Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow to Head MSNBC’s Iowa Caucuses Coverage…

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about Rachel Maddow joining Brian Williams for MSNBC’s Iowa Caucuses coverage. I decided to cite this rather than MSNBC’s press release because Steinberg gets Maddow to comment on Williams and you-know-what…

Teaming Maddow with Williams may, at first blush, raise some eyebrows. Maddow is largely considered to be a meticulous reporter, while Williams started a tenure at MSNBC last fall after an embarrassing 2015 episode at NBC News which involved him embellishing a tale of a 2003 reporting trip to Iraq. He was suspended for six months and removed from his anchor job at “NBC Nightly News” on NBC. His main job at MSNBC is to cover big breaking news during the network’s daytime schedule.

“NBC and Brian sort of investigated that and worked that out and came to terms on that, and I think he’s back on the air for a reason,” said Maddow. “There really isn’t anybody better in terms of handling breaking news, serious news, and as a resource for having to deal real-time with quickly changing information, he’s the best there is. She added: “What’s past is past.”

I actually feel sorry for Maddow being the one who has to front for the network on the Williams fiasco. Sort of investigated? What’s past is past? Ugh.

Nobody cares. They should care. But nobody cares that NBC has been positively opaque on its Williams investigation. There’s been no public accounting. Williams hasn’t said a word beyond that carefully choreographed Matt Lauer interview. And it has succeeded because nobody has tried to hold NBC’s feet to the fire.

In fact nobody has said much of anything about Williams apparently being MSNBC’s M-Fr only breaking news anchor. There have been several big stories that have occurred over a weekend timeframe since Williams’ return to air and yet Williams wasn’t a part of any of them. The latest one was the big snowstorm. I could see extenuating circumstances being a factor once or twice but it’s happened every single weekend that there was big breaking news.

Williams’ weekend disappearing act is a story – if for no other reason than there hasn’t been any discussion of it to clear the air.

8 Responses to “Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow to Head MSNBC’s Iowa Caucuses Coverage…”

  1. […] MSNBC announcement raises questions.  ‘Breaking news‘ on […]

  2. My latest column:

    Lester Holt’s Scripts: True and False (January 12, 2016)

  3. savefarris Says:

    There’s that “media unity” you were looking for earlier.

    Oh, and this:

    Maddow is largely considered to be a meticulous reporter


  4. […] radio talk show hosts as if they were actual reporters. The paychecks will keep coming, he can take weekends off, and as long as the industry press remains clueless (or looks the other way) he