In the wake of Brian Williams’ six-month suspension from NBC News, Rebecca Adelman offered a fresh perspective on the story and argued that Williams’ actions were more complex than their first appearance on the surface.
Adelman, an assistant professor of media and communication studies, wrote an article for The Conversation in which she examined public reactions to Williams’ false claims about his experience reporting in Iraq and how they spoke to the way military service is valued in American culture: “…I’d suggest instead that Williams inadvertently revealed something about the profoundly contradictory place military service occupies in American culture,” Adelman wrote.
In her article, Adelman discussed how the automatic nature of public gratitude for military service in the United States makes it easy to mistake its origins.
“The Williams story revealed how readily, and convincingly, such attachments can be fabricated. Indeed, he explained his wrongdoings in terms of bewildered appreciation. It all started, he said in his apology, ‘in an effort to honor and thank’ the man who had protected him. This turned, he admitted, into a ‘bungled attempt … to thank one special veteran’ of the many who have his ‘greatest respect.'”
She added: “The public anger at Williams, in other words, may be rooted in something more than his deceitfulness. What may be upsetting us is his very visible failure to perform what many see as the purest expression of good citizenship – thanking the military.”
To read the full article titled “Brian Williams, the military and American culture, click here.