RUSH: So, like a lot of people, I was reading the news, the narratives over the weekend, and I was following the Brian Williams headlines. It’s a sad tale, ladies and gentlemen, of human tragedy. And let’s admit it: We all love human tragedy when it isn’t happening to us. We follow it, and, ah, we sometimes commiserate with it; other times we give thanks it isn’t us. Other times we ask, “How the hell could anybody be so dumb? What in the hell’s behind this? How could you do it?”
And we think back to people in our lives that we know who are just like the person in question, whether it be Brian Williams or Obama or Clinton or anybody else. I found the usual batch of interesting opinion and stories. There was one in the New York Post, and the last paragraph of the story is the only thing to matters to me. It just… It kind of blows me away. They’re talking to a nameless expert, either a consultant or an employee at NBC News.
I’m not sure which because the story doesn’t really make clear who their source is. It is just unnamed. I read it twice to find out. Maybe I missed something. The source is not really nailed down as to where the source works or why the source knows anything. The source is just presented as somebody who does, and the source here is commenting on Brian Williams’ “self-imposed leave of absence.”
If you believe that, then you deserve to be lied to on the nightly news. (interruption) No, he didn’t suspend himself. The story is that… Well, this story is that he became the news, and he became too much of the news, too much of the time. He said, “Presently I am too much…” By the way… Now, this matters for people that do the news. That is the wrong word to use. “Presently” doesn’t mean right now. It means “down the road.” “I will see you presently” means “give me a couple of minutes and I will be there.”
“At present” is what you should properly say.
So Brian Williams should have said, ‘At present I have become too much of the news. I’ve become too big a story. He said “presently.” It may be a minor point to you, but to me, these are the kind of tests that people usually have to pass in order to get these jobs. I mentioned to you once, way back in the forties and fifties (and I know things change) NBC gave staff announcers and others a pronunciation test to see just how erudite, sophisticated they were.
Because back then, these jobs were very few. CBS, NBC, ABC was it, and they could get the cream of the crop in virtually every field they had. Staff announcers, they get the best. Have you ever heard of Don Pardo, for example? Narrators, anchors, you name it. They could get the best. It’s not so much the case now, and what is the best has taken on different definition. But back then one of the words on the pronunciation test that NBC gave was the word “consummate.” The correct pronunciation is considered to be “consummate.”
As in, “You are a consummate professional,” or, “You are a consummate pain in the rear.” But back then the actual pronunciation of that word — the one demanded by NBC standards and practice people — was consummate. And if you did not pronounce that word that way, you failed that particular line on the test. Today everybody pronounces it “consummate.” But “consummate” was the preferred NBC pronunciation. I’m not making this up.
By the same token, understanding the difference in “presently” and “at present” was considered to be in the same vein. Now, 99 people out of a hundred, 999 out of a thousand, 999,000 out of a million say “presently” when they mean “right now.” But they’re incorrect in doing so. So it’s just become one of these things that’s accepted. “Presently” doesn’t mean right now. “Presently” doesn’t mean at this moment. “Presently” means in the future, a short distance ahead in the future.
“I’ll be with you presently” is the proper use of that word. “At present” is what you say when you mean right now, this very moment. I am, at present, talking to you from the EIB Network. But most people say, “I’m presently right there.” No, you’re not “presently.” You’re “presently” where you’re going to be in five minutes. It’s just like remember the poor guy, the financial guy on the Washington metro, Washington, DC, the City of Washington’s city council, who attacked a budget proposal by calling it “niggardly.”
He got canned. All “niggardly” means is stingy. Being “niggardly” it’s with an n-i-g-g-a-r-d-l-y. “Niggardly” means you’re being stingy, tight-fisted, what have you, they fired the guy because so many dummkopfs thought he was using the N-word. And rather than stand up and say, “No, no, no. I was using a real word. Look it up. ‘Niggardly’ means cheap, means tight,” they had to get rid of the poor guy and all he did was use the right word. So I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here, and I’ve not lost my place.
