Oxford Dictionary defines misremembering as remembering imperfectly or incorrectly. And Merriam-Webster defines conflation as “blend, fusion; especially :a composite reading or text”.
Brian Williams, the once iconic pillar of journalism, the last bastion of truth, justice and The American Way, the preppie scholar and boy next door, the guy in whom we put our trust, the guy we believed hailed to a higher standard, deceived us. Not only us, he deceived his superiors. He deceived the brave men and women who actually are shot at and have to deal with the reality of those circumstances every day, as defenders of our freedom. And then there are those closest to him: his friends, his family and his colleagues. He deceived us all.
In the last couple of days, we sadly come to find out, courtesy of Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes, that Mr. Williams has been conflating his story for years. Last I counted, about twelve. Since 2003. Hard to swallow.
And to their credit, Comcast, NBC and the powers that be moved swiftly to put him on a 6 month hiatus. In my world I call it putting him out to pasture. A respected reporter, a pillar of truth in airwaves, and one of the last icons of journalism in this country, Mr. Williams put aside his once stellar ethics, misremembered his story, and conflated the truth.
And POOF! He is gone.
The moral of the story?
1. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
2. Misremember is not a word you want to have in your vocabulary.
3. Conflation chastens.
The fall from grace is hard. Who knows what will be in store for Mr. Williams? Only time will tell if his superiors will misremember him.
Let me know what you think will happen next in your comments.