The Brian Williams Syndrome

Brian Williams of NBC has been suspended for six months without pay for embellishing stories. It’s a common problem with journalists. They want too much to BE the story. Where have you gone, Walter Cronkite?

Some are recommending politicians face the same suspension, but that’s part of their job description, isn’t it?

I am reading through a wonderful Mark Twain biography by Ron Powers and came on this description of Twain when he was young and apprenticing in a newspaper shop:

Mark Twain’s prodigious memory often found congenial company with a contrary impulse: the tale teller’s impulse to improve memory with fiction. Mark Twain took a democrat’s view of fact and fiction; he privileged neither above the other and let them mingle in his work without prejudice, joking famously in later life about being able to remember anything whether it happened or not…

Mark Twain lives on in the fine tradition of modern “journalism.”

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