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:: The Rule of Reason ::

:: Monday, February 16, 2015 ::

On the Appeal of Terrorism 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 10:12 PM

So, what goes on in the heads of Islamic terrorists? Barack Obama says their massive, continuing murder sprees have nothing to do with Islam. The Prime Minister of Denmark, which has experienced multiple Islamic terrorist attacks over the last week, agreed with Obama that they had nothing to do with Islam, but did admit they were terrorist attacks. Ms. Thorning-Schmidt sought to calm tensions after the attacks, saying, “This is not a war between Islam and the West….We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack,” she said. If the violent suppression of freedom of speech is a “politically motivated attack, and if she is certain of that, why deny it has nothing to do with Islam?

Speaking to reporters in Copenhagen on Sunday, according to Danish television station TV2, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said: “This is not a war between Islam and the West. We will do our best to defend our democracy and Denmark.”

In the name of what politics were the attacks on a meeting about freedom of speech in Copenhagen and on a newspaper in Paris launched? No answer. Blank out.

The International Business Times on February 2nd carried a lengthy reiteration of Obama’s standard denial that Islam:

U.S. President Barack Obama refused to consider it a “religious war” to fight against terrorism. He continued to avoid the phrase “Islamic extremism” as he said that the majority of Muslims “reject” such an ideology.

Obama said that he would not give a religious colour to the war against terrorism. He warned against the danger of “overinflating” the threat of terrorist organisations. He added that the United States should align itself with the majority of Muslims who disapproved of terror groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State. He said that the most of the Muslims reject the radical views of those organisations….

Obama said that “99.9 percent of Muslims” believed in what everyone believed in: “order, peace, prosperity.” He added that the “hearts and minds” of young people in the Middle East and South Asia should be won back as the particular regions had become the “ground zero.”

Obama insisted on a “surgical, precise response” to a very specific problem. He said that terrorist organizations would be defeated as they did not have a vision which ordinary people found appealing.

And if countless “ordinary people” find that vision appealing? Do we tell them, “It’s bad for you. You might be shot and it’s not nice”? Do we eliminate the “visionaries” with “precise” drone strikes or by the elimination of states that sponsor terrorism, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran? Turn every square inch of territory that ISIS has conquered into parking lots of melted glass? Create vast acres of the bodies of napalmed ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq and Libya? (Call it the Jordanian pilot treatment.) Send all those “ordinary people” to de-programming camps so they can get their minds right? How many millions of Muslims are we talking about here? Americans are getting tired of our panicky, hand-wringing political leaders and the MSM crying, every time Islam strikes, “Oh! What to do?? What to do??”

Islam is an ideology and it’s an ideology Obama is friendly to, given his power grabs in this country, and one which has Europeans shaking in their boots. The Europeans don’t dare name Islam as the root motive for terrorism lest they push the hot buttons of their new immigrant Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, Germans, French, Spanish, Italians, Austrians, Swiss, Belgians, and Dutchmen who are likely to go berserk in their quest for “order, peace, and prosperity.” The only prominent European brave and prescient enough to name the enemy is Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is regularly persecuted by his own government

But, what makes a terrorist tick?

Tablet Magazine ran an article by Paul Berman on January 28th, “Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?” He opens with:

Why do people who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide? The sociological answer to this question assumes a pettiness in human nature, such that even the slightest of humiliations and misfortunes may be regarded as sufficiently devastating, under certain conditions, as to sweep aside the gravest of moral considerations.
                                                         
I rather think that such people are criminally, not clinically crazy, their “craziness” being no ameliorating defense or excuse for why they commit murder, rape, deliberate destruction, and continue to attack Jews and other “infidels.” At the risk of sounding like a xenophobe (or an “Islamophobe,” if you like), I would say these people’s “mental” problems would be of no concern to the West if they’d remained in their own pestholes of origin where they could murder, rape, honor kill, and slaughter members of competing Islamic “flocks” to their hearts’ desire. Instead, Western governments have invited them in to civilized societies by the boat- and plane-full and don’t mind if they bring their “cultures” with them in the name of their pitiless god, diversity.

However, Berman writes:

I prefer to invoke the history of ideas. People throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide because they have come under the influence of malign doctrinal systems, which appear to address the most profound and pressing of human problems—and do so by openly rebelling against the gravest of moral considerations. Doctrines of this sort render their adepts mad, not in a clinical sense but in an everyday sense. And the power to drive people mad comes precisely from the profundity, or the seeming profundity—which is what everyone else fails to see.

