Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brit Hume Leaves a Question Mark on Honesty in Journalism and Friendship

In one sense Brit Hume did an honorable thing in standing up for his friend, Brian Williams.

You should care about your friends and stand up for them when they are unjustly accused (or at least you think they are unjustly accused). But, in standing up for his friend the way he did, Hume denigrated the seriousness of honesty in journalism and perhaps did harm to his friend.

Certainly a liar can be a likable person. But admirable and a good guy?

If you have a friend (or spouse or child) who lies, is it best to downgrade the seriousness of that? Tell them and others that they are admirable and good? Or might it be better to say to them and others involved: This is serious. It is bad. It needs to be repented of and stopped. Especially gratuitous lying.

One can imagine someone lying under the pressure of loss of a job, possibility of going to jail or being divorced. That's bad on the liar and those lied to. But, lying just to gain attention? Or help derail a candidate you don't especially like? Or make a tragedy seem even more serious than it was? That should be decried by all who are serious about journalism and truth.

Brit Hume and Brian Williams
More important to a friend than Brian Williams' career should be Williams' character. The strange thing is that when people are caught doing bad things and they really do apologize, instead of hiding or downplaying what they did, most people readily forgive them and even give them back some trust. Often they can salvage both character and career.

"I hope he overcomes this." is a good thing to say as far as it goes. But, if Brit Hume wants to be a really good friend to Brian Williams, he should encourage Williams to make a deep change in his character. Aristotle truly said that friendship based on both people being committed to virtue is the best kind, and only lasting kind, of friendship.
Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing. And each is good without qualification and to his friend, for the good are both good without qualification and useful to each other. (Nichomachean Ethics, Book VIII, ch. 3, paragraph 3)


MAX Redline said...

Well put, TD! I'm waiting for the folks at MSNBC to suspend Al Sharpton, as he's committed similar offenses. Not holding my breath, though.

You touched upon exactly what struck me about the Williams thing - lying purely to burnish his image? That never works out well in the long run.

T. D. said...

Jesus said he who commits sin is the slave of sin. (John 8:34) Among other things, I think it means that you lose control and sense of balance. It becomes an addiction, and like all addictions controls to the detriment of the addict.

The mainstream media presents the news its own way. It doesn't try for objectivity or even fair application of standards. That's why when they get caught doctoring audio (as in the George Zimmerman case) they are surprised at the uproar. And I'm sure Brian Williams is surprised at this uproar. He got punished where a thousand other "indiscretions" have not only been passed over but applauded when applied to the people the media would like to taint, if not destroy.

They aren't nice guys to people on their enemies list.