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At what point does embellishment become plain ole, bold-faced lying? I mean, everybody lies about something or other and everybody embellishes a story at one time or another during the course of their lives but, at what point do we draw the line? When we do stop calling something a “little white lie” and just call it a lie?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last month or so, you know that during one of his many news stories over the past twelve years or so, Brian Williams placed himself in harm’s way while reporting on violence abroad. Truth be told, he darn near placed himself on the battlefield!! Okay, that was clearly an embellishment (that word again), but there is a definite point to be made. If Mr. Williams had simply told his exaggerated story to his closest friends during one of their guess-whose-story-tops-your-story sessions then, no big deal. I mean, he would be the undisputed champion of his inner circle, but that’s about it. No harm, no foul.

However, to get on National Television and tell his story as part of an actual news report as well as to go on late night television programs and repeat the story becomes so much more than simply stretching the truth of a story between friends/frenemies! Going on National Television and telling his story as if a news-worthy fact is, plainly stated, a complete lie. Brian Williams was not embellishing a story to impress his inner circle. He was lying to the American public.

This is unacceptable on so many levels that I cannot even cover them all. As such, this action cannot be tolerated…no matter how likeable the perpetrator is!!

This becomes even more insane when you consider what happened with Dan Rather, who left CBS after some 43 years following his questioning the record of then President George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the National Guard. It should be noted that Mr. Rather’s news story was, by all accounts, accurate. The question then must be asked: should Brian Williams’ lie be handled less stringently than Rather’s truth? Should telling a lie on National Television for the sake of personal pride be held to a lesser standard than reporting news in an accurate fashion?

Telling the truth vs Setting the record straight? Which is more important? Should Brian Williams receive a six month penance while Dan Rather’s contract was not renewed?

I think not!

And what of the others in the media who routinely lie to the American public, feeding them hatred and vitriol in the guise of ‘fair and balanced’ coverage? Should they not be removed as well? Or has lying become the new truth?

Can anybody hear me?

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What do you think would happen if the terms, “Christian” or “Christianity” were mentioned every time a crime was committed in the United States. by an everyday, church going American citizen?  For example, the “Christian Rapist” or the “Christian Bomber” committed this crime today.  I mean, this is what happens when a Muslim or someone from a non-European country who falls outside of the Christian faith commits a crime.

For example, whenever a terroristic act occurs, we frequently hear that the perpetrator was Islamic or a Muslim terrorist or an Islamic extremist.  This is often followed by a litany of well-chosen words designed to instill fear in the listener.  If this treatment was the same in all cases, how do you think Christianity would be viewed?  Might it be viewed in the same vein that Islam is today?  With that in mind, we have to ask ourselves if there a campaign to give Islam a bad name while preserving the name of Christianity?

Let’s face it; a lot of our understanding of our society is largely shaped by television and other mass media.  Our views are framed by what we have been told.  Whether you admit it or not, when you are on the train or on a bus and someone of Middle Eastern descent boards, you instantly feel nervous, especially after 9-11.  If the Middle Easterner has the audacity to be wearing a backpack, he could clear off the entire front row if he just pretends to be even slightly agitated!

Nevertheless, when it is a homegrown terrorist, such as Timothy McVeigh, religion often does not come into play.  Why not?  Timothy McVeigh was labeled a lone devil and Christianity got to maintain its good name even while its members continue to commit egregious crimes and horrible social offenses in the United States on a daily basis.  Somehow, Christianity is never discussed when any crimes occur.  So, when a crime is committed by a good old, Sunday-going Christian, their religious background is simply left out.  We may hear that the offender was “slightly off” or “bored” or “socially disaffected/awkward” or simply “wealthy” with nothing better to do then to construct a bomb and use it in a crowded arena.  The one thing we won’t hear is whether the criminal was Baptist, Catholic etc.  No, we won’t hear that.

Can anybody hear me?

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