Tag Archive: YouTube

Social media and the fall of Brian Williams

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Chris Cillizza wrote a short Washington Post piece last Friday entitled “Who had the worst week in Washington? NBC’s Brian Williams.” Cillizza’s op-ed described how NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was taken down by social media. In particular, Williams was placed on six months’ unpaid suspension, and may lose his job permanently, as a direct result of a Facebook comment by helicopter flight engineer Lance Reynolds, who disputed Williams’ oft-repeated story about being on a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. The social media takedown of Brian Williams was a keen observation by Cillizza, but social media are responsible for much than just Brian Williams’ job status. The Brian Williams debacle might be remembered as the moment where social media, and the Internet itself, overtook  television.

Messaging Maxim #3: There’s an Invention Called Video


Newt Gingrich is the latest politician to be nailed by his own words stated on camera. Gingrich seems to be stuck in a 1990s political messaging mentality. Back then, unless a dogged interviewer had the smoking gun videotape statement ready to roll, a la Michael Douglas‘ video attack on Demi Moore in the movie “Disclosure”, a politician sometimes could get away with making extreme, stupid, or wrongheaded statements, even on camera, because the footage might not swiftly get replayed.

Those days are gone, thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the proliferation of media.