Brian Williams said that he has “presently become too much a part of the story,” and he said “we journalists don’t like to become part of the story,” and that, folks, simply isn’t true. That’s why I wanted to go back and review Broadcast News from 1987. Reporters and anchors making themselves part of the story is the definition of a good anchor these days. Why else lie about the fact that you were on a helicopter when you weren’t, that it was shot down when you weren’t, and you didn’t arrive for an hour?
You want to be in the story. You want to steal someone’s valor in the military. You want people to think you’re dodging bullets out there in order to bring them the news. These anchors want to be the story. They want to be in the story. They want to change the story. They want to influence the outcome of the story. That’s why I say there isn’t any journalism anymore. There is nobody standing around, watching what happens, and telling you who weren’t there, what happened.
Journalism now is advancing an agenda; making yourself part of it, if you can, in an attempt to affect the outcome of events. That’s why they’re not news readers anymore. They are narrative readers, if anything. We were talking about people who, for 22 minutes (not even that), read a teleprompter. What makes a good anchor? Can you do the right faces? Can you do the concerned face? Can you do the really concerned face?
“Can you do the serious it-may-be-the-end-of-the-world face? Can you do the smiling, friendly, I’m-your-best-friend face? Can you wink at the right time? Can you raise one eyebrow when a Republican is speaking to make people think that you know the Republican’s full of crap? That’s all it takes, to be able to raise one eyebrow. Peter Jennings was perfect at that. Peter Jennings raised one eye brow and could destroy Republican legislation.
Don’t tell me these people do the news. They are the news, and Brian Williams got caught. Anyway, this nameless source at NBC News. This is the last paragraph of the story, and they’re talking about the self-imposed leave of absence, which was not self-imposed. In fact, executives are trying to figure out what to do at this very moment. But this expert was telling whoever wrote the story for the New York Post: Look, Williams “can’t be gone long. The timing will be critical — too short and it wonÂ’t seem like he has taken himself out of the game long enough, and too long and he looks like damaged goods.”
I read that, and I said, “You mean he doesn’t like damaged goods right now, but he will look like damaged goods if he’s off the news for too long? Isn’t he damaged goods right now? Isn’t that why he’s off the news, because he’s damaged goods?” This guy’s trying to tell us (translated), “Weeell, the length of time that Brian’s off is gonna be crucial. If he’s not gone long enough, people are gonna think there hasn’t been appropriate punishment and nobody thinks it’s that bad.
“If he’s gone too long, then it looks like he did really screw up. It’s really bad, and he’s damaged goods.” But he already is that. So, anyway, this source inside NBC gives us indication of how they’re looking at this in the executive suite, and they’re looking at it not from any avenue of substance. They’re trying to figure out the PR of it and how long the self-imposed leave of absence should be and what your thoughts on Brian Williams’ credibility will be based on the length of the leave of absence.
He also canceled appearance Thursday night on Letterman.
That kind of surprised some people. Not me. But it has happened.
I’ll tell you what. I think Brian’s gonna come back. He’s gonna come back, folks. I just want to make a prediction right here. What time is it? It’s almost 1:17 Eastern time on February 9th. My prediction is that this hiatus is actually just a cover for Brian Williams’ top-secret mission to Syria and Iraq to keep ISIS from getting serious chemical weapons. We will learn when Brian Williams returns to the air, that that’s what he was doing; that all of this was a giant act of distraction and deflection so that he could make sure ISIS didn’t get serious chemical weapons.
That will be the lead story his first night back.
RUSH: Here’s Jerry in my adopted hometown, Sacramento, California. Hi, Jerry. Great to have you with us.
CALLER: How are you doing, sir?
RUSH: I’m pretty well. I’m glad you called.
CALLER: I’m a longtime listener, first-time caller.
