I would like to tell you that STATter911.com has an enormous influence in the world of news. That, like Reggie Jackson, we are the straw that stirs the drink. Not with the Yankees, of course, but in our sphere, which is the giant media industrial complex.
I admit that probably isn't the case and it is just wishful thinking on my part. Though, we were the first to point out an important fact about an earth shattering … actually, make that ear shattering … story that rocketed across the news landscape on Tuesday evening.
I know many of you will long remember where you were and exactly what you were doing when NBC's Brian Williams delivered the news with the damn fire alarm sounding in the studio at 30 Rock. We all sat on the edge of our seats, in tears, fearing for Brian's safety.
I know what I was doing. I wasn't watching NBC Nightly News (sorry Brian). But I do remember exactly what I was doing when I first became aware of this tragic incident about an hour after it occurred. I was searching for the usual fire porno that makes this website so beloved in the fire service. That's when I came across the video of the event that horrified a nation.
What I noticed as I read stories about the ordeal at 30 Rock is that not one article mentioned Brian Williams' checkered past, which I thought, using the instinct that only comes from being a washed-up, has-been newsman, quite relevant to the story.
So, I posted the video and became the first to remind people that Brian Williams had been a volunteer firefighter as a teenager. I also mentioned that there will be some in the STATter911.com audience who will criticize him for not setting a good example to the public in staying put while the fire alarm sounded (though I did try to come to his defense a bit in our comments section).
That point was picked up (with a little help from me) by two people whose blogs actually do have a lot of influence in the media world, Al Tompkins of The Poynter Institute and Jim Romenesko, formerly with Poynter, now at JimRomenesko.com..
It was interesting that many stories the next day suddenly mentioned Brian's firefighter past. But it wasn't until last night that this aspect of the story became big news when it was picked up by our real newscast of record, The Daily Show.
Did Daily News anchor Jon Stewart mention which news organization first uncovered this crucial part of the story that's gripping the nation? Well, actually no.
Did Brian Williams, who shared with me his inner most personal thoughts about being a volunteer firefighter when we both worked the mean streets of Washington as reporters almost 30-years-ago, write to STATter911.com to answer some of the criticism from our readers? The answer again, sadly, is no.
Did Brian Williams, instead, make an appearance on The Daily Show? That answer would be yes, with an explanation.
Now for that explanation. Here's why Williams went on Stewart's show but dissed Statter. It has to do with all of the appearances by Brian Williams in recent years on shows like SNL and 30 Rock?
Brian Williams has finally learned that news is not really his strong point (I tried to convince him, unlike me, he had no future in the business back in 1983). But he has a knack for comedy and loves doing it. In addition, Brian Williams secretly craves the prestige and influence that goes with Jon Stewart's job.
I will go a step further and predict when the investigation into this near catastrophe at 30 Rock is completed you will find the fingerprints of one man and one man only all over that fire alarm. Brian Williams pulled that alarm not only to get his mug on The Daily Show but to have something for his resume reel to put him in a better position to slide right into the anchor seat when this Walter Cronkite of the 21st Century, Jon Stewart, decides to step down as America's most trusted newsman. I rest my case.