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Tags: brian williams | suspended | nbc | lies | media | reaction | tv

Bernie Goldberg: Brian Williams Either 'Delusional' or 'Flat-Out' Liar

By    |   Tuesday, 10 February 2015 10:04 PM EST

Bernard Goldberg, who wrote a book on bias at CBS News, said "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams is either delusional or lying about his past exploits.

NBC  punished Williams with a six-month unpaid suspension for making false statements on Tuesday.

Goldberg, appearing on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File," said there are two possible explanations for Williams' stories: "One is that he's delusional. I mean, that's a mental illness. And the other is that he just flat-out lies a lot."

If he simply lies a lot, it's because that's what celebrities do all the time, Goldberg said.

"They go on TV shows, and they make up stories, because in the United States of entertainment, the country in which we all live, being uninteresting is the greatest sin you could commit," he said.

But celebrities get away with it because no one cares, he said. "And I think, unless he's delusional … he lied the way celebrities always lie."

Goldberg told Kelly he had expected Williams to weather the storm until the story made the front page of The New York Times, essentially giving the rest of the media permission to pile on.

CNN's Brian Stelter said he was shocked by the six-month suspension, and said viewers likely expect Williams never to return.

"Six months is such a long period of time that this will become permanent with Lester Holt," Stelter said on "Anderson Cooper 360."

Holt has been filling in for Williams since Monday after Williams suspended himself. The Drudge Report on Tuesday reported that "Today" show host Savannah Guthrie was topping the list of replacements.

"Does he come back and if he does, does it dredge everything up again?" asked the Hollywood Reporter's Marisa Guthrie.

Guthrie said things may have gone differently for Williams had he not made what many saw as an insincere apology after a former soldier challenged his account of being in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire in Iraq in 2003.

Williams was actually in a helicopter that landed at least half an hour later, and he only saw the chopper that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

"If he had made a transparent, full-throated apology immediately, I think it would have been a lot different," Guthrie said.

Stelter, CNN's media reporter, called it the media version of the cover-up being worse than the crime itself.

Host Anderson Cooper said Williams' tales, which included seeing a body float by his hotel and facing roving gangs during Hurricane Katrina, don't sound like simple misremberings because every one of them make Williams sound brave and bolstered his standing.

Cooper said if Williams comes back, then confronts a politician or other person he is interviewing about being untruthful, it will remind everyone of his own untruthfulness.

"I had a person at NBC say to me, I can never trust him again," Stelter said.

"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace told Fox's "The Kelly File" that no one will recreate the trust Walter Cronkite once commanded, but that Williams had been the most trusted of the current crop of anchors.

Megyn Kelly said at the opening of her show that Williams will not be forgiven and won't survive professionally unless he offers a "full-throated mea culpa."

"The road back for Brian Williams may be painful and humiliating, but this job, which some of us are so privileged to hold, is worth fighting for," Kelly said. "And my bet is, he will."

Fox's Brit Hume told Kelly he worked alongside Williams during the Clinton administration, and always saw him as a "straight-shooter and a fine television news anchor."

His repeated tall tales may be hard to come back from, though, Hume said.

Fox News' media reporter Howard Kurtz said the six-month suspension may well be an attempt to save Williams' job, because "his apology was so weak and lame and contained inaccuracies."

Williams had to be seen as paying a price, Kurtz said. "And we need to learn a lot more from him — now, or six months from now — explaining, asking the public's forgiveness."

"It may be in six months, our culture, we've moved on to other outrages and scandals, and he can slide back in the chair," Kurtz said, or "it may be by that time he's toast."

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Bernard Goldberg, who wrote a book on bias at CBS News, said "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams is either delusional or lying about his past exploits.
brian williams, suspended, nbc, lies, media, reaction, tv, anchors
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 10:04 PM
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