Brian Williams suspended; Jon Stewart stepping down: Which one is the bigger item?

Did news just die today?
Brian Williams was suspended after a number of days of intrigue.. He lied about a helicopter in Iraq years ago. He also is being doubted over his tales of Katrina of watching bodies float through the street ... And now, six months from now when Americans will undoubtedly be baking under a late summer sun, we will see if NBC NEWS really brings back the anchor..

He may be forgiven.
He may be forgotten..
It also may give more time to the sleuths online who will notate any other potential lie that Williams may have uttered over the past lifetime we've all shared together.

However, a bigger event may have occurred today. Jon Stewart announced on the DAILY SHOW that he is going to step down at the end of this year--he hosted the program since 1999 and has become one of the most influential comedians in history. Not just because the DAILY SHOW has been filled with memorable humor, but also because he has become the Cronkite of our age..

He is trusted more than Williams and company.. countless Americans get their news from the DAILY SHOW each night or in snippets online the day after. His jokes are hard hitting.. they are important.. they are also game changing, often able to pinpoint hypocrisy not only within the ruling class but also within media as well. Jon Stewart brought humor back after 9/11 in a massive way.  He was the only person on television at the time who was noticing the inaccuracies in the Bush Administration during the runup to the Iraq war. After the war started, he was the sole survivor of truth on TV, giving people a humorous blend of soundbites and lies. All with a smile--but beneath the smile was the frown of truth and the exposure of emperors without clothing.

Brian Williams played a game. He lived in an act--one where he seemingly wanted to place himself in important events only to massage his own ego and inflate his own importance. He was caught. And caught up in a web of lies. With his Twitter account vanquished of all recent memory, the memory hole will have to be accessed. Undoubtedly people will still find more inconsistencies. It's a surety..

It's somewhat ironic, perhaps, that both Williams and Stewart made news today; Williams faked his way through teleprompter reading while Stewart wrote the material that would tuck Americans in each night. They could rest assured that while the world was in flames and turmoil, at least there's a way to laugh about it all..  There was much more truth on THE DAILY SHOW than anything else on the evening newscast..

Only days ago, Stewart even offered a hard hitting joke about Williams' potential demise:


Finally — someone is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq War.




 

And how true that is.. The amount of those playing war drums are much more important than anything Williams did. But they aren't questioned much.. instead they show up years later as 'experts' on major networks.. With talking heads reading friendly questions in a corporate news environment.

Thank God we had the DAILY SHOW.
And I pray we still will..

I got to like Brian Williams when I was just 16 years old watching him anchor live coverage of Flight TWA 800.  During his coverage it was entertained that a missile hit the plane...



The record of history, of course, didn't speak of a missile. Though conspiracy theories still abound about Flight 800, the memory hole was carefully filled in with the dirt of 'official' truth..

Perhaps there is some weird confidential consideration to make.. a missile hitting an airline in 1996, and they say it didn't happen.. Williams in a helicopter in the early 2000s saying a rocket propelled grenade hit, but it didn't..

Tonight the news died.
But not because of Williams and his verbal missteps.
Instead because the real newsman of our time left one of the last remaining vestiges of truth in our time..

 

About