Yes, it has something to do with ideas, in this case, the totalitarian nature of Islam.

Berman concludes:

Why, then, do people who are not clinically insane throw themselves into this kind of insanity? Why do they do so even in the world’s wealthiest and most peaceful of countries? They do so because the apocalyptic dreams and the cult of hatred and murder and the yearning for death are fundamentals of modern culture. They enlist because they are unhappy, and the eschatological rebellion against everyday morality satisfies them. The Islamist idea, in its most extreme version especially, offers every solace that a mopey young person could desire.

Tablet carried another article, by Nancy Hartevelt Korbin on February 11th, “Sadomasochism and the Jihadi Death Cult.” Korbin writes:

Paul Berman’s recent essay in Tablet magazine “Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?” is a wonderful piece on the history of Islamist ideas, but Berman does not really answer the question that he poses in his first line: “Why do people who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide?” Berman’s conclusion is that “apocalyptic dreams, the cult of hatred and murder and yearning for death” born of unhappiness is what motivates Islamist terrorists, and further that “eschatological rebellion against everyday morality satisfies them.”

Korbin comes closer than Berman to an answer to the question of why so many people are drawn to the jihadist life.
But is that why they do it? Is that what motivates men in hoods to publicly decapitate an individual with a knife, or pose smiling with the severed head of a woman, or put bullets into the heads of hundreds of captives and toss them into the river, or most recently throw a prisoner into a cage and light him on fire? Berman addresses the ideological part of the problem, but buried deeper is the psychological pull of sadomasochism—the thrill of violence, power, and control that comes from inflicting pain on others. This is the unspoken driver of the appeal of the Islamic State and similar groups.

In a word: Nihilism. For what is a sadomasochist but a nihilist who experiences a sense of existential efficacy by inflicting pain on his victims, either the drawn-out pain of a man in a cage set on fire, or the fleeting pain of individuals crushed and incinerated in a jet plane as it strikes a skyscraper, or the pain of a man feeling his head being sawn off?

In the final analysis, jihadists do what they do because it is what they choose to do. Their militant professions of love for Allah and acting out a variety of by-the-book Koranic diktats of Mohammad disguise a profound hatred of existence, especially a hatred for those who appear to be living happy, successful lives. The Islamic “faith” is nihilistic. It appeals to those who are unhappy with being alive and unhappy that others are happy to be alive. Islam does not offer them a reason to live, it does not offer them an automatic set of goals and rewards to reach by living by a certain ethos.

On the surface, that is sadomasochism. But, existentially, that is nihilism, whose end is to destroy the good for being the good.

Islam’s chief appeal to Islamic terrorists is that it offers them a chance to escape life, to escape existence. They rationalize their brutality by saying or thinking that what they choose to do in the name of Allah is to destroy those who deny Allah, and in the most hideous ways possible. As the terrorists hate their own existence, they wish to make their victims regret their own existence. The ethereal reward of a paradise with seventy-two virgins, if any Muslim really believes in such a thing, to an Islamic terrorist ready to “martyr” himself is the mental mirage of eternal, effortless, causeless, purposeless, selfless existence.

One cannot dismiss the element of volition when examining the motives and actions of Islamic terrorists. They choose to kill for the sake of killing. And that choice reflects a life-long affinity with nihilism, from early childhood up thru adulthood.

Yes, Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt, there is a war between the West and Islam, and to grasp the reality of it, one must first grasp the anti-life core of Islam. If you think that life is the motive and fuel of Islamic terrorists, you are badly and perilously mistaken.

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:: Saturday, February 14, 2015 ::

On Phobias 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 3:51 PM


Let’s talk about phobias. Not about phobias such as arachnophobia, and ophidiophobia, and acrophobia, or even gynophobia.

A phobia, after all, is an intense, terrifying, and often debilitating, but legitimate or unreasoning fear of something or of doing something. An object is perceived, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, as something that poses a threat to one’s life or values. A phobia freezes one’s rational faculties and capacity for action; however, the suspension of one’s mind or capacity to act itself can prove to be genuinely perilous.  A phobia is rooted in a fear or hatred of the thing.

