It’s too bad Williams never got the memo, because the disgraced journalist and managing editor of NBC News has become the clown of social media.
The hashtag #BrianWilliamsMisremembers trolls his knack for telling yarns by placing him at the scene of history’s most recognizable events. “The food at the last supper was pretty terrible, so I ordered pizza,” he brags from within da Vinci’s famous painting, where he’s pictured crashing Jesus’s final meal. In the past few days, Twitter users have sited Williams everywhere from JFK’s convertible to Tupac Shakur’s passenger seat, making the question of where he was or wasn’t ever more complex.
Williams is only the latest in a painfully long line of fallen journalists who have twisted the facts, including The New York Times‘s Jayson Blair, USA Today‘s Jack Kelley, The New Republic’s Stephen Glass, and The Washington Post’s Janet Cooke. But unlike Williams, none of them have had to face up to the digital crowd. In recent years the time honored tradition of roasting public figures — the delight of every newspaper cartoonist — has become increasingly democratic. Might the laughing masses be enough of a deterrent to future would-be fibbers?