David Brooks: Reaction to Brian Williams ‘Way Out of Proportion to What He Did’

On Friday’s broadcast of “NewsHour” on PBS, New York Times columnist David Brooks shared his view on the controversy surrounding NBC “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams and the issue of his six-month suspension from the network after having been shown he exaggerated a number of stories, including an incident during the invasion of Iraq and a recount of his experiences in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Brooks offered a theory as to why Williams did what he did, but added that he thought the reaction was overblown.

“[I]t speaks to a couple truths,” Brooks explained. “The one is that no amount of public success is satisfying. You can have all the accolades in the world, be where Brian Williams was, at the tippy-top. Public fame is still empty and it still leaves you hungry, and you still want to brag a little more, on the hope that you will get what you want, which is some sort of adulation that will satisfy you. But that never happens. That never comes. And so it just leaves you hungrier and hungrier. And I think that’s what we saw with Brian Williams, somebody who just wanted to be seen a little cooler and so made up some stuff.”

“I personally think the reaction against him is way out of proportion to what he did,” he continued. “And I think we all have to cultivate a capacity for forgiveness, a rigorous forgiveness for what he did. And I personally hope he continues his job.”

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