As part of a quid pro quo deal in having accepted a new NBC News gig as “breaking news anchor for live special reports,” Brian Williams has issued the following statement:
“I’m sorry. I said things that weren’t true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I’m determined to earn back their trust. I will greatly miss working with the team on Nightly News, but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it.”
What Williams Should Have Said: “I’m sorry I got caught lying. I tried to equivocate and sidestep and tap-dance my way out of the problem but…well, it didn’t work. So now I’m really ‘sorry.’ You get what I’m saying, right?
“The offshoot is that I’ve been offered a chance to come back. Not to NBC News but MSNBC. I won’t exactly be Lester Holt‘s breaking-news bitch but it wouldn’t be far off the mark to call me that. I like the idea of collecting a check and being a working newsman again, but by any standard this is a humiliating, take-it-or-leave-it punishment position in which I’ll have to play the role of a demoted and discredited anchor who has a tendency to lie…I mean ‘exaggerate.’ I’ll have to do a lot of smiling. I’ll have to do a shitload of yoga in the mornings. Maybe Lester will occasionally ask me to run to the deli and pick up a chicken salad sandwich and a hot tea with a bag of chips for lunch. Maybe I could shine shoes on the side.
“I have therefore decided to decline this generous offer and strike out on my own like Caine in Kung Fu, running my own news website and walking the earth with a GoPro and getting into adventures and shit. Yes, I’ve decided to follow Jeffrey Wells‘ suggestion, posted a few weeks ago, and become the new Lord Jim.
“Instead of eating Lester Holt and Andy Lack‘s shit I’d rather stand up and be a man and cleanse myself on my own terms. The only way to do that, as Wells said, is go back to the desert, back to the Middle East conflict where my troubles originated in ’03, and do some hard reporting and place myself in harm’s way. My news industry colleagues would understand this. So would the public. They know from Christian mythology that the only way to purify your soul is to roam for 40 days and nights in the desert.
“I would be risking my life, of course, but people would respect that. They would get the idea. And if God forbid the worst happens (and every news person who covers a dangerous war zone knows that this is a possibility), then I would at least have my honor back. In the words of Richard Crenna‘s captain in The Sand Pebbles, ‘If the San Pablo dies, she dies clean.’”