Brian Williams: Katrina was all about ME ME ME ME

NBC’s Brian Williams decided he didn’t get enough face time during Katrina so he made a 30 minute TV special to highlight what a wonderful person he was. Ostensibly it is about Katrina “In His Own Words” but in reality it was 30 minutes of the most self-serving bile, I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s so bad I won’t even link it. (google is your friend)

The show was a disaster worthy of Hurricane Katrina.

Williams sits on a stool on a set built to look like he was backstage somewhere. -Where exactly they never say, but they needed someplace that felt grittier than his usual plush surroundings.- As he sits on the stool pontificating narrating, they run footage to bolster his point.

Picking the worst part of the show is simply impossible, but one of the absolute low points came when Williams ran some footage of his cameraman telling what he had seen at the convention certer… It was a moving interview to be sure. The problem was none of what the guy said was true. He spoke of bodies surrounding the convention center… He said he saw 2 babies who died of dehydration. That’s odd, because they never existed, we know that now. Either the cameraman was hallucinating or he was lying. I could excuse such poor reporting in the heat of battle but this is simply inexcusable.

Some two and a half months after the storm has passed, NBC is not only still getting the story wrong, they bragging about how great a job they did. It’s simply amazing.*

Then Williams spends the last half of the show talking about how great the media was… How they “found their voice.” Bovine Scatology. The media got greater than 80% of what they reported dead wrong. If government (at all levels) did the same job as the media we WOULD have had 10,000 people dead… And Williams is proud of this debacle?

I suppose for someone who has not followed the Katrina story and is completely ignorant, they came off impressed by Williams performance. As someone who has (nearly obsessively) tried to sort fact from media fiction, Williams came off as a self absorbed ego maniac exploiting the poor people of New Orleans for face time.

Save yourself the trouble of watching this nonsense. It was media looting at its worst.

Watch the National Geographic special instead. They simply do a fact based chronology of events as they happened. Plenty of material I’ve never seen presented elsewhere, and I only spotted 2 or 3 things in that show they got wrong and those were minor as I recall (and/or excusable). By and large they nailed it. I might review it later but for now, TiVo it and skip the Brian Williams self-love fest.

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* Postscript: It should not pass without noting that NBC send a CAMERAMAN to the convention center. But when they spoke about the convention center then did not show his FOOTAGE they INTERVIEWED him and got is STORY. Why? Did his camera break?

The only pictures they showed in the special were AP stills. If this CAMERAMAN saw such horrific things, why didn’t he have footage? If NBC had to get AP stills to make their point and they could not use his footage, shouldn’t it have been obvious that something about his story was amiss? In another place and time this would be a media scandal as big as any. Now we just shake our heads and acknowledge that Brian Williams and NBC went to the Dan Rather school of journalism ethics.

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  1. BoDiddly November 8, 2005
  2. Mark November 8, 2005
  3. langtry November 8, 2005
  4. marlowe anderson November 8, 2005
  5. Redhand November 9, 2005
  6. BIRDZILLA November 10, 2005
  7. caroline November 24, 2005