You’ve probably heard by now that NBC News anchor Brian Williams is facing widespread criticism of late for peddling a false account of his experiences in covering the Iraq War more than a decade ago — and perhaps also for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.


Does this mean that NBC is likely to get rid of Williams?


THIS GUY says no:


It wouldíve been hard to see Williams getting past this in the 1970s. Now? Itís a breeze to see it. If Williams chooses to resign because on a deeply personal level he feels that his credibility is permanently damaged, then that will be the end of it. But NBC News isnít going to put pressure on him to leave. Heís simply too valuable a commodity, even slightly tarnished. NBC, maybe more than any other network, cynically understands that bad press blows over, especially in the era of ephemeral social media fascinations. NBC wonít even consider getting rid of Williams unless the public speaks and he falls hard from his place at the top of the ratings. And again, given how likable Williams is thatís just not likely to happen. He might have to take a leave of absence. He may have to do a round of interviews where he offers a mea culpa that doesnít sound entirely full of [blank], but heís not going anywhere unless he ó or the viewers ó decide he is.


NBC News just doesnít worry about issues like credibility in the traditional sense ó not anymore. Credibility these days isnít something that comes from within a journalist and is then projected outward; itís bestowed upon him or her by the audience. If people are watching, that means youíre credible. If youíre making money for the network, youíre trustworthy. Your value isnít in how honest and forthright you actually are, itís only in how the viewers perceive you. Williams is appealing enough that people will want to believe him, which means he can come back from this if he handles it right.

You’ve probably heard by now that NBC News anchor Brian Williams is facing widespread criticism of late for peddling a false account of his experiences in covering the Iraq War more than a decade ago — and perhaps also for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Does this mean that NBC is likely to get rid of Williams?

THIS GUY says no:

It wouldíve been hard to see Williams getting past this in the 1970s. Now? Itís a breeze to see it. If Williams chooses to resign because on a deeply personal level he feels that his credibility is permanently damaged, then that will be the end of it. But NBC News isnít going to put pressure on him to leave. Heís simply too valuable a commodity, even slightly tarnished. NBC, maybe more than any other network, cynically understands that bad press blows over, especially in the era of ephemeral social media fascinations. NBC wonít even consider getting rid of Williams unless the public speaks and he falls hard from his place at the top of the ratings. And again, given how likable Williams is thatís just not likely to happen. He might have to take a leave of absence. He may have to do a round of interviews where he offers a mea culpa that doesnít sound entirely full of [blank], but heís not going anywhere unless he ó or the viewers ó decide he is.

NBC News just doesnít worry about issues like credibility in the traditional sense ó not anymore. Credibility these days isnít something that comes from within a journalist and is then projected outward; itís bestowed upon him or her by the audience. If people are watching, that means youíre credible. If youíre making money for the network, youíre trustworthy. Your value isnít in how honest and forthright you actually are, itís only in how the viewers perceive you. Williams is appealing enough that people will want to believe him, which means he can come back from this if he handles it right.