RUSH: Well, great to have you here. Appreciate that. How long have you been listening? Longtime means how long?
CALLER: Since ’88.
RUSH: Well, that’s as long as you could be.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you very much.
CALLER: You know what? It’s a pleasure to talk to you. By the way, Nancy Pelosi wants your phone number.
CALLER: I’m sorry. That was supposed to be funny.
RUSH: Well, she could get it. Remember, she works for the government. She could get my phone number any time she wants it.
CALLER: (laughing) You’re a good man. Okay, now, why is Brian Williams still employed? What happened when Dan Rather went after Bush? With no information, just a story, and made it up?
RUSH: Well, well, that’s a great question. Because Dan Rather lied about somebody else.
RUSH: But Brian Williams lied about himself.
CALLER: No. No. He went after a fighter pilot, who was either the Navy or the Air Force, I think it was the Air Force.
RUSH: Who, Brian Williams?
CALLER: I’m sorry?
RUSH: Who went after the fighter pilot?
CALLER: No, Bush was a fighter pilot.
RUSH: Right, okay, so you’re talking about Rather went after the fighter pilot, yeah, somebody else.
CALLER: Right. Okay. I’m a plane buff. So he flew an F-104, which is a very difficult plane to fly, he was a mathematician strapped to a rocket, okay?
CALLER: And Dan Rather went after him with no information.
RUSH: I know, and you’re wondering, okay, they got rid of Dan Rather, why does Brian Williams still have a job, right?
RUSH: It’s a great question. I think it illustrates the constantly changing world that we are in. Standards are constantly in flux. There aren’t any standards anymore. They are trying to figure out a way if they can keep him in that job, despite having made it up who knows how many times. Don’t forget, they tried, they used a Brinks truck to try to hire a comedian to moderate Meet the Press, Jon Stewart, NBC did. You’re thinking that in any other business where credibility was the coin of the realm, this guy’s gone, they don’t care why, they don’t care the circumstances, they don’t care what else might have happened, gone.
But there’s a reason why he’s not. I don’t know what it is. I really think that if you get down to it, everybody’s circling the wagons in private trying to figure out what the least damage to journalism, the news, whatever, and to liberalism is, the cause, the cause. Anyway, by firing him, that’s a tantamount admission that they don’t want to go there, I don’t think.
RUSH: Man, Brian Williams, these details keep just adding up. And, by the way, I made a prediction last week that one of the things that the NBC News bosses are gonna do, they’re going to try to find examples of this committed by others, because in our convoluted world, it can’t be that bad if everybody’s done it. It can’t be that bad, can’t be our exclusive problem if it’s happening elsewhere.
It’s kind of like, did you see over the weekend Jerry Rice, who’s nothing less than the best ever wide receiver in the NFL admitted that he used Stickum on his gloves? Stickem was banned in 1981. Freddie Biletnikoff of the Raiders used to use so much of it. It was that orange goo stuff that was on his socks. He reached down, put a clump of it on his hands, and the ball practically stuck to his hands, like a magnet. They outlawed the stuff in ’81. In ’84 receivers started going to gloves because you could spray Stickum-like-stuff on the gloves and nobody knew it, and it made catching passes — Jerry Rice said (imitating Rice), Â“Yeah, I used Stickum,Â” and then came out later when there was an uproar, Â“I didn’t know it was illegal. I didn’t know, I didn’t know. But everybody did it, everybody did it, everybody did it.Â”
Â“Everybody did itÂ” has become a legitimate defense. Look, folks, the standards in our culture, you know as well as I do, they’re heading down the toilet, they’re down the drain. All kinds of standards are on the wane, and it’s not new. And once again, it’s rooted in the idea it’s unfair to penalize people ’cause not everybody is gonna have such high standards, so itÂ’s not fair to penalize those who can’t or don’t have the same morality as others ’cause morality shouldn’t be a constant. Liberalism says that morality is defined by individual choice. Whatever’s right for you is perfectly okay. Whatever’s wrong for you, perfectly okay. But you don’t have any right to say what’s right or wrong for anybody else. And that’s been trending for quite a while.