A friend remarked when I let her know the subject of this column:

The hallmark of phobias is that they are impervious to rational examination. That's one reason it's used as a pejorative by manipulators, to convey the idea of an irrational hatred and aversion. For a Muslim to acknowledge that there might be reasons for such dislike opens the door to questions of what it is about Islam that might cause it. Even "bigotry" invites debate. But phobia -- there's nothing to be done but for the blameless victim to be protected from such inexplicable malice. The "phobe" must be silenced and immobilized like a raving maniac in a Victorian madhouse. 

To judge by the polls, I’m certain that not a few Americans have at least a touch of Obamaphobia and if not are in the grip of an obsessive one; if one hadn’t developed it during Obama’s first term in office, he surely must have during his second. If not, then there’s something terribly wrong with such a person. He must be a liberal. One could attach phobia as a suffix to the name of every person in the Obama administration or ever passed through it.  

I would say that both Obamaphobia and Islamophobia can be rationally examined by focusing on the causes of the phobias: In Obama’s case, his conscious, unchecked reign of destruction of America and of American lives; in Islam’s case, its fourteen-century record of destruction, murder, rape, mayhem, and slavery that continues to this day.

Of course, the liberal/left smear phobia term of the moment, in the White House and out of it, is Islamophobia.

The motto of Bare Naked Islam, after all, is, “It isn’t Islamophobia if they REALLY are trying to kill you.” I wonder if the twelve staff members of Charlie Hebdo felt “Islamophobic” before they were murdered by Muslim “fanatics,” who were actually just carrying out Mohammad’s diktats. And, of course, there is this latest incidence of Sharia enforcement in Copenhagen that has nothing to do with Islam. There are Australian cafés and Swedish ones, both jihad-rich.
                                                              
The term has disputed origins. It may have been coined by the Muslim Brotherhood or by someone closely affiliated with the MB. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch wrote an excellent article on the term’s beginnings, cluttered as those are with claimants to its invention. Discover the Networks has an authoritative article on the term’s origins:
                                                                                                                                                
The term “Islamophobia” was invented and promoted in the early 1990s by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Former IIIT member Abdur-Rahman Muhammad -- who was with that organization when the word was formally created, and who has since rejected IIIT's ideology -- now reveals the original intent behind the concept of Islamophobia: “This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliché conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.” In short, in its very origins, “Islamophobia” was a term designed as a weapon to advance a totalitarian cause by stigmatizing critics and silencing them.

“Muslim think tanks”? An oxymoron, to be sure. Islam has more to do with unreserved faith, rather than with thought. However, The American  Muslim website has much to say about the origins of the term, “Islamophobia.” The article is hostile to anyone who fears Islam and is contemptuous of anyone who dares question Islam and its sorry record of not observing individual or “human rights,” but does a credible albeit lop-sided job of tracing the etymologically confusing and ideological roots of the term, citing Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Claire Berlinski, Discover the Networks, Pamela Geller, and others. The author dismisses as paranoid hokum any factual evidence that people have legitimate reasons to be fearful of Islam:

Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.    Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as:  - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized,  -  There have been 270 million victims of “jihad”  -  There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11    - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded.  Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.

There have been over 20,000 “specific incidents” of fatal Islamic jihad since 9/11. Uncounted tens of thousands have died from Islamic terrorism since then. Government demographic studies show that Muslim populations are increasing in Europe and in the U.S.  Dozens of Muslims occupy sensitive positions in the government. And so on.

The author, Sheila Musaji, obviously has referred to the articles and records cited by the “Islamophobes,” but their reality means nothing to her. To her, reality is malleable, or it’s a lie. The evidence can be interpreted any way one wishes, except objectively. Reality is a Rubik’s Cube and reality can be twisted to any combination of colors and be right, as long as it’s “subjective” or “relative” and the matching color is Islamic Green. She blanks out the evidence of her senses in favor of what she wants to believe. Possibly she worked in an Islamic “think tank.” That would explain her voluntary blindness.

Read this long piece at your own risk. It is much like crawling through the development of Modern English from Medieval English, with many of Shakespeare’s loan words thrown in for good measure. And, the author of the piece reveals her true allegiance in her by-line:

Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )

Daniel Pipes discusses the phenomenon of Islamophobia in his February 13th article, “What Actually Causes American Fear of Islam and Muslims?” He reports:

An ambitious 81-page document, Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network's Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America, just appeared from the Center for American Progress, a liberal Democratic organization. Unlike its first iteration, in which a group with a $40-million annual budget and deep ties to big business had the nerve to claim that seven much smaller institutions were overpowering the country through their financial clout, this one looks at what the alleged "Islamophobia network" actually does.

