Maybe some of you have heard about this, but probably most don’t even watch live TV anymore. Things are changing with technology and mass communication very rapidly. However this last Fall NBC News asked their news anchor, Brian Williams, to step down because he had been caught on air (I actually saw the newscast when he did it) fabricating a story of being shot out of the air in Iraq a few years back. The fact was an army helicopter miles from his news team was shot and forced to land – not his helicopter.
More of the story is coming out now as New York magazine is publishing its expose on the whole affair. A former NBC executive now reveals that Williams “very quickly came to believe that he was the person running the news division . . . Brian just saw that as an opportunity to run a truck through the news division and get whatever he wanted. Suddenly he’s appearing on all these shows, Jimmy Fallon and 30 Rock and everything else. This spread the idea in Brian’s mind that he was this kind of newsman-entertainer. That he was a national raconteur.”
Interesting. It’s interesting to me as I’ve read some of the commentary on this issue because it appears as if there is a debate going on about the soul of journalism and broadcast journalism. The debate involves an important question. Is a broadcast journalist’s job to report the news as plainly as possible or to be an info-tainer who broadcasts “truthi-ness” (a term mockingly coined by comedian and faux news anchor Stephen Colbert)? Funny, how that is the same debate going on within the church about the role of a pastor. We’re having our own debate about the soul how a pastor presents The Gospel. Is a pastor’s job to report the Gospel as plainly as possible or to be an info-tainer who communicates “truthi-ness” (a Gospel that’s easy on the ears)? Very weird that journalists and pastors are having to think critically about what they are doing in this present age of entertainment.