Thursday, February 19, 2015


By Charles Snow  

Now the news is dominating the news! The absurd behavior of Brian Williams, and the way NBC Nightly News dealt with it, must have Walter Cronkite, the best TV news anchor of all time, rolling over in his grave. Obviously I can’t speak for Walter Cronkite, but I can use the lens of his self-assurance and integrity to analyze the Brian Williams situation.

Apparently, Williams has “misremembered” what he should have learned in his journalism training—that he should not inject himself into the stories he is reporting. Moreover, not only did he insert himself into his reporting of U.S. helicopters taking enemy fire in Iraq, he lied about his own involvement. If Williams had any integrity whatsoever, he would have resigned as soon as his lie became public.

Speaking of integrity, what about NBC Nightly News? After a few days of internal discussion, the network decided to suspend Williams for six months without pay. NBC’s decision appears to be based on protecting its ratings and market share rather than its integrity. The fact that Williams was not fired suggests that it is OK at NBC News to make up stories and report them as true. Perhaps NBC is hoping that over the next six months, Brian Williams can rehabilitate himself and return to work an honest journalist.

However this story plays out, I look forward to the next breaking news about Brian Williams and the whole sordid affair.

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