There is no question that Brian Williams is at fault for fabricating a story in which he was on a Chinook helicopter that was hit by enemy fire in 2003. In reality, Williams was actually on a training helicopter, not on the one that was hit. Additional investigation revealed that Williams exaggerated other stories as well.
As punishment, Williams has been suspended from NBC without pay for six months. Some people believe that this is not punishment enough—that Williams deserves to be fired. After all, how can people trust a man caught lying?
I believe that the six month suspension is a fit punishment for Williams. Williams has acknowledged his wrongdoings, saying “This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and, by extension, our brave military men and women, veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not.”
People deserve second chances, after all, we all make mistakes. Hopefully, Williams will learn from his errors and redeem himself as a news anchor. After his suspension, he will be more careful about reporting only the truth, especially since he will no doubt be under scrutiny for his past mistakes. Williams will have to earn back the trust he lost, that is certain, but I think he deserves the chance to do so.
I would be harsher on Williams if he had invented the story entirely, but the fact that he only exaggerated the details (saying he was on the hit plane when he was not), makes me more lenient towards him. Exaggerating the details could have been William’s attempt to bring more attention to the story, and in that way “thank one special veteran.” Williams’ lie is inexcusable, but not nearly as bad as if he made up the entire event.
This incident is a good reminder to always take news reports with a grain of salt. It is unlikely that Williams is the only news anchor to embellish a story. Do your own research on a story, comparing and contrasting different news sources. The sad reality is that we cannot count on news anchors to deliver us clean, unbiased reports. It is good that Williams was caught in his lie, and we can hope that when he returns to NBC in six months, he will have learned his lesson and focus on reporting only the truth.