MSNBC’s Curious Brian Williams Utilization…
Since the Paris attacks, MSNBC has been using Brian Williams a lot but it’s how they’re using him that has me scratching my head.
For starters, I may be wrong on this but I don’t believe he was on either Saturday or Sunday (not sure on the former but I know he wasn’t on the latter). Those two days were the hottest days to have him on the air…especially Saturday. He may have been out of position due to other commitments which would be excusable. Or he may not, which would be inexcusable.
But he was back on Monday and on a lot the rest of the week. But it’s that part that really has me puzzled. His role at the time his return was announced was to be on for breaking news. But a lot of the times I saw him on air this week so far, there was no “breaking news” per se. A pattern started to develop where he’d be on the air for a few minutes at the top of the hour each hour and then the regular anchor for that timeslot would take over. Sometimes he’d make a return appearance during the hour. Sometimes he wouldn’t. Most of the time no news was breaking. Today they moved him out of his news nook in the back of the newsroom and put him in the main anchor desk…I guess for optics reasons. On air the nook looks less prestigious than the main desk).
Now if I’m MSNBC of course I want to use him. He’s got the name recognition and despite his fib-a-thon he still commands some gravitas (though it has been awkwardly painful to watch him toss to Lester Holt in Paris). But by using him MSNBC is bascically undermining the original premise for his being there…covering breaking news. He’s not doing that with most of these appearances. Instead of covering breaking news, he’s covering a story that has a lot of heightened news awareness by the general public. Those are not the same thing. They’re not even kissing cousins.
Not that I ever thought MSNBC would keep Williams around for just breaking news. I knew that the press release stating his assignment was mostly smoke and mirrors to downplay the move and that they’d start working him in as many ways as possible. I’m just making sure everyone sees that’s what’s going on.