Saturday, July 02, 2005

Brian Williams "Clarifies".

NBC Nightly News anchorcritter and famous GQ coverboy Brian Williams has been roasted for his recent outrageous comments about how the modern world may view our Founding Fathers through the lens of recent history:

Many Americans woke up to a curious story this morning: several of the former Iran Hostages have decided there is a strong resemblance between Iran's new president and one of their captors more than 25 years ago. The White House and most official branches of government are ducking any substantive comment on this story, and photo analysis is going on at this and other news organizations. It is a story that will be at or near the top of our broadcast and certainly made for a robust debate in our afternoon editorial meeting, when several of us
raised the point (I'll leave it to others to decide germaneness) that several U.S. presidents were at minimum revolutionaries, and probably were considered terrorists of their time by the Crown in England.

BlogWorld immediately dumped a bucket of chum on Brian's head for these comments. And for good reason: Washington, the Adams Brothers, and Jefferson very likely did not regard England as an infidel nation whose inhabitants required annihilation. Dead Drifts greatly doubts these men would have celebrated the detonation of a keg filled with black powder and horseshoe nails in a crowded Philadelphia market. But fear not, Mr. Williams has now provided further clarification for his Deep Thoughts:

And on this busy day I'm compelled to throw in a personal note of my's about a question I asked Andrea Mitchell on Nightly News last night. Coming out of the story alleging that Iran's President-elect may have been among those who kept 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in Tehran, I asked Andrea the following question:

"What would it all matter if proven true? Someone brought up today: The first several U.S. presidents were certainly revolutionaries... and might have been called "terrorists" at the time by the BRITISH CROWN, after all..."

Today, apparently, on some radio talk shows and blogs, my
friends in the media have accused me of labeling George Washington a terrorist. They apparently missed my point: That the BRITISH CROWN might have viewed American revolutionaries that way.My question — and specifically the line, "what would it all matter..." was meant to address the popular support within Iran for those who acted against the U.S. and are now in positions of power. Those of you who are regular readers of our blog know we spoke about this very issue
yesterday in our afternoon editorial meeting.

All I ask is that people re-read what was said on the air. I've talked
to several viewers today, and one conversation I actually enjoyed was with a woman from Virginia, who said, "These days, you just can't use the word TERRORIST for anything but a TERRORIST." And I take this nice woman's point about the power of words in our current climate.

While I insist that a re-reading of my question will prove that in no
way was I calling the framers "terrorists" (for starters, the word did not exist 229 years ago), I regret that anyone thought that after a life spent reading and loving American history, I had suddenly changed my mind about the founders of our nation.

Bri, you still miss the point: neither did the word exist nor would the notion have existed with Loyalists or the Crown that their American bretheren were madmen killing for the sake of killing. Traitors, to be sure, but not terrorists as we understand what this word connotes. So your comments were just...well, stupid. (stupid: lacking intelligence or reason; a word that did exist 229 years ago).

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