UPDATE: Brian Williams Suspended
Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” was suspended for six months following his misrepresentation of accounts of some news events, NBC said Tuesday night.
NBC News Released the following memo to its staff:
A Note from Deborah Turness
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We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.
Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.
While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.
In addition, we have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field.
As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times.
Steve Burke, Pat Fili and I came to this decision together. We felt it would have been wrong to disregard the good work Brian has done and the special relationship he has forged with our viewers over 22 years. Millions of Americans have turned to him every day, and he has been an important and well-respected part of our organization.
As I’m sure you understand, this was a very hard decision. Certainly there will be those who disagree. But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.
This has been a difficult time. But NBC News is bigger than this moment. You work so hard and dedicate yourselves each and every day to the important work of bringing trusted, credible news to our audience. Because of you, your loyalty, your dedication, NBC News is an organization we can – and should – all be proud of. We will get through this together.
Steve Burke asked me to share the following message.
“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”
The Brian Williams scandal is no longer being managed by NBC News or the network itself, but it has been bumped up to NBCUniversal corporate management and its not looking good for Williams
The Hollywood Reporter is saying:
According to sources at the network, CEO Steve Burke along with NBCUniversal News Group CEO Pat Fili-Krushel and NBC News chief Deborah Turness are considering a scenario that would include a lengthy suspension and full-throated apology from Williams. And a decision is likely to come this week, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Williams was excluded from a meeting over the weekend with NBC executives, but he did meet with Burke at Burke’s Manhattan apartment on Tuesday morning; a meeting initiated by Burke. The two men are known to have a warm relationship; they regularly lunch together in the executive dining room at NBC’s 30 Rock headquarters.
But the “warmth” is cooling off.
And whether Williams can be saved also will reflect on Fili-Krushel and Turness, who was installed during the summer of 2013 by Fili-Krushel. Meanwhile, CNN has reported that Williams’ representative, Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, was spotted at 30 Rock on Monday.
(…)Williams is still in danger of losing his job. And numerous internal candidates have been floated in the media including Today anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist; CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla; Lester Holt, who is currently filling in for Williams; and Tom Brokaw, who preceded Williams as Nightly anchor. There have even been reports that NBC brass have considered bringing Katie Couric back, though Couric tweeted that those rumors are untrue.
Whatever happens it looks as if this will come to a head before the weekend…we shall see.