So NBC News is trying to find examples on other networks and in their own network where others have embellished like Brian Williams has. I don’t know. For example, they’ve named Lester Holt to sit in for Brian Williams during this trip to the monastery. You know, pretty soon you know what’s gonna happen? There’s gonna be rehab for lying, and some enterprising entrepreneur is gonna open up a liars rehab center, pathological lying rehab center, who knows. But what if NBC can find Lester Holt made stuff up? What if they can find out Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, made something up? What if anybody that they think will mitigate, it won’t make ’em look even worse, it will look not look as bad. Â“Not only does our lead anchor do itÂ…Â”
Did you see Ben Sherwood, as the news director at ABC, has launched a task force investigation to find other examples of Brian Williams making it up? That’s new. I have to tell you, I was wrong about that. I thought the Drive-Bys would circle the wagons around Brian Williams. That really hasn’t happened like it did with Dan Rather. Jennings and Brokaw were not gonna let Rather go down. They were not gonna let the news suffer. But this current crop, they’re not circling the wagons like I thought, so I was wrong about that. But I guarantee you they’re looking to find other examples of this, not to punish them, but to allow them to say, Â“Hey, you know, this is actually part of the business now.Â” (interruption) Why does what? (interruption) You mean like why is ABC doing this task force, why do they want Brian Williams’ scalp? I don’t know. I don’t even know what the ratings are of the nightly newscasts. I don’t know who is leading and who isn’t. I don’t know.
You know, that is a different fraternity than it used to be. Those guys, the Rathers and the Jennings and the Brokaws, they had gone to anchor school, they hosted the Today show, they had worked at their networks for decades before they got the anchor gig. Some of these anchors now get the anchor gig right out of the modeling agency. You know, you go right from the Calvin Klein underwear ad billboard on Times Square to the anchor desk at ABC News or whatever. So it’s a different and it’s a different fraternity, and it may be more prone to human emotions such as jealousy and envy.
The one thing about Rather and Brokaw and Jennings, they really did not consider each other competitors. I mean, they all wanted to be number one in the ratings, but even when Rather was pulling up in last place, and he was there for a long, long, long time, he was treated as an equal with all the others. That’s another thing. Rather was allowed to sit there in the cellar for years at CBS. It’s a different world and it’s changing, and now more than ever, the network news used to be where many Americans first found out what had happened that day. I mean, it was that important.
But now, everybody knows already, except the Preparation H demographic and people that are afraid of computers, people afraid of wireless devices, afraid of tech. They still rely on TV, and some of them don’t even have cable. They don’t trust that. They don’t trust a wire coming into the house so they got the rabbit ears or whatever.
The nightly news is probably the first news for the smallest percentage of people ever since its inception. By 6:30, seven o’clock every night most everybody you would want in the audience already knows what has happened. So how do you change the broadcast to accommodate for that? And that’s where all this inserting in the story, emotionally invested and having a stake in the outcome, I think that’s one of the reasons why “the news” has undergone these drastic changes, ’cause now it’s just another entertainment program that’s still trying to survive under the old rubric of it’s the Encyclopedia Britannica of news. It’s not the World Book. It’s not Wikipedia. It’s the Encyclopedia Britannica. That’s what they’re trying to hold onto.