The report, written by Matthew Duss, Yasmine Taeb, Ken Gude, and Ken Sofer, makes for interesting reading. Its premise is that critics of Islamism (1) are really anti-Islamic and (2) have single-handedly distorted the fundamental American value, namely a "basic respect for the rights of minority groups throughout the country." According to the CAP study, "the views of anti-Muslim actors stand in stark contrast to the values of most Americans."

By dint of hard work, however, "a well-funded, well-organized fringe movement can push discriminatory policies against a segment of American society by intentionally spreading lies while taking advantage of moments of public anxiety and fear." This effort "takes many shapes and forms": a general climate, cynical political efforts, and institutional policies. Despite some setbacks, continues the CAP narrative, the network's efforts "continue to erode America's core values of religious pluralism, civil rights, and social inclusion."

Pipes reaches the logical explanation of why Americans fear Islam and Muslims:
                      
Maybe it's Islamists who are prompting powerful and spontaneous responses through their threatening behavior. Maybe we critics are not "intentionally spreading lies" but honestly interpreting Islamist aggression and supremacism. Maybe CAP and its ilk should blame the fear of Islam less on us critics and more on the Islamists themselves.

Fear Inc. 2.0 begins by discussing a straw man, Anders Breivik, the rampaging Norwegian “Islamophobe” and his manifesto against Marxism and the Muslim colonization or settlement of Europe. In the manifesto Breivik cited the writings of Robert Spencer and other “Islamophobes” as evidence of the widespread “anti-Islam” meme about Islam. This is the launching pad for the rest of the  Fear Inc’s  screed against any and all critics of Islam.

Breivik’s manifesto contains numerous footnotes and in-text citations to American bloggers and pundits, quoting them as experts on Islam’s “war against the West.” This small group of anti-Muslim organizations and individuals in our nation is obscure to most Americans but wields great influence in shaping the national and international political debate. Their names are heralded within communities that are actively organizing against Islam and targeting Muslims in the United States.

Breivik, for example, cited Robert Spencer, one of the anti-Muslim misinformation scholars we profile in this report, and his blog, Jihad Watch, 162 times in his manifesto. Spencer’s website, which “tracks the attempts of radical Islam to subvert Western culture,” boasts another member of this Islamophobia network in America, David Horowitz, on his Freedom Center website. Pamela Geller, Spencer’s frequent collaborator, and her blog, Atlas Shrugs, was mentioned 12 times.

From there it’s downhill, through dozens of pages of factual errors, half-truths, and countless ad hominems. The report concludes:

Of course, the Islamophobia network was utterly contemptuous of Cain’s efforts to reach out to moderate Muslims. At the Western Conservative Conference in Denver this summer, Frank Gaffney alleged that [Herman] Cain had actually met with members of the “Muslim Brotherhood apparatus in Washington, D.C.” Gaffney added, “If, in fact, he’s now changed his position in ways that are being reported, that’s even more troubling than if he was spending time with Muslim Brothers.”

Such unchecked bullying by the misinformation experts should not be tolerated. Our nation needs more responsible conservatives to stand side by side with progressives to safeguard our national security and uphold America’s core values of religious freedom and respect for ethnic diversity. A required first step is to expose the influence of the organizations, individuals, and groups, who make up the Islamophobia network in America. {pp. 126-127}

Never mind Herman Cain, “once a favorite on the Islamophobia network for his outspoken views about Sharia law when he first launched his campaign for the Republican Party nomination for president” and his “walking back” his positions on Islam and Sharia. There’s President Barack Obama, who’s rarely “walked back” his pro-Islam positions in any circumstance. Just recently, he has met with key “low profile” members of the Muslim American leadership. The Blaze reported on February 6th:

The White House quietly released the names of the Muslim leaders who met privately with President Barack Obama earlier this week to discuss the Islamic State, anti-Muslim “discrimination” and even Obamacare.

After initially declining to reveal who attended the meeting, the administration attached the list of 14 people who attended the Wednesday meeting.

