Saturday, February 7, 2015


Dear Brian Williams,

Why did you lie when you had so much to lose and absolutely nothing to gain?

Was not the fame, fortune, and celebrity status you achieved good enough for you?
Perhaps, there was some void created in your younger life that needed to be filled and
you saw this as a quick way to do it.

But of all things, why did you have to lie about what didn't happen to you in a war?

Thousands of journalists before you have covered wars, giving us first-hand accounts
of bombs blasting and people dying in the streets.  With all due respect, nobody
remembers any of them for their bravery, courage, and valor.

That will always belong to the men and women that do the actual fighting, you know,
the ones you insulted incredibly with your tall tale of being in a helicopter that was
hit by enemy fire? You should know that while you may be "with" them in battle,
you can never be like them in battle because they are one the ones who have to pull
the trigger, kill or be killed while fighting for our country.

It's OK to lie to your friends about the big fish you reeled in or the incredibly beautiful
girl you dated in high school. Everybody has done it. Beauty is always in the eye of the
beholder and the size of the fish always seems to get bigger and bigger as the years go
by and the story gets retold over and over. No biggie.

But lying about being in a helicopter that was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade most
likely fired  by a member of the Taliban? No, you don't lie about those things, especially
when you're the face of NBC News and the company that pays you millions of dollars
and makes commercials proclaiming you are a man of impeccable character and integrity
and one that everyone can trust.

I presume you are a pretty smart guy to have climbed the ladder to get into the network
anchor chair. In this social media driven world where seemingly everyone one partakes
in "gotcha journalism", you had to know you'd be found out sooner or later. There is
always someone, somewhere, and in some place who is just a tweet away from bringing
out the truth and it sure happened to you.

You can pull a Roger Clemens and say you 'misrembered' because in this 'believe
everything you hear world', there are many who will buy your apology. Unfortunately
for you, the harshest critics and those with a shred of common sense have not

Like a wedding, the birth of a child, graduation, and a state championship, people,
no matter how much time has passed, don't forget about near death experiences, especially
ones where they allegedly (wink, wink) got hit by an RPG covering a war. It just
doesn't happen. Never. Anywhere, anytime. At least not to people who are still young
and have all their faculties in place.

If you lied about that, it's reasonable to question what else you have lied about
or spun in your own creative way over the years. You led NBC to a ratings winners
and the millions of dollars that go with it. Perhaps, you got lost in your celebrity
with all those appearances on the late night talk shows and it all went to your
head. Heck, we've seen it happen many times before.

I realize social media has been very harsh to you---pictures of you walking on the
moon, knocking down the Berlin Wall, and saving Private Ryan have appeared for
everyone to see and laugh about. It's got to hurt and I feel for you.

We live in a harsh world, but at the same time, a very forgiving one, so there is still
a chance, albeit a small one, that you may be able to recover from this. Lara Logan
of '60 Minutes' messed up a story on Benghanzi real badly and dinged the credibility
of not only herself but CBS. She got suspended for eight months, but she's back on the air

It's a shame, really. For 10 years, you're on top of the world as a credible and likable
network news anchor and then you become the butt of a million and one jokes in an

You had it made. Money, status, and on the way to becoming a news legend. You
replaced an icon in Tom Brokaw with style, poise, and a mountain of credibility
which is all but gone now.

It's tragic, but you may be gone soon as well. The network has to decide if our
country will forgive you and it will keep you as the golden goose that has made
them a fistful of dollars, ($200 million in 2013)  Or they could succumb to the pressure
and the court of pubic opinion and get security to walk you out the door with all
your boxes.

It's all about money, always has been, always will be. So, you have that going
for you.

Best of luck. I really do hope things work out for you.

Paul Devlin

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