A fresh update on Brian Williams’s fate appeared in the NYTimes today: NBC will retain Brian Williams on MSNBC, its cable TV news station, but has solidified Lester Holt as its primetime announcer. The article was based on hush-hush, off-the-record information from confidential sources not at liberty to be quoted. Nevertheless, it’s a “leak” that will test the winds of public opinion before an official announcement is made later this week.
To the over 200 comments that followed this article, I added this one:
“Wipe all the judgment aside. This is a cold-blooded business decision and a politically astute one too, it seems to me. MSNBC has been floundering for quite some time and where else to give Brian Williams a probation period to prove that he can do something else besides read the teleprompter and embellish himself in editorial comments? NBC has nothing to lose (except perhaps poor Andrea Mitchell who deserves a safe haven somewhere at NBC and not under Brian Williams, God forbid.) Plus, it puts Williams on ice as it were, as mentioned in the article, so that he doesn’t move to another network, spill more NBC dirt, or try to compete with NBC. Very smart move – Solomonic, even.
Let’s see what they do with Lester Holt’s succession queue too – Savannah Guthrie appeals to women, Millennials and would retain older viewers too. Her appearance this week has been refreshing even as we acknowledge that Lester Holt has lightened his anger and trimmed his physique to stay the course for NBC after Brian William’s public hara-kiri on screen.
The only reason we’ve watched NBC is not who reads the news, but that their news organization actually goes to places that matter and shows more in-depth coverage than the People-Magazine human interest stories that seem to proliferate on all three major networks. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed for Andrea Mitchell and hope that she can hold her own – or move up to another level of national political reporting on NBC itself. She deserves no less.”