I predict Brian Williams will eventually resign to pursue other opportunities. How can I predict such an event? While the military events surrounding Brian Williams and I are vastly dissimilar, the events and brouhaha surrounding Williams mirrors, almost exactly, what occurred to me five years prior.
As I wrote three years ago in my post Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem, “…when I had a personal failure in the eyes of the community and I requested not so much redemption but forgiveness, I was given none.” On April 1st 2010, I was informed to take personal leave and then summarily executed the following day on Good Friday. And to this day, I remain forgiven by God, but unforgiven by the community.
For Williams, step one occurred Saturday, as he announced:
“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions. As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days.
What makes Williams believe he won’t be the story upon his return? Nothing.
As reported by the Washington Post, covering combat in person is a significant — and potentially life-changing — event. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 61 journalists were killed in 2014. Twenty-three died while covering combat in 2014 and that’s nothing of situations such as the executions of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and other journalists by militant groups such as the Islamic State.
But what of accountability? As seasoned reporter, does he not have an ethical viewpoint that must be maintained? He does. But ethical principals are not equally adjudicated. Fox News Channel’s Geraldo Rivera was kicked out of Iraq in 2003 for revealing future troop movements while Dan Rather resigned as a CBS News anchor after acknowledging he used unverified documents in a story questioning President George W. Bush’s military service. However, even after a posting a seminude photo online, Rivera still corresponds for Fox while Rather’s career as a newscaster died a long painful death.
The lessons are twofold.
First, in todays’ world, almost everything you do is recorded. Everything you do via the Internet or social media is watched, tracked, monitored and recorded. Do not ever put anything on the Internet that you would not want someone to hold you accountable for.
Secondly, when you fall, learn to live through and past the experience. I violated the trust of those surrounding me way too many times. Those very events cost me dearly: lost my job, lost the love of my life, burned through a hell of a lot of savings. In truth, I found the following statement most profound, “Arrogant people cannot walk in unison with God or others.” It simply cannot occur.
For Williams the first year will be hell. Even the best personal energy is eroded by the constant emotional toll. I constantly found myself in torrent seas, lying too wounded from the battle. While the life I so wanted was reminiscent of a ship’s hull being ripped from the rocks, I found myself slowly sinking, swallowed by the darkened sea.
As a Buddhist, be forgiving. All of us have made mistakes. But we can strive to be of service, be mindful in understanding, showing kindness, honesty and humility. These are the worthy human values all of us should be proud to acquire. And while we may have gone to jail, lost a job, lost a loved one or family, we can become contributors to the greater good.
Nealry, five years later, I’m a survivor. I survived both my own inhumanity and that of the world around me. And while I lost my career, the death of our hopes in one led me to live out those hopes via another.