But here’s some of these headlines from Breitbart. Â“Brian Williams: From Â‘HeardÂ’ Of To Â‘We WatchedÂ’ Katrina Superdome Suicide — A Brian WilliamsÂ’ Katrina tale appears to have evolved somewhat dramatically over the course of just one year. In 2005, Williams reported in a documentary that he had Â‘heard the storyÂ’ of a man killing himself in the Superdome. The following year, during an interview with Tom Brokaw at Columbia Journalism School, Williams said, Â‘We watched, all of us watched, as one man committed suicide.Â’Â”
Folks, believe me, there are people that are watching footage like you can’t believe. They’re looking for any and every example like this they can find. By the way, Brian Williams went on to win a prestigious Columbia journalism award for his coverage of Katrina. But if they all watched, here’s the thing, if they all watched, the same thing with the body floating face down in the river in the French Quarter, which didn’t flood, wouldn’t you think you’d grab your cameraman and say, Â“Shoot that! Get a shot of that. ThereÂ’s a dead guy floating face down, get video.Â” By the same token, if all of us, we watched, all of us watched as one man committed suicide, why isn’t there footage of it? They got the camera in there. If they’ve got their tech people in there, why didn’t Brian Williams say, “Hey, hey, there’s a guy committing suicide over there, why don’t you get footage.” In fact, why didn’t they try to stop it?
Â“Another Williams Chopper Tale! NBC Anchor Claims Hezbollah Rockets Buzzed His Helicopter During Israel War — Completely separate from the 2003 Iraq helicopter incident Brian Williams confessed to lying about this week Â… we now have a 2007 video of Williams claiming he was involved in a hairy wartime incident involving a different helicopter during a different war. According to the NBC Nightly News anchor, during Â‘the war with Hezballah in Israel, a few years back Â… there were Katyusha rockets passing just beneath the helicopter I was riding in.
Â“It gets me to thinking,Â” he said, Â“IÂ’ve been very lucky the way my life has turned out, IÂ’ve been very lucky to have survived a few things that IÂ’ve been involved in, at a perception a few minutes ago, I was remembering something I tend to forget, the war with Hezballah in Israel, a few years back, where there were Katuyshka rockets passing just beneath the helicopter I was riding in.Â” But in the NBC report in question, neither the video or written report references anything close to rockets passing just beneath the helicopter.
And then, Â“Brian Williams: I once saved a puppy from a burning house.Â” That’s another one that they have discovered. Another tall tale from the New York Post: Â“Brian WilliamsÂ’ Alleged Encounter with Christmas Bandit — Long before Brian Williams was caught lying about his chopper coming under fire in Iraq, he claimed heÂ’d stared down the barrel of a banditÂ’s gun as a teenager in sleepy Red Bank, NJ. In a 2005 interview with Esquire magazine, Williams said a thief drew on him in the 1970s — leaving him Â‘looking up at a thugÂ’s snub-nosed .38.Â’Â” This kind of dovetails with Brian Williams saying he looked down the barrel of an RPG. Remember that? And there’s another one in there. I thought I printed this out. He somehow was involved in the Princess Diana death. Â“Brian Williams’ Heroic Stories Included Princess Di and Hurricane Katrina.Â”
Let’s see, what’s the Princess Di business here? Oh, yeah. Get this. Â“Brian Williams once boasted about abandoning a dying buddy to cover the death of Princess Diana — but said it was worth it because it won him worldwide fame. Â‘I lost a very good friend to Agent Orange-related cancer,Â’ he told Alec Baldwin in a March 2013 interview on the Â‘30 RockÂ’ actorÂ’s Â‘HereÂ’s the ThingÂ’ show on WNYC radio. Â‘I was in the hospital room with him. It was a Saturday night, I had just done Nightly News. My pager went off: Â“Diana, car accident, Paris.Â” I called the office, and they said, Â“You better get in here,Â”Â’ Williams recalled. Â‘I had no idea that IÂ’d be announcing to what was then, I mean, they plugged us into cable all over Europe. I have people wherever I go to this day who say, Â“I was with you the night Diana died,Â”Â’ the anchor said.Â”
Folks, this is seriously troubled. “I was with you the night Diana died.” He said people all over the world come up to him, Â“I was with you the night Diana died.Â” In fact, remember back then, Princess Di, the funeral and the whole story, it seemed that there were tens of thousands of average citizens on the street trying to get close, flowers along the funeral procession route and so forth. And everybody was trying to figure out, what is this all about? Was this woman this popular, and we figured out, that’s not what it was. It was that everybody wanted to be in the story. It was the biggest thing that had happened in a long time, and everybody wanted to be able to say they were there when Princess Di passed away.