Among the fourteen people were (allow me some levity here): 

Bilqis “Qisi” Abdul-Qaadir, Director of Women’s Basketball Operations, Indiana State University, who gave Obama some dribbling pointers; Arshia Wajid, Founder, American Muslim Health Professionals, who gave Obama an impromptu check-up; Dean Obeidallah, Comedian, Dean of Comedy, who coached Obama on timing and suggested changes in Obama’s joke delivery in public speeches (“You gotta lay off of that ‘folks’ stuff, Bubba, it ain’t buyin’ you friends”; and Farhana Khera, President, Muslim Advocates, who offered her legal services should he need them in case Michelle beats him up again for flirting with a Danish prime minister or any other blondes (“Forgive me for saying so, Barack, but I think your wife could crush the Hulk in arm-wrestling and bend all your golf clubs with her bare hands”).

An unlisted guest was Huma Abedin, “confidante” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Huma performed a fan dance with transparent feathers to the delectation of the male members of assembled conferees, and also to that of the Secret Service guards present. Arisha Wajid joined Huma in a lascivious belly-dance. Farhana Khera wasn’t amused, and complained to Obama that it was blatant “sexism” calculated to offend Muslim moral sensitivities.

So much about phobias. My next column will discuss the appeal of Islamic terrorism.

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:: Monday, February 09, 2015 ::

Lies the Media Told Me 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 7:55 PM


Marshall McLuhan's claim that 'the medium is the message” is a rule of thumb adopted by today’s news media. Truth is optional, and the means by which it is delivered to the public has become a matter of “style” and bias. If truth does not comport with an established narrative, falsehood is permissible. After all, the public, to whom the news is directed, doesn’t know the difference.

Truth, in the news media, is becoming more and more as rare as a halal hamburger in Riyadh, or a wine list in a Tehran restaurant. If a news event doesn’t fit the New York Times’s printable meme or mantra, it isn't going to be reported without slanting and bias so severe that even a cursory examination of it will capsize the story to reveal the rust and barnacles on its hull. The same rule of thumb goes for most news organizations and outlets, including the Washington Post and other “major” dailies. Almost every one of them delivers messages, not news.
        
Most of them don’t even pretend to be paragons of journalism anymore. What, after all, is a journal? It is a record of significant or noteworthy events, entered without prejudice for or against the things in the events. The news media couldn’t even report Paul Revere shouting “The British are coming!” without injecting some squib about gay rights, because some of the British officers were perhaps gay, and any shots fired at them could be said to be “homophobic.”
                                                                                                                                                                              
“Cow bites milkmaid” won't be reported by the New York Times without some subtle, sub-textual message about animal rights or gender exploitation.  Virtually the only realm of unbiased news reportage left in any medium is the obituaries, and sometimes even those are skewed when the deceased was a celebrity or a politician whose true character is not only suspect but so reeking with scandal (e.g., the passing of Ted Kennedy) that toxic fumes leak from the person’s casket. That’s another kind of “odor of sanctity.” It can't be dispersed or disguised by a gallon of eau de cologne spritzers.
                                                   
 The phony war stories of Brian Williams are but the tip of the media practice and culture of rearranging reality to suit a fantasy world of political correctness and to satisfy a hankering for a “perfect” world. Perhaps he thought that if Hillary Clinton could get away with lying about her “dodging bullets” in Bosnia for so long before being found out, he could get away with claiming that the helicopter he was riding in Iraq came under RPG fire, when no such thing happened. Hillary claimed that she “misremembered” the imaginary sniper fire episode in Bosnia in 1996. “Misremembering” things seems to be as common a thing as zits on a high school sophomore.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Williams was photographed in waders sloshing thru flood waters. He claimed to have seen bodies floating under his hotel window, and that gangs had invaded his hotel and he was frightened. None of this happened, except for the photo-op. The rest was his imagination. He and his ilk can always claim, when the truth contracts their assertions, that the problem is a matter of “misremembering,” or symptoms of “post-combat mental trauma.”

As Daniel Greenfield put it in his FrontPage article of February 9th, “Brian Williams for President,” about the major news networks abetting the “misdemeanor” of lying to the public because the lies help to advance the Progressive agenda of turning America into a minimum security correctional facility :

Brian Williams is in trouble for lying, but he was part of a media culture of deceit where lies were acceptable for a good progressive cause. Williams isn’t really in trouble because he lied, but because he got caught. Worse still, the lies were self-serving. They served Brian Williams; they didn’t serve the left.

