You might ask how Brian Williams got away with telling so many lies for so many years. Well, he didn’t do it all on his own. The whole time, he had an entire national broadcasting company covering for him.
How arrogant did it make him? This is how arrogant it made him. Gabriel Sherman, New York:
One can only imagine that Williams was wishing his anchor escape plan had worked out and that he was the host of The Tonight Show right now. According to two NBC insiders, when the network decided to move on from Jay Leno a few years ago, Williams lobbied NBC executives to give him the host’s chair. “Brian wants to be a late-night comedian,” one former colleague explained. “He traded on being Nightly News anchorman-war-reporter to ingratiate himself with Jimmy, Lorne Michaels, and Jon Stewart.”
Why would this guy think any of the rules applied to him? He could do the news, and then the car and/or plane would take him to do his slightly-more-hip-Ted-Baxter act on some late-night TV show, and everybody threw money at him and told him he was great. He had it made.
Who would care about a few dozen “misrememberances” along the way?
Sure, Williams’ friends and colleagues warned him about his serial lying again and again, but what did they know? Did they have Letterman eating out of the palms of their hands? Could they get away with slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon? Did all the kids love them? They were just jealous.
You know what? I’ll bet NBC actually offered Williams The Tonight Show gig. He probably turned it down for reasons of journalistic integrity. Or maybe because it would interfere with his other career as a masked crime-fighter. Not sure yet. I’ll let him tell the story.