Saturday, February 28, 2015

Brian Williams Trial Paper


Opening Statement:

Dear members of the jury, we are all here for the prosecution of Brian Williams, beloved and world renowned news anchor. The prosecution has laid its claim that Mr. Williams has perpetrated manifold crimes, and he is charged with hindering the war effort, committing fraud against the American people, subverting the validity of the press, undermining the bravery of the soldiers, and the cardinal sin of Envy. As it may be obvious, each one of these charges are far fetched and erroneous. He has been blamed with hindering the war effort due to his misremembering of the events which occurred in Iraq of 2003. This is faulty logic, however, as the maximum possible effect of his actions are nearly akin to none at all. Forgetting the exact details of an event which occurred two years earlier does not compromise any military actions or plans, nor does it hinder the amount of volunteers to the military, and if it did it is insignificant. The second accusation of Mr Williams harming the validity of the press is illogical because the validity of the press is constantly in question, by the public as well as by other critics. It is something which one person, no matter how successful and liked, cannot undermine and cripple. One disremembered story cannot cause an entire industry to be impaired or weakened. It could also be stated that the American public drive stories such as this to be embellished, as it is proven based on views that the American public enjoys news anchors who can straddle the line between anchor and entertainer. The prosecution then goes on to claim that Mr. Williams was committing fraud against the American people, however this statement can be easily disproven using the simple and legal definition of the word fraud. The word fraud means “deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain.” It cannot be proven that the actions of Mr. Williams were deliberate, nor can it be proven that it was to achieve unfair or unlawful gain. The next claim brought against Mr. Williams is that he undermines the bravery of soldiers in the United States Armed Forces. This could be considered an insulting claim, as it states that the bravery of our fine soldiers was so easily broken, that it could be impaired by one statement made by a news anchor. Not only is this insulting, but there is also no valid evidence to back it, and it is an entirely false claim. It should also be noted that the aftermath of this error should not fall entirely on Mr. Williams, as there are many others involved in the story, from the editors reviewing it to the NBC News Division executives, both of which knew that Mr. Williams did not, in fact, get shot down in a helicopter. Mr Williams was merely used as a scapegoat for the NBC Network to shift the blame upon, rather than have the finger pointed at themselves. The final and most heinous claim against Mr. Williams is that of the cardinal sin of Envy. While this claim should not possibly hold up in any court of law, it can be easily discarded due to two major core values of our fine nation, the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. All of this evidence culminates into one undeniably true fact, Mr. Williams is innocent of all charges.

Whole Argument:

