Brian Williams’ toxic silence strategy is having a very predictable outcome. The process reminds me of the story of the three-legged pig.
A friend visits his neighbor’s house for dinner. Just before sitting down, a small, noisy, three-legged pig runs through the dining room. The visitor is startled but the family seems very calm. “What is that three-legged pig all about?” he asks.
“Oh,” the neighbors say, “He is an extremely valuable pig . . .”
“Yes, but why does the pig only have three legs?” the visitor inquired.
“Because he’s really valuable,” the family responds in a chorus.
“Okay, okay, okay,” said the visitor. “Just why is this pig so valuable?”
“He saved Joey’s life.”
“The pig saved your little brother’s life?” the guest asked incredulously.
“Yes, yes, yes. Little Joey fell into the pond behind our house. The little pig saw it and made such a racket people came running and pulled little Joey out of the water.”
“Okay,” said the visitor, “I’ll agree that that’s valuable. But why does the pig only have three legs?” the visitor again inquired.
“He saved our mom’s life too,” the family again chorused.
“And how did this happen?” asked the increasingly irritated visitor.
“Mom was cooking in the kitchen one afternoon and she accidentally knocked something onto the stove that caught fire. Mom fainted. The pig made such a racket the neighbors came over to see what happened, put the fire out and got mom to safety.”
“Okay, I agree that this is one really, really valuable pig. I’d still like to know why it only has three legs,” inquired a now very frustrated visitor.
At this point, the son spoke up and said, “When you got a pig this valuable, you eat them real slow.”
Whatever happens, Brian Williams has now become entree #1 on the media’s menu of valuable and nutritious story material that will be chewed and consumed very slowly and carefully for the rest of Brian Williams’ life.
James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC; APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus
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