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Join TSPR for a weekly conversation about media issues. News Director Rich Egger and expert panelists discuss what’s in the news about the news business.

A Consequence of Exaggeration

Former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was re-assigned and will now handle breaking news on cable channel MSNBC.  His fall from grace began early this year when he exaggerated some of the events that occurred while he covered the War in Iraq in 2003.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton believes NBC did the best it could given the situation.  And she’s not surprised he will remain with the network.  Crighton said Williams is well-respected and well-liked by television audiences and she believes viewers are willing to forgive him.

Panelist Rich Moreno wondered why Williams is considered credible enough to appear on MSNBC but not on the main channel.   He said CBS shoved Dan Rather out the door after he was misled by a source in a story about George W. Bush’s military service.

Panelist Rich Egger feels TV audiences are more willing to forgive and forget than fellow journalists.  He questioned whether most viewers will remember details of the scandal a year from now. 

Lester Holt replaced Williams as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and ratings initially increased with Holt at the helm, leading Egger to wonder if the decision to re-assign Williams was partially driven by ratings.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.