Brian Williams Suspended Six Months Without Pay…
TVNewser’s Mark Joyella writes that Brian Williams has been suspended by NBC for six months without pay.
NBC News has announced that Brian Williams will be suspended as managing editor and anchor of “NBC Nightly News” for six months. NBC News president Deborah Turness says she, along with NBCU CEO Steve Burke and NBC News Group head Pat Fili told Williams of their decision earlier today.
“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,” says Burke in a statement.
While the internal probe, which is ongoing, revealed what anyone who has been following this story for the last 7 days already knows: Williams misrepresented the truth on numerous occasions. “This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position,” Turness writes.
A 6-month suspension would return Williams to the air in mid-August, just as the 2016 presidential primaries are getting into high gear. Lester Holt will continue to fill in for Williams.
How the hell can Williams possibly come back from this? I do not see any way this is possible. A one week suspension would be the kind of punishment NBC would dole out if it wanted him back with the idea of rehabilitating his image.
But this is the death penalty of punishments. Its severity and length bring up images of something truly heinous beyond what we already publicly know.
It makes things worse.
It makes it all but impossible for Williams to return as Nightly News anchor.
How can he? Unless NBC is planning on publicly dumping an exhaustive accounting of Williams transgressions, ala the New York Times and Jason Blair, the moment he returns the questions will come back again. Brian Burke thinks he deserves a second chance? You don’t suspend a guy six months if he deserves a second chance.
What this move does do is buy NBC time. Time to continue to investigate. Time to stop the nonstop drip, drip, drip in the media, which if reports are true has been largely aided and abetted by ABC News. Time to figure out the next steps…namely what to do with Williams when his suspension is up.
I believe Brian Williams is done as Nightly News Anchor. I do not see a way back for him there that works for NBC. But NBC may be looking for another avenue for him after six months (to mitigate the sting of that whopping extension he just signed). Or maybe the six months is to plot an exit strategy.