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While most people think of scripted programming when a network’s name is mentioned, NBC is becoming more and more synonymous with behind-the-scenes disaster, as Brian Williams’ recent controversy firmly swatted away the dust of Ann Curry’s departure. Though Williams has already taken it upon himself to enter a leave of absence, NBC made that more official on their end by suspending him without pay for the next six months.
Williams, who recently confessed to embellishing stories about the 2003 helicopter attack he was reportedly part of while covering the war in Iraq, has been the subject of many a TV and Internet conversation in recent days, and it was entirely possible that NBC would try to quietly send the news anchor packing. But they decided to honor his past (legitimate) work for the network and held the punishment for his “wrong and completely inappropriate” behavior to only six months, with the plan to keep Lester Holt in the anchor chair for the time being.
Here’s how NBC News Chief Deborah Turness delivered the news to all employees via memo, according to Deadline.
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.
It’s a strange situation for both the network and Brian Williams to be in right now. I’m sure Williams would never want to give up on the career that he earned and excelled at for so many years, but it will be tough to rise from the ashes of people’s rage for his dishonesty. Things got more heated when Stars and Stripes published the Williams interview when he canceled his Late Show appearance.
And for NBC, it has to be tough to show due diligence to someone while knowing that all future credibility will be under intense scrutiny. Of course, the Internet will have had roughly 17 billion things to rail against by the time Williams would come back to NBC in six months, so maybe this actually is the most understandable option.
For the best possible idea of how the news media has been handling Williams’ problems, here’s how Jon Stewart laid it out on The Daily Show recently.
Someone set NBC's "Days Passed Since Last Accident" sign back to "0." See you in six months, Bri.
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