Williams had failed to draw the line between the “good lie” (ObamaCare is making life better) and the “bad lie” (I swam the flooded French Quarter with puppies on my back during Katrina while Al Qaeda shot RPGs at me). But the borders between the “good lie” and the “bad lie” have been vague when it comes to the titans of the left.

If he thought he could get away with another whopper, Williams probably would have also claimed that he hurt his index finger by sticking it into all fifty dikes and flood walls during Katrina to help stop the flooding.

For the longest time, for decades, in fact, I grew to despise news anchors. It began with the hectoring voice of Walter Cronkite in the 1950’s. But Brian Williams is representative of the smarmy, sneering, cynically sanctimonious, slickly groomed face also telling me “that’s how it is.” Their offensive, know-it-all styles of delivery made them personalities, not newsmen, actors, not conveyers of truth, perhaps a rung and a half up from carnival barkers.

This false news reportage has become a tradition among news anchors, continued by the likes of Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, to whom news reportage/lying to the public is a “crude art form,” akin to a Jackson Pollack canvas. These people are so desperate to adhere to their politically correct agenda, and want to be remembered as the electronic heralds of a “new world order,” that they are willing to fabricate a glittering monstrance and substitute their glossy, patent leather faces for a eucharist.

Williams apologized publically for lying to the public. But apologies are not enough in the way of justice. He should be fired, perhaps sent back to Elmira, New York, and his Peabody Award—for his Katrina hurricane reportage – recalled to lighten his luggage.  Investment Watch on February 6th noted:

A host of military veterans and pundits came forward on television and social media, challenging Mr. Williams’s assertion that he had simply made a mistake when he spoke, on several occasions, about having been in a United States military helicopter forced down by enemy fire in Iraq in 2003. Some went so far as to call for his resignation.

In his apology, Mr. Williams said that he had been on a different helicopter, behind the one that had sustained fire, and that he had inadvertently “conflated” the two. The explanation earned him not only widespread criticism on radio and TV talk shows, but widespread ridicule on Twitter, under the hashtag “#BrianWilliamsMisremembers.

On my edition of the game show, “Truth or Consequences,” Williams is asked, “Mr.  Williams: When did American terrorists invade England to reclaim all of Bill Clinton’s saxophones?”

Williams: “That’s a leading question, Ed, but it was in 1066.”

The eardrum-shattering, “Misremembering” buzzer sounds, the audience goes “AWH!,” Williams looks pained, a trapdoor beneath his seat opens, and he drops out of sight.

He pops up on the other side of the stage, strapped to a chair, and the chairman of NBC, Bob Greenbatt, comes on stage with a bucket, and proceeds to wash Williams’s mouth out with  bars of soap to the raucous amusement of the audience. 

Well, no, that’s not going to happen. The worst case scenario for Williams will be that he will be retired and sent back to Elmira with his golden parachute. The worst case scenario for the public would be that Greenbatt declares Williams to be an irreplaceable asset to NBC and is retained after a brief term of absence from the screen. 

The worst case scenario for the public – or that part of it which still watches NBC Nightly News or anything else on NBC – will be that Greenbatt says that Williams is an asset to the network.
The Washington Post reported today (February 9th) that Williams’s story about gangs terrorizing him at the posh hotel where he stayed during Katrina:
There’s a story Brian Williams likes to tell. He has told it in a TV interview. He has told it to at least two book authors. But even though it had all the makings of a great yarn — danger, guns, resolve — Williams never reported it to his viewers.
It’s the one about the gangs that Williams claimed had “overrun” a posh Ritz-Carlton where he stayed during Hurricane Katrina.
Williams is a born showman. With that baritone, that thatch of bronze hair, that gravitas — when the NBC News anchor gets going on a story, little can stop him. But that skill, which carried him to the highest echelons of broadcast journalism, may ultimately prove his undoing. Following his concession that a military helicopter he rode during the Iraq War didn’t take fire as he claimed, Williams is now in hibernation mode. He hasn’t answered repeated interview requests and, following an NBC announcement that his reporting on Iraq and Hurricane Katrina is under review, will now take “several days” off from the network.

So, Williams is standing in the corner as his punishment, for a while, at least, hoping he’ll have another chance to claim that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. He may not be the congenital liars that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are, but he nevertheless a liar.          

The lies the news media have told me are legion. Someday I'll compile a long, long list of them.

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