventy years featuring declining incomes; fewer people working as a proportion of the population since the great depression of the 1920s; and Federal tax receipts at a record high. The world is an increasingly dangerous place despite his assertions (some would say "lying") that Americans need not be overly concerned about "JV" ISIS/L, Russian aggression in Ukraine, China's mounting "interest" in expanding its regional influence and territory, Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, or North Korea's constant threats.
Lying is an affront to the person being lied to, a blight upon the person who is lying and destructive to both. It is no wonder that Revelation 21:8 carries such a strong message that includes liars:
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
My reading of that passage grants no exceptions, not even Muslims who as a matter of their religion are instructed to use lying as a device to advance Islam.
Obama's National Prayer Breakfast admonition was to the effect that Christians are no better than ISIS/L given the Crusades and other historical events, such as American slavery and Jim Crow laws when some people acting in the name of Christianity behaved unseemly...it is axiomatic that the "best" lies always contain elements of truth.