Lies And The Lying Liars Who Attack Others About Their Lies
Perhaps Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell -- who lied for years about writing his own column -- is not the person who should be calling for NBC anchor Brian Williams' resignation over a falsehood.
By Terry Krepel
MRC chief Brent Bozell quickly made his feelings known, tweeting, "Brian Williams has to go. NBC's credibility is completely shot." A couple days later on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, Bozell asserted that Williams was "lying about everything" and that "the honorable thing for him to do is to resign."
Bozell cranked things up in a letter sent under his name Feb. 6 to the MRC's email list, showing him in full vendetta mode:
I need you to take immediate action to help us bring down one of the most partisan left-wing propagandists on television.
The fact that Bozell begins with his plan to "bring down one of the most partisan left-wing propagandists on television" before he gets to Williams' falsehood tells you that he doesn't actually care about the lie itself. He does care that he can exploit the lie as a cudgel to achieve a his goal of personally destroying Williams -- in other words, a scalp. Demonstrating this further, Bozell goes on to rant (and plead for money) in his letter:
Brian Williams’s influence extends far beyond NBC Nightly News viewers. He is beloved by the liberal entertainment media and routinely makes the rounds on Comedy Central and the late night talk show circuit.
Finally, in a Feb. 9 appearance on Fox News, Bozell declared that Williams has “no credibility” and warned that “neither will NBC if they bring him back” after his self-imposed leave of absence from the "Nightly News."
Just one little problem with all this bluster: Bozell is demanding a harsher punishment for Williams than he himself received for his own history of lies.
It was revealed last year that Bozell lied twice a week for more than 15 years by presenting his syndicated column as being his creation when, in fact, it was ghostwritten by his deputy Tim Graham. Bozell's syndicator, Creators Syndicate, added Graham as a co-author on the columns, but the MRC, despite it being a year since Bozell's ruse was exposed, has made no effort to retroactively credit Graham for his work on Bozell's older columns.
If Williams' credibility is "completely shot" by telling a falsehood, why isn't Bozell's? Mostly because he's never been held accountable for his lies.
Both Bozell and Graham have refused to speak publicly about the situation. And despite Bozell having a guest shot on Fox News at least once a week -- usually on the shows of reliable conservatives like Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity -- nobody at Fox has ever asked him about the scandal.
If Bozell wants to set an example Williams should follow and prove that his words have meaning instead of being empty partisan attacks, he should abjectly apologize for deceiving the public for years -- Bozell has yet to speak publicly about his years-long deception -- and resign as MRC president. But he doesn't have the guts to live up to his own rhetoric.
Interestingly, the one time Bozell was held responsible for his falsehoods, he didn't lose his job.
In his settlement-mandated retraction (long ago deleted from the PTC website), Bozell stated that "it was wrong for MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and myself to have said anything that could be construed as blaming WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the children," adding that "Many of the companies we stated had “withdrawn” or pulled their support had never, in fact, advertised on Smackdown! nor had any plan to advertise on Smackdown!"
Even though Bozell cost his organization millions in damages, he was apparently never forced to resign from the PTC, not leaving until four years later. And despite lying to the public for more than 15 years about writing the syndicated column that bears his name, Bozell has apparently never been forced to resign from the MRC.
Yet, somehow, a liar and slanderer like Bozell thinks he is the perfect person to hold Brian Williams accountable for his falsehood and to demand that he leave his job.
You first, Brent.
Meanwhile, Bozell is cranking up other parts of his MRC empire to go after Williams. CNSNews.com has published several articles designed to mock Williams over his situation. But since Bozell controls this "news" operation, he can sleep peacefully knowing that CNS will never scrutinize Bozell's record of lies the way it is Williams' -- if only because he presumably ordered it to be so.
Of course, CNS has engaged in all sorts of journalistically questionable behavior over the years -- made-up quotes, biased reporting, cherry-picking numbers to make a Democratic president look bad -- that gets a pass from the MRC even though the MRC has attacked other media outlets for the same behavior. Why? Because, well, Bozell runs them both, and shoddy journalism is just fine with him when it can be used to prop up conservatives and attack liberals. In Bozell's world, what's good for the goose is clearly not good for the gander.
So let's not pretend that Bozell has any genuine interest in fair and balanced journalism or the "credibility" Williams and NBC. He's first and foremost a political animal, and the MRC first and foremost is a political organization intent on destroying any media outlet that doesn't toe Bozell's line. He doesn't want to save Williams -- he wants to destroy him.
Bozell simply doesn't have the guts to apply the solution he demands for Williams to himself. Why should he? He cares about journalism only when he can use it to advance his right-wing agenda.
UPDATE: After it was announced that NBC will suspend Williams without pay for six months over the situation, Bozell continued his superior attitude, tweeting: "A suspension for a lead anchor who repeatedly lied, then lied again in his "apology." NBC is unbelievable -- literally."
Bozell followed that up with a sanctimonious statement in an MRC press release:
NBC’s lead anchor is exposed as a serial liar who attempts to deceive even when he’s apologizing for his lies. And for that he gets a suspension? One month, two months, six months, six years. Who cares? NBC has decided that news presented by a dishonest superstar is preferable to news presented honorably by anyone else if it means a drop in ratings. But this isn’t supposed to be about ratings. It’s supposed to be about professionalism, and ethics, and honestly [sic].
Putting a dishonest superstar ahead of ethics and professionalism? Isn't that what the MRC has done by refusing to punish Bozell?
As usual, Bozell remained silent on what an appropriate punishment for his own lies would be.