“Kitman—You are a bit of a bore and what are your journalistic accomplishments. I have been a journalist all my life and I never heard of you… Rosalind Massow. And you can take me off your email list. I [sic] not interested in reading your crap.”

Flattery will get you nowhere, Journalist Massow!

My fact checkers are now exploring the possibility that Journalist Massow is a relative of a member of the NBC brain trust that, in the interest of preserving its good name, is trying to seal the Brian Williams Story in a time capsule, marked DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS 2115.

In the meanwhile, at the risk of taking further abuse and boring my loyal followers, I can only say the credibility of one of the nation’s major news outlets is at stake. The nation’s 23rd most trusted person (see “Brian the Mediocre” Part VII) is being impugned by the way his employers are investigating its superstar anchorman’s journalistic record, which has turned him into the butt of jokes on his own network. Did you see last week’s “Saturday Night Live?” It is the duty of those who believe accuracy in reporting still matters to continue shining the light on the cockroaches as they scatter.

The Rise & Decline of Brian the Mediocre, Part VIII



It began with what was assumed to be one alleged embellishment (the other chopper was hit by an RPG in Iraq, not his).

Then there were one or two others that kept turning up like a bad penny, questions about the claim he received a souvenir from SEAL Team Six. And did he really see that body floating outside his hotel in the Katrina aftermath?

Unlike some of my readers, I was not ready to send Brian to the firing squad. We’re not in Transylvania, Dorothy.

Reports leaked to the press said that the Esposito Commission conducting the in-house investigation at NBC actually had found six other instances of embellishment or lying.

Fans of embellishment then began hearing that Brian is now being accused of 11 cases of exaggeration or outright lying, as the Washington Post reported. And the probers were still counting.

Holy Diogenes! Could it be that Brian was actually a serial embellisher or liar?

Would the Pinny – awarded by the Pinocchio Society of Journalists in recognition of the individual who has done the most for journalism fiction – perhaps prematurely given to Bill O’Reilly, be withdrawn? On the grounds that he is on steroids and can’t control himself from claiming such things as having been at the scene of the Hindenburg zeppelin blowing up in 1936? And the 2015 Pinny be given, instead, to Lyin’ Brian, as he is now called in the New York Post!

What is disturbing is the latest accusations are not coming from that font of accuracy –social media– but from colleagues at NBC News. Brian the Embellisher may not be as popular as NBC flacks had led us to believe. NBC‘s Washington Bureau, which covers such citadels of truth as the White House, Congress and the CIA, was leading in the race to blow the whistles.


The network evening news was always one of the verities of American life, right up there with the flag, mother, apple pie, and morbid obesity associated with over-indulgence in the latter. Was believing in the truth of TV news pie in the sky?

For if Brian, the 23rd most trusted (Loc. cit. “Brian” Part VII), is under investigation for alleged inaccuracy in reporting, can we give our blind trust to the other guys, say, at random, CBS News? After all, that was the network of Dan Rather, drummed out of the truth-seeking corps in 2007 for a small mistake in reporting on the war record of Bush II, implying that he was a slacker, not a war hero during Vietnam. It turned out the smoking document was printed on the wrong typewriter. Afghan Dan may have left his reading glasses home that day.

Looking backward, we were all taken in by TV network news embellishments about how we were winning the war in Vietnam. Not to mention how Ollie North was conducting the war against the Contras in Nicaragua in the basement of the White House during the Reagan administration. What was Saint Ronald doing, watching reruns of how he won one for the Gipper?

Nowadays they are saying Dr. Oz is an embellisher for touting things like a supplement called green coffee bean extract, and is being denounced as a charlatan by a group of prominent doctors with Dr. Oz denouncing the denouncers, including one who served 14 months in prison for Medicaid fraud.

And the return of “The Hillary & Bill Show,” featuring donations for diplomacy allegations, should start the golden age of embellishment.

I tell you it’s hard to know who is telling the truth on TV these days.


It might help clear the air if Brian Williams was allowed to speak up.

What was he thinking, anyway?

Does Brian have a death wish by embellishing or lying? Was he trying to commit career suicide? And now his bosses at NBC are trying to set fire to the corpse by forcing him to remain silent.

One theory about what is going on is that we are living in a new age, witnessing the dawn of a new intelligence. “These were not conventional lies coming from the idiot box meant to enhance the public’s perception of news,” explained Prof. Edward Burns of the Homer Simpson School of Advanced Media Studies. “It is correct to say that a form of consciousness is being created in TV land that has taken control of Mr. Williams’ mind, and the mind of many others, and is telling him what to do.”

In other words, according to Prof. Burns, Williams may have one of those megaminds, which is the signal MetaReality TV is here.

That may well be. In the meanwhile, the gag rule imposed at NBC is allowing the allegations and innuendo to besmirch his reputation. It is as if the poor fellow is being incarcerated by his captors, the NBC brainiacs who got him in trouble in the first place by anointing him as Tom Brokaw’s replacement.

It is time that NBC lift the six-month suspension, bring back Williams from the media Devil’s Island, Dry Tortuga or the dungeon in the basement of 30 Rock, and face his accusers.



NEXT: Why Brian is toast at “NBC Nightly News.”

Marvin Kitman
Executive Producer
The Marvin Kitman Show
April 28, 2015

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Coward’s Almanac, or the Yellow Pages” [Doubleday & Co., 1975].