LIONEL PODCAST: Bob Simon Was What Bri-Wi Could Only Dream of Being

During the initial period of the Gulf War in January 1991, CBS news warrior Bob Simon was captured by Iraqi forces near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. He and three other members of his crew spent 40 days in Iraqi prisons, which he wrote about in his book “Forty Days.” Simon then returned to Baghdad in January 1993 to cover the American bombing of Iraq. But here’s the takeaway. It really happened.


This was the real deal. CBS newsman extraordinaire Bob Simon and his crew endured 40 harrowing days in an Iraqi jail back in 1991. It actually happened. It was true. No embellishment, no exaggeration, no puffery. No bovine egesta. This is what Bri-Wi, the hipster moniker for the caricature formerly known as Brian Williams, only dreams he could be. Bob Simon is not the last, certainly, of a noble profession because here will always be those who are inspired to do great things and with the delivery platforms growing exponentially via citizen journalism and we’ll see more. And the ironies of ironies, Simon loses his life in a livery car on the Westside Highway in Manhattan in a freak accident. But whilst Bri-Lie embellishes stories for the pure sake of spinning mendacious yarns, this brave newsman endured and risked his life and was the suave sultan of the understatement. No need to gloat or expand. Which brings me to the other question. What motivates a man who has the best job in the world, who reads a prompter for fun and profit — and please, let’s be honest, that’s what he does! — and is asked just to not become an embarrassment? This I’ll never understand.

Brian Williams. We hardly knew ye.

Who’d a thunk? When Williams came up with the initial lie of having taken RPG fire whislt in Iraq, I thought it would blow over before you knew it. After all, one story. Big deal. Yeah. But it wasn’t one story but what now seems to be one thousand instances of unnecessary and unprompted and unimaginable distortions of what vaguely represents the truth. And you know it got really serious when the memes that sprung up — and were quite funny — actually presaged the new spate and slew of Williams whoppers. Meeting the Pope? At the Berlin Wall when it fell? Discovering the Higgs Boson? (OK, that was mine, but still.) The degree and arc of lies have caromed to such an extent no damage control is even possible. And yet, this is still the only person ever to be sanctioned for lying about Iraq.

The insanity of entropy. I’m irreligious admittedly and try to bite my tongue when saccharine comments about Gawd’s mercy pop up. But any suggestion that The Almighty planned and scheduled Simon’s demise is beyond any semblance of insanity. The tragedy of this man’s demise is inexplicable and incalculable. Period.

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