Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Mother Jones magazine, described by some as "the bottom rung of journalism," has suggested that Bill O'Reilly may have "His Own Brian Williams Problem." First of all, it should be duly pointed out that the description of Mother Jones comes from Bill O'Reilly himself.  To clarify, The Brian Williams problem is one of veracity, not necessarily being from New Jersey. It is the opinion of writers Daniel Schulman and David Corn, writing from that bottom rung. These gentlemen suggest that Bill may have conflated his own resume as a war correspondent. Bloviation was what he was accused of, which of course was the ironic point Corn and Schulman were trying to make, in contrast to the field day O'Reilly had with Brian William's credentials.
Well, I'm here to tell you that I have never been in a war zone. I have had my own brushes with life and death, and each time I tell the stories, I understand that they become a little more colorful. I know that the day I witnessed a gang shooting on the streets of Oakland is one that has only become spicier over time. The first time I told it, right after I got home, it was a two paragraph, run-on sentence kind of thing. Just the facts. Upon reflection, I was able to make a few edits and add some appropriate lyrics, and suddenly it became a blog entry. Five years later, my memory of those events have become more emphatic but I don't know if they are as specific as they used to be. That's one of my war stories. Over time, they change. I've used that story to illustrate a number of points, not the least of which is how lucky I am to have been standing just to one side of the gun that went off very near my head. Handgun. Not a machine gun. Was it six shots, or was it only five? To tell you the truth in all this excitement, I've kind of lost track myself.
Like the 1960's: If you remember them, you weren't there. Unless you really were, in case you probably do and your memory of those hazy crazy days are bent by fifty years and whatever you did to twist your mind between now and then. Given what we all know about Vietnam and Woodstock, why would we believe any first-hand account? Why would I believe any first-hand account of any incident involving drugs, gunfire or both? I'm looking at you, Doctor Hunter S. Thompson. Most of my war stories are confined to the silly and deranged things that stoned, drunk and otherwise altered college boys get themselves into. I'm glad that no one is busy fact-checking those. With age, they have only become more grandiose and embroidered. That is the privilege of a misspent youth. At least that's the way I like to tell it.
But I'm not a News Anchor. I am not the most trusted man in America. Who is?

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