RUSH: I think, in honor of the news, in honor of Brian Williams, I want to extend yet another aspect of Open Line Friday that I normally don’t do. I’ve never done this before. You people, you can call here and you can make something up if you like. You can lie about anything. You don’t even have to tell us what you really think about something. You can call here and you can share with us acts of heroism. You can talk to us about the black family you saved at Target one afternoon.
Whatever you want to talk about, just make it up. You can talk to us about the illegal immigrant kid that you saved from measles, and we’ll never be able to do anything other than accuse you of lying. We’ll never be able to prove it. But the point is, it won’t matter. It won’t matter. Tom Brokaw… This is funny. New York Post today: “Tom Brokaw Wants Brian Williams Fired.” You know, I saw that and I didn’t believe it.
I mean, why would Brokaw dump on Brian Williams when he gave Dan Rather an awards dinner? You know, Dan Rather made up that whole thing about George Bush and the National Guard and Bill Burkett and those fake documents and so forth, and the CBS babe that also got canned, Mary Mapes. Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, to save the news — I love saying that, “to save the news.” There isn’t any news.
To save journalism, to spare liberalism, to circle the wagons, they held this big awards dinner for Rather. But now here comes Brokaw, according to New York Post, NBC’s most revered narrative reader “is furious that Brian Williams is still in the anchor chair after he sheepishly admitted that he had not traveled on the helicopter hit by enemy sniper fire.” Guess what, folks? We’ve come to find out that Brian Williams helicopter wasn’t even in the formation that took the original fire.
He was an hour behind.
You know what else?
We’ve also now, because of some local New Orleans paper looking into things, that Brian Williams said that during Hurricane Katrina he was in the French Quarter, he was looking out his hotel room window, and he saw a dead body go floating by. The only problem was there wasn’t any flood in the French Quarter. A body floating by would have been on Bourbon, but it wouldn’t be on floodwaters. Local New Orleans publications say it couldn’t have happened.
A couple of other Hurricane Katrina problems, like what did Williams say he saw, the dead body and…? (interruption) Oh, he said he got dysentery, said he ended up sick because he was doing such a courageous and heroic job covering the news, that he ended up swallowing some of the floodwater and he ended up getting dysentery. So they’ve checked around, they’ve asked, and they can’t find anybody who had dysentery. Not anybody. They can’t find a single person who had dysentery after Katrina.
This is starting to get pathological, and the pathology here seems to indicate that we have a man who needs to be thought of, needs to think of himself as a hero — a very, very brave, heroic guy — and he wants everyone else to. Now, who knows from where that stems. Is that just part and parcel of doing the news and establishing credentials? Many of the predecessors Brian Williams… I mean, let’s face it. They went to war zones. They went to hurricanes. They stood out there in snowstorms.
They risked everything to bring us “the news.”
Brian hadn’t done any of that, so he looks like he’s making it up. (interruption) Yeah, not even the dogs got dysentery in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But Brian Williams said that he did. So we’ve got some audio sound bites coming up, too, of Drive-Bys — exactly as I thought would happen — circling the wagons and trying to protect the guy. Even F. Chuck Todd! You know, F. Chuck Todd says, “I know exactly how he feels.” Really, Chuck? What does that mean, you know exactly how he feels?
What have you made up?
What does that mean, “I know exactly how he feels”? Oh, maybe to be put on by everybody, to be under the glare spotlight of scrutiny (which is where everybody wants to be in that business). So, anyway, “NBC’s most revered journalist…” That would be Tom Brokaw. That would be more revered than John Cameron Swayze, more revered than Chet Huntley or David Brinkley, more revered than John Chancellor, more revered than Lawrence Spivak, more revered than Bill Monroe.
Those are the last two guys hosted Meet the Press back in the days when that show was what it was like when Tim Russert hosted. Anyway, “‘Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter,’ an NBC source said. ‘He is making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.’ … Brokaw, 74, was still the ‘Nightly News’ anchor when Williams came back from his Iraq expedition — and an insider said he knew the story Williams later spouted was bunk.
“‘Tom Brokaw and [former NBC News President] Steve Capus knew this was a false story for a long time and have been extremely uncomfortable with it,’ the source said.” Allow me to interject something here — and I made this point yesterday. The Drive-Bys are trying to focus now on military people. I saw it yesterday afternoon on CNN and I’ve read a lot about it since then, last night and today and audio sound bites. All these media types are apparently trying to blame this on military people for not speaking up about it sooner.
