An investigation into longtime NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ reporting of first-person accounts still has close to two months remaining, but it’s not looking good for the one-time national news ratings leader.
Last week, the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN all reported leaked information saying Williams had embellished his experiences while out on reporting patrol no less than 11 times, including at least one incident which hadn’t seen the light of day.
It’s fascinating — and sobering — to see Williams’ future in limbo the way things developed after Williams’ reporting of his experiences started getting challenged in January and February. Williams apologized for “mis-remembering,” but NBC felt obligated to pull the plug on a six-month term.
The fact Williams remains on the shelf is Strike 1. Strike 2, though, could essentially count double and end Williams’ tenure at NBC. That’s the “well-placed but anonymous sources” speaking to the major media outlets, followed by said media’s willingness to report on that information. `What that trend signals is a crumbling of support for Williams, both within and without NBC.
Look: as newscasters, people take everything we say as gospel. Everything. And I’m not just talking about what we read off our Teleprompters. If we are talking about paying bills or family functions or sleep patterns, we have to tell the truth or else others question what we say on air. Fair? Who cares? It’s part of the job…and it’s an unspoken component we all need to keep in mind. The minute we don’t, well, we set the stage for our own Brian Williams moment. Or series of moments.
Regardless of how things turn out with NBC, Brian Williams will land on his feet. His reputation likely won’t.