Brian William’s Return Demonstrates NBC’s Politics

By Daniel Morgan, Advertising Manager

Lester Holt has nicely situated into his permanent stay as NBC Nightly News solo anchor. After ‘filling in’ for Brian Williams since February, it is no surprise that Holt got the job. However, it is a surprise that NBC kept Williams after his distorted statements regarding his 2003 helicopter flight in Iraq. Or is it?

After his respected decade of leading the popular half-hour news slot, it is hard for the network to give Williams the boot. Even though he lied about his whereabouts in Iraq, he still managed to make his mark on the news industry and capture the hearts of Americans everywhere. But does a decade of credibility justify a blatant lie.

NBC is reportedly moving Williams to a position at MSNBC, the network’s less popular cable division, but his actual job description is still unclear. At best, this decision will boost the ratings for MSNBC, and possibly help repair some of Williams’ reputation. Still, it is hard to process why NBC did not just flat-out fire him.

The fact that Williams is still with the network further solidifies the politics of NBC and television in general. That is, that star power is everything and firing someone without calculated compensation is taboo.

Williams is a prime example of both issues, but many more faces have gone through the NBC cycle as well.

In 1997, sportscaster Marv Albert pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor account of assault and battery. NBC fired him the day of his trial, yet brought him back two years later.

”Back a year or a year and a half ago, I thought I’d be working, but I never took it for granted that all this would fall into place,” Albert said in 1999. ”There was always a distant hope.” This “distant hope” is a trademark of NBC because they always make an effort to right the wrong or blatantly disregard the wrong altogether.

Although, it seems that Albert’s incidents were reasonably forgiven by NBC, especially because he pleaded guilty. Plus, his trial did not regard anything about sports or news. Williams lied about an incident right in his line of work.

Then there’s Anne Curry. After Meredith Vieira left the “Today” show in 2011, Ann Curry was set to replace her immediately. A year later, she was abruptly fired from the show, but was “awarded” with a new title to lead an NBC News team because she “couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line.”

Producers, including executive producer Jim Bell, were allegedly afraid of losing Matt Lauer at the end of his contract, yet Lauer was apparently one to blame for the departure because of their lack of chemistry. It ended up that the star power of Lauer would control the show and Curry got the boot without hesitation. Savanah Guthrie continues as her replacement, and Curry has since left NBC News.

David Gregory had a rash firing from NBC’s “Meet the Press” as well because of ratings. So, they just got rid of him immediately, not even giving him his own send-off. Andrea Mitchell filled in and made the announcement.

So, it is hard to establish an opinion on the current Brian Williams scandal because of NBC’s notorious past regarding the blatant mishandling of its personalities. Liars and criminals apparently get special treatment while other respected faces get shafted. This says a lot about the network as well as the politics of television in general.

Of course, no network wants scandals like these, but that is what happens when inconsistent decisions are made based upon favoritism and dishonesty.

NBC is, however, benefiting from Lester Holt since “NBC Nightly News” has regained its dominance for its time slot, beating “ABC World News” by 326,000 viewers in his first week. It will be interesting to see what is in store for the network as time leads up to Williams’ television return.

 

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