By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief of USDR.
In a matter of just a couple of weeks Brian Williams plummeted from the biggest rock star in the news universe to a man who is on the ropes as he watches his career vanish before his very eyes.
Taking a chapter out of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s book, NBC is creating an imaging disappearance act when it comes to its news anchor. Under Joseph Stalin’s government, individuals who feel out of favor were not only executed, but were banished from the pages of government books in a way as if they never existed, as in this example below:
This same approach is seems to be in the process of being deployed by NBC towards Brian Williams. Over the past weekend it was declared by Williams (though prompted by the network) and NBC were taking a break. On February 9th, Lester Holt (sitting in for Brian) made that announcement (starting at 12.41). During the broadcast, the logo and verbal announcement made it clear it was still the Nightly News with Brian Williams. On February 10, the branding still included Brian Williams (both audio and logo) and it appeared it was still just a break. On February 11, things had changed dramatically, there was no mention of Brian Williams as far as the branding (neither the logo or audio) and no mention of him until 12.29 in the broadcast. During that time, Lestor Holt announced that Brian Williams had in fact, been suspended. There is no no mention of Williams on the NBC News site, except as a news story.
It appears obvious that Brian Williams break will likely be significantly longer than 6 months. In fact, I will be surprised if he ever sits in that anchor chair again. Does he deserve a second chance? Should he be forgiven? The answer is “yes” on both counts. No one ever questioned Williams work ethic or commitment to his trade and he is very talented in front of the TV camera. However, he will likely need to do something else on TV other than anchor the news. This is a position that requires absolute integrity and honesty and Williams has demonstrated being challenged in both areas. There is no doubt that some network would love to add Williams to their family of personalities.
This past week the news industry lost Bob Simon of CBS 60 Minutes fame in a tragic car accident. He was a legend and considered one of the finest in his field, but few know him from outside of his news role. Simon was old school and was committed to being about the news and nothing else. Few “serious anchors” have inserted themselves in the larger popular like Brian Williams, and I believe that played no small role in his current situation. If Williams gets a second chance, which seems very likely, I hope he follows the example of Simon going forward and “sin no more.” Otherwise, I hope he chooses to simply do something else for a living. We have plenty of entertainers and we con’t need such on the evening news.
Runners up for This Week’s Big Story:
- Ted Cruz pursues Obamacare repeal…again.
- The tragic death of a young aid worker, Kayla Jean Mueller.
- Obama wanting expanded authorization on fighting terrorism.
What do you think was the Big Story of the Week? Sound off on Twitter @USDailyReview, #BigStory