Dear members of the jury, you have now heard the prosecution’s argument and evidence, and now the defense would like to show you how bloated these claims truly are. Let us start with the claim that Mr. Williams actions have hindered the war effort. The claim brought forth by the prosecution states that the actions of Mr. Williams misremembering the events back in 2003 impedes the war effort of the entire United States of America. While it is possible for the United States to prosecute those who interfere with the war effort, the fault in the argument lies with the idea that one man, a single news anchor, can hinder the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire United States Military. His actions have not affected or exposed any military operations, as he merely stated that the helicopter he was in was shot down, this exposes no military operations, nor does it compromise the actions or location of any military personnel. In no way is the information that a Chinook helicopter was shot down a vital piece of intelligence to the United States Armed Forces, and it does not affect the war effort in any way. It also does not impair the number of active duty military personnel, as can be seen in the deployment ratings between 2003 and 2011, when the war in Iraq officially ended. The number of voluntary recruits remained stable at around 1.35 million active troops in every branch of the military. In 2003 the number of ADMPs was around 1,423,348, while in 2011 the number of ADMPs was 1,468,364. This proves that Mr. Williams had no end effect on the recruitment of new military personnel, as the overall number of ADMPs increased. All of this evidence shows that Mr. Williams had no meaningful effect on the United States Armed Forces war effort, and is thus innocent of this accusation.
The second accusation against Mr. Williams is that he undermines the validity of the press, and harms the trust between the American media and public. This claim is unfounded, as it is the job of some and the action of many to constantly question the media as well as the news, and it happens to every statement ever spoken by any news network. Renowned news anchors such as Bill O’Reilly are constantly put into question, as it is in the interest of the public to search as hard as they can for the truth, rather than take the first statement they hear as fact. Mr. Williams distortion of the truth was simply another situation in which the public questioned the statements of the media, it is not the first, and most certainly not the last time that the public will investigate the news on their own. It is also false to claim that one news anchor, no matter how popular, can degrade an entire industry, and harm its reputation. The media is a multi-billion dollar industry, and to state that one man can harm its entire reputation is an unbacked claim. Another point is that many news networks lie and make false assumptions, and to call a single man out is unjust and unfair. For example during the period following 9/11, many news networks made the claim that Saddam Hussein was directly involved, and this later led to a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was responsible. This is a false assumption, and even after the information was discovered that he had no connection, the media was unquestioned and this occasion was simply disregarded. This is another case which should have undermined the reputation of the media, much more so than a disremembering of a single occasion, however the media was never questioned over this and never called out. One could say that this occasion should have had more of an effect, but it didn't, and so this small failure to remember obviously had no true effect on the media’s reputation with the public.
Another claim made by the prosecution is that Mr. Williams has committed fraud against the American people. This claim is easily disproven using the definition of fraud, which states that fraud is the “deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain”. It is impossible for the prosecution to prove Mr. Williams intent, nor can it be proven that this story was in any way to prove unfair or unlawful gain. It is impossible to prove that the goal of this story was to garner unfair or unlawful gain, and while the prosecution may claim that embellished stories draw in more views and thus help the reporter, it should be known that reporters and paid flat salaries, thus meaning that whether or not the viewership rises, other than by extremely large amounts, does not affect the actual pay grade of the reporter. The prosecution may also claim that the story was simply to gain fame, and not monetary gain, however this is a statement which is very difficult to prove as it may not have been his intent to garner fame, but rather simply an outcome, and it can also be stated that telling interesting tales to gain money is quite common, and this is not considered fraud. Even tales which are claimed to be true are not questioned or prosecuted, and prosecuting Mr. Williams for the intentional deception of the American public is hypocritical and wrong.
It should be noted that the American public also unintentionally drove news anchors such as Mr. Williams to present interesting stories like these, as well as the news. This form of presenting the news, through telling interesting stories as well as relaying the news, stems from the desire of the public to be both entertained by as well as educated by their news station. They desire to have a news anchor who straddles the line between entertainer and news broadcaster. This is clearly shown in the ratings between news channels such NPR and Fox, which garner 11.1 million and 20.9 million views respectively. This shows that more people desire an entertaining story than a completely factual one, however they claim to desire both. The public pushes news anchors to find and develop encapturing stories to the point where they will actually misremember events in their past in order to present a more engrossing report. In this way partial blame should fall upon the American public for compelling Mr. Williams to find a way to present a better story, even if the details were not entirely true.
The fourth charge brought against Mr. Williams is that he undermines the bravery of the soldiers in the United States Armed Forces. The claim that a single reporter could possibly undermine the courage of our nations fine soldiers is both insulting and unfounded. The prosecutors claim that a single news anchor could impair the bravery of our troops, and that our troops’ bravery was so easily broken, that Mr. Williams has had a negative effect on the United States Armed Forces as a whole. This is not only degrading, but also has no veritable evidence backing it, and is an entirely false claim. It is very difficult, nigh impossible, to measure someone’s bravery and especially that of an entire military. There is no test for this, and there is no obvious effect of having cowardly or courageous troops. To believe that an army’s courage can somehow be measured and weighed, and that this courage is a physical and discernible feature of the Armed Forces is false, and while it is in no way disputed the troops are brave, it is impossible to factually prove this. This claim is also foolish in its assumption that undermining one's bravery is an offense, or a charge which can be brought against someone. While it may be argued that the undermining of the army’s bravery is actually hindering the war effort, it has been already stated that it is impossible to prove any change in a military force’s courage.
One important aspect of this trial that should be noted is that the aftermath of this error and the subsequent blame which follows should not fall directly upon Mr. Williams, as he is not the person solely responsible for the creation and production of the NBC News Network. This is especially important as the producers and editors of the NBC News Network would have certainly known that this misremembered story was false, as they would have learned his helicopter had been shot and would most likely have reported it quicker than two years after the fact. They did not do this however, and instead decided to allow the story to be aired. In this way even more of the blame should fall on NBC’s shoulders, as they allowed for the story that they definitely knew was false, and are now attempting to use Mr. Williams as a scapegoat for their deception. Even if the story was presented by Mr. Williams, which there is no proof of, it is the job of the editors and producers to make sure the truth is heard, theoretically, and simply the job of anchors such as Mr. Williams to relay this information to the public. We should not shoot the messenger for their misdeed, but rather the man who let him get to us with false information.
The last charge brought against Mr. Williams by the prosecution is his commitment of the cardinal sin Envy. While this claim could never truly be used in any court of law, as stated before there are two major aspects of our nation which allow for this claim to be easily disproven. Both of these can be found in the First Amendment, and each has been a core value of our nation since its creation. They are both formulated in the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The Establishment clause states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, stopping the church from becoming integral in the nation’s functions and judicial system, and the Free Exercise Clause states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise there of. All of this culminates into the Congress being unable to make decisions involving religion, as well as attempting to force religious values, such as the seven deadly sins, which is a Catholic concept, on others. This is why the prosecution is unable to bring a Catholic concept into the court of law, and why they are unable to use it as a legal charge against anyone. The church is to remain a separate entity from the state, especially the judicial system, as stated in the First Amendment, and thus these concepts cannot be used in the court of law. Members of the jury, all of this evidence culminates into the overarching reality that Mr. Williams is innocent of all charges, as each of the charges presented to the jury is unfounded and illogical.

