Brian Williams Debacle Yet Another Reminder: Elite Media Despises Its Customers


“Media Elites Defend Brian Williams from ‘Bile Brigade,’” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:

If you don’t already despise the elite media, the next few paragraphs should put the final pieces into place. No joke, some high-profile members of the elite media are now on their high horse (if you’ll pardon the expression) over the frenzied coverage of serial stolen valor liar Brian Williams.

In short, members of the elite media don’t think members of the elite media should be treated like members of the elite media treat everyone else.

In a piece titled “Charge of the Bile Brigade,” the National Journal’s Ron Fournier, a Platinum Media Cardholder who wields superior sanctimony like a superpower, indicted all “Americans” for “flit[ting] from one controversy to the next with little context or objectivity.”

(Note: “Americans” is FournierSpeak for “Yahoos.”)

Probably because social media can’t greenback and greenroom Ron Fournier to come on television and explain why everything that happens in America is really all about Ron Fournier’s feelings, Ron Fournier singled out social media by name as a big part of the Bile Brigade.

(Note: “social media” is FournierSpeak for “The Little People.”)


William F. Buckley famously said that he’d “sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” But David Brooks, the man hired to be the New York Times’ token conservative (before going on, shortly after being hired, to express his admiration of Barack Obama’s trouser creases), is, once again, casting in with his fellow elites to defend Williams from the “coliseum culture” who exposed his lies, “leaving no place for mercy” (link safe, goes to NewsBusters):

The barbaric part is the way we respond to scandal these days. When somebody violates a public trust, we try to purge and ostracize him. A sort of coliseum culture takes over, leaving no place for mercy. By now, the script is familiar: Some famous person does something wrong. The Internet, the most impersonal of mediums, erupts with contempt and mockery. The offender issues a paltry half-apology, which only inflames the public more. The pounding cry for resignation builds until capitulation comes. Public passion is spent and the spotlight moves on.I’ve only spoken with Williams a few times, and can’t really speak about the man (though I often appear on NBC News’s “Meet the Press”), but I do think we’d all be better off if we reacted to these sorts of scandals in a different way. The civic fabric would be stronger if, instead of trying to sever relationships with those who have done wrong, we tried to repair them, if we tried forgiveness instead of exiling.


Tim Graham of NewsBusters isn’t buying Brooks’ shtick:

Yes, the same man who called Sarah Palin “a joke” and a “fatal cancer” to the GOP and mocked Ted Cruz as “our national aphrodisiac” is going to lecture on a “civic fabric.” The man who said the Tea Party “infected” the Republican Party and has “no sense of moral decency.” Someone might want to read his own clips before posing as Weaver of the Civic Fabric.

James Taranto tweeted about the Brooks “humblebrag” (I often appear on NBC on Sundays), but it should be seen as a disclaimer. Brooks is a champion at pandering to people who spread his center-left views, from NBC to PBS and NPR. This pitch for Williams is also dibs on the NBC green room. He concluded:

I guess I think Brian Williams shouldn’t have to resign, for the reason David Carr emphasized in The Times: Williams’s transgressions were not part of his primary job responsibilities. And because I think good people are stronger when given second chances.

David Carr was the (very) left-leaning Timesman who referred to flyover country as “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads” in 2011. Brooks, the (not very) right-leaning Timesman, concurs with that assessment.  As Jonah Goldberg wrote last night in the L.A. Times, “it is instructive to watch Williams’ fellow media Olympians rally to his defense”:


They have an investment in a system that rewards celebrity so handsomely — and not just financially. They are the last beneficiaries of the Old Order, when nightly news anchors were cultivated to be “the voice of God,” in the words of former CBS News executive producer Jim Murphy.

Those days are almost gone. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, only 27% of respondents could correctly identify Williams from his photograph, and only 3% could say what he did for a living. Three percent thought he was Tom Brokaw, and 2% thought he was Joe Biden.

Thanks to social media — which was Williams’ undoing (and Dan Rather’s) — we are living during the twilight of the idols. But, as always, the last people to let go of the old gods are their loyal priests.

Given how they view the right through a “gorillas in the mist” sort of lens, their own exotic elite media funeral rituals are rather fascinating to observe though, aren’t they?

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Exit quotes, which dovetail well with tonight’s media convergence:

Jon Stewart: Don’t you think, though. that that is in some respects purely protocol? Purely facade because the the truth is, however deeply held your political beliefs are, whether or not you vote, or for which party, you can’t change the system of beliefs that you have. That’s the part that seems surprising.

Brian Williams: No, that’s true. But, you can call them down the middle like a umpire. Now, when you see these correspondents on various Sunday shows who have an opinion Sunday morning and go back to covering the news Monday, that can be a little dicey.  I’m not going to judge anybody else in the business, but our work at, I can speak for NBC News and our newsroom, it goes though, talk about check and balances. We have an inordinate amount of editors; every word I write, before it goes on air, goes through all kinds of traps and filters and it’s read by all kinds of different people who point out bias.

Jon Stewart: People check what you guys do?

Brian Williams: It is hard to believe. Yup.


— From Williams’ appearance on The Daily Show, July 29, 2003.

Update (2/11/15): Former chief speechwriter for Mr. Obama now admits he views half the country as “angry villagers:”


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