By John Montone, 1010 WINS

We remember Bob Simon as a great reporter.  A legendary journalist. A giant in the TV news business.  The other guy…well.

What a week. Brian Williams changed before our eyes from NBC Nightly News network ratings king to an easy punch line. “Did you lie, Bri?”

And what of Williams’ precipitous fall on the list of trust-worthy people from 23rd to #435?  Who makes these lists anyway?  But #435!  Which allowed yours truly to report on 1010 WINS radio, “It puts Bri in a tie with the guy…from Duck Dynasty.”  On the same morning from outside 30 Rock as the crowd gathered in the cold to catch a glimpse of Matt, Al and the gang, I started one story on the LIVE radio with, “It’s anchor away, without pay…”

Before his career was shot down by his telling of a tall tale about being shot at with RPGs in Iraq, I considered Williams a bit smug, more of an actor than journalist.  The made-up Iraq Attack was worse because it made the reporter the story.  That’s bad form.  So when I learned it wasn’t true I thought, LIAR!  And when Williams put up a self-defense of, “I misremembered.”  I thought, “C’mon, man!”

But I am a curious cat so I did a search on the Inter-web and found a New York Times Health section article about human memory.  It turns out memory experts do not think Brian was lyin’ about those RPGs.  They say that, “memories can change and shift dramatically over time,” and that Williams might have, “…developed a false memory.”  That he could indeed have “misremembered,” the incident in Iraq.

“Poor guy,” I thought for a short time until I read another online post accusing the writer of the “False Memory,” article of being biased in favor of “liberals” and “media darlings.”

So who do we trust?  Who do we believe?

Well, he’s gone now. But Bob Simon.  Simon had a real war story.  He was captured and held prisoner for over a month by Saddam’s thugs while covering the Gulf War.  Starved and beaten and believing he would die, Simon certainly had a story to tell.  Which he did, so infrequently, I had forgotten about it until it re-emerged in the coverage of his death.  Simon was clearly not comfortable being, “The Story.”  He once said, “I’m glad my fifteen minutes are about up.”  He also said, “Not every story has two sides.”

He was right.  Bob Simon WAS a giant in his field.  And that’s that.  As for the other guy, who really knows?

Comments

Leave a Reply