Now, naturally they are trying to shift focus. They are trying to deflect everybody’s attention. “Well, if this was so obviously made up, if it so obviously didn’t happen, then where was the military? Why didn’t the military speak up?” Did you ever stop think maybe the military had better things to do than worry about what’s on the news? You ever think maybe the military is trying in its own way to protect the dignity of its news organization?
My bet would be the military — much as I revere it and hold it in awe — understands tradition, manners, integrity, and so forth and maybe rolled the dice that in the war effort, just let this thing slide. It’s inconsequential to what we’re trying to do and let’s not expose it. I mean, Williams was otherwise being somewhat favorably disposed to the war effort. Remember, this is in the early days, 2003.
This before the Democrats and the media decided they were gonna try to destroy it and achieve defeat for us and the Bush administration. This was back in the heady days when, “Oh, man, Iraq, baby! War on Terror! Yeah, man! We’re going off to war.” Back in those heady days, everybody’s up excited about it. This is all before the big shift to destroy Bush, destroy the war, even try to secure defeat. Maybe the military was being self-protective.
The real question is if all these journalists knew about it here at NBC, if Tom Brokaw and Steve Capus knew this was a false story for a long time. They “‘have been extremely uncomfortable with it,’ the source said. NBC News execs had counseled him to stop telling the [lie]. … ‘He is not going to be suspended or reprimanded in any way. He has the full support of NBC News,’ a network source said.”
He’s too big to fail.
He’s the face of the network.
To show you how things have changed in terms of honor, dignity, shame, honesty… It’s a new day, and a lot of those old traditional definitions are out the window. My question is, if you’re gonna clamp down on he the military and try to somehow blame them for not coming forward, how about all these journalists that knew about it? How about all Tom Brokaw and the other, knew about it from get go, knew it wasn’t true? Why didn’t they speak up?
It turns out that Brokaw now is denying that he wants Brian Williams fired — and this, I must say, makes far more sense to me. The Huffing and Puffington Post: “Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw pushed back Friday against reports that he wants his embattled successor, Brian Williams, to be fired for falsely claiming to have been aboard a helicopter that came under rocket-propelled grenade fire in Iraq. ‘I have neither demanded nor suggested Brian be fired,’ Brokaw said in an email to The Huffington Post.
“‘His future is up to Brian and NBC News executives.'” But the New York Post last night quoted NBC sources who said that Brokaw wanted Williams’ “head on a platter.” Also the media narrative reporter at CNN said that his reporting inside NBC… Here’s what we’re being asked to believe. Okay, you’ve got a media guy at CNN, Brian Stelter. He started a blog. He’d never done anything in the media before, but he started a blog and the New York Times hired him.
After a while, CNN hired him away. Now he’s got “sources” inside the NBC. How the hell…? I don’t have sources inside some other talk show. I guaran-damn-tee you, I don’t have sources some other radio station. But these guys at CNN are reporting from inside NBC and have backed up the Post story that Brokaw is furious. So maybe Brokaw does want him out but didn’t want it known that Brokaw wants him out so now Brokaw is circling his own wagons.
But when you hear the sound bites coming — we’ll get to ’em quickly, we’ll stay on topic here– it’s clear that the media types are circling the wagons. I wonder. Here’s the real question: We need to get a body watch on Deborah, what’s her name, Turness, the NBC News president. The British babe, Deborah Furness or Turness, I forget. Deborah Turness. We need to have a spy on her because she might… Remember how she backed a Brinks truck up to Jon Stewart and tried to hire him for Meet the Press?
Well, Turness, here’s another golden opportunity to get Stewart.
CBS got Colbert. NBC could get Stewart.
So you’re out there professing your love and admiration and your total unblinding support for Brian Williams, you’re secretly trying to hire Jon Stewart to do the news. I mean, if you’re gonna have Jon Stewart host Meet the Press, what does that say about Meet the Press and what does it say about what the news has become? If it’s not about numbers anymore, if it’s all about bragging rights and getting the hippest dude as Les Moonves said when he hired Colbert, well, here’s a chance for Deborah Turness to make another run at Jon Stewart, while everybody thinks Brian Williams is safe.
Keep a sharp eye, and you might have heard it here first.