Closing Statement:

Dear members of the jury, as you can clearly see, Mr. Williams has only been charged with irrational and unrealistic claims. Mr. Williams has obviously not hindered the war effort, as his actions neither revealed important military plans or secrets, and it also did not hinder the recruitment rates of the United States Armed Forces as the recruitment for Active Duty Military Personnel increased from 2003 to 2011. Mr. Williams also committed no fraud against the American people, as this implies he was attempting to garner unfair gain in some way, and that this was an entirely intentional action. It has been shown, however, that his financial gain is not affected by the number of viewers for the news station, and it is impossible to show that he was attempting to increase his fame. It is also impossible to prove that all of his actions were intentional. The next charge brought against Mr. Williams was that he subverted the validity of the press, however it has been proven that the validity of an entire industry is not so easily undermined by one anchor, no matter how popular, as well as the fact that the press is constantly coming into question by critics and the public. The next charge brought against Mr. Williams is that he undermined the bravery of the American soldiers. This is both degrading to the soldiers and false, as it implies that the soldiers have such fragile courage, as well as that the undermining of courage is illegal. It is not illegal, and if it were considered hindering the war effort, it is obvious to those who really think about it that courage cannot be measured, nor can its effect on the war be weighed. The next final charge Mr. Williams is prosecuted for committing is that of the cardinal sin of Envy. The United States government was designed to exclude the church and all its aspects, including concepts enveloped in its ideals, such as The Seven Deadly Sins, from all matters of the state. This is why one cannot be charged for a religious doctrine, as the judicial system cannot create any laws nor any rulings respecting religion, as it is not allowed to be an aspect considered in any part of the law based on the First Amendment of the Constitution. What the prosecution failed to address was that Mr. Williams was simply used as a scapegoat for the NBC News Division, who knew full well that this story was not entirely true, and yet allowed for Mr. Williams to continue with it anyway in an attempt to garner views for their company. They then blamed Mr. Williams for the story, suspending him, and directing blame from the shoulders of their editors to that of the man they simply tasked with relating it. It is also very important to note that the American public does not punish and even supports news anchors who can straddle the line between entertainer as well as relayer of the truth. They wish to be told the information as well as have it conveyed in an interesting way, and this pushes news anchors such as Mr. Williams to attempt to find ways to capture their audiences imagination and interest. Members of the jury, we have shown you the overwhelming evidence against Mr. Williams guilt, and propose that Mr. Williams be found innocent and free of all the illogical charges brought against him by the prosecution, thank you.

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