And even Brian Williams, Â“Yeah, I left my buddy in the hospital, dying of cancer, I had to get in there and they plugged us in the feed coverage all over the world and I got people all over the world telling me, Â‘I was with you the night Diana died.Â’Â” Snerdley, why’d you put June 6th as D-Day up here on the inter-studio display? (interruption) I said June the 7th? I was thinking December 7th, Pearl Harbor day. June 6, D-Day. Right, okay. See what I mean? It’s a burden being right. You make the slightest little — not even an error, I just misspoke. This is not a lie. What’s in it for me to make up the fact Â– Â“See, you got it wrong. It’s June 6th. You said June 7th.Â” I’m telling you, folks, it’s a burden being right all the time. You’re not allowed to make any mistakes.
RUSH: John in Melbourne, Florida. You’re next on the EIB Network. Hi. John, are you there?
CALLER: I am here. Can you hear me?
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: Yes. I am a former employee of NBC News. I was with the network for 22 years. I started on RCA. And back when RCA owned NBC, the news division always operated in the red, meaning that it never made a profit —
RUSH: None of ’em ever had.
CALLER: — no, none of them did. When GE purchased us and we became that corporate entity, news then was required to be profitable, thus the infotainment began to come more and more and more. And so there are numerous cases that can be cited where there were these kinds of journalistic integrity issues with NBC going back to when Dateline first started. I don’t know if you recall —
RUSH: Blowing up the truck?
CALLER: There was an incident where there was an incident where Dateline added incendiary devices to a vehicle in order to make the program more sensational.
RUSH: Well, now, wait a minute. They accused the manufacturer of making faulty gasoline tanks, cars were blowing up randomly, and they rigged one.
CALLER: That is correct.
RUSH: — to blow up, they rigged one to blow up to try to create the impression. So when they were caught, Â“Well, yeah, yeah, yeah, we made it up, but it happens. We just wanted to show that it happens.Â” No, it doesn’t happen, you made it up. That’s what you’re talking about, right?
CALLER: That’s what I’m talking about. We had a recent situation with the Zimmerman case where there were one of the editors edited out some key information in terms of making the case more sensational as well.
RUSH: That was the 911 call that they made it look like George Zimmerman was a flaming racist.
CALLER: That is correct. That’s correct. And, you know, the other assumption that people are having with all of this, too, is that Brian Williams has a journalist degree. Brian Williams never attended college. Well, he did for a very short period of time. I think he completed about 18 credits. But he didn’t come up through the ranks. He holds the position at editor-in-chief of NBC News over there, managing editor, but Brian Williams did not obtain a journalism degree. He came up, you know, reading the teleprompter.
RUSH: He’s no different than anybody else who has one.
RUSH: I don’t mean prompter. I mean degree. But right, they’re prompter readers now, you can say they’re actors. You gotta do the really concerned face, the really, really concerned face, the panicked face, the scared to death face, the sympathetic, the compassionate face, the raised eyebrow. If you can do that, you’ve got the job.
CALLER: But you’re correct, Rush, when you say, I mean, we’re losing our way. We continue to lose our way when it comes to the honesty and the integrity of what’s going on in the news.
RUSH: It’s an overall decline in standards everywhere that’s happening and has been for quite a while. The number of frauds exposed that still teach on university campuses, for example.
RUSH: Brian Williams and NBC News won a Peabody Award for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina, even though it was all made up. Why do you think they won the award? ‘Cause I guarantee you Brian Williams looked so suffering and pained when he reported the dead body floating down the street at the French Quarter, and that’s why they won the Peabody. Now that’s all up in smoke.