Monday, February 23, 2015


My old friend media-blogger, journalism-educator and digital-media-advocate Steve Butty does an excellent job in his latest blog post of analyzing the current public swirl around the war "experience" lies told by now-suspended NBC News Anchor Brian Williams and Fox News "pundit" Bill O'Reilly.

The post on his blog, The Buttry Diary, is headlined "WHY BRIAN WILLIAMS' LIES MATTER AND BILL O'REILLY'S MAY NOT. I highly recommend that you read it yourself and save me a lot of extra verbiage by trying to clumsily encapsulate it for you. Here is the link:

In typical Buttry fashion, the post is extremely thoughtful, well researched and well balanced. Its conclusions are hard to ague with unless you are a Fox News executive or one of the network's mindless right-wing minions and apologists. Almost needless to say, I thoroughly agree with Steve's analysis.

However, it seems to me that he expends a whole lot of words to point out that the real difference between Brian Williams' and Bill O'Reilly's war experience lies rests in their media functions.

Brian Williams is a real journalist and news anchor for a still highly respected news organization. Everyone expects -- and has a right to expect -- that he always tells the truth in his reportage.

However, no one with any sense seriously considers O'Reilly a real reporter or journalist. What he is is a propagandist pundit, all of whom we KNOW are liars -- it's their job. And in O'Reilly's case, for better or for worse, it's a job he's proven to be absolutely outstanding at despite the damage it does to the truth and to the understanding that millions of Americans have of the real world.

Of course, I expect that many of my right-leaning friends both inside and outside the news business will very quickly counter, as they seem to always do, by contending that MSNBC talkers like Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell are "left-wing" propagandist pundits who also "always lie."

My answer to that is that I don't recall any of them having ever been nailed for lying about their alleged reporting "experiences." And as far as their punditry and opinions go, they are usually backed up by facts.

O'Reilly's punditry and opinions, on the other hand, are usually backed up by...well...more of his punditry and opinions and -- when pushed into a corner as he has been in regard to his lies about his "war zone" experiences covering of the Falklands War -- exceedingly vicious, baseless and often highly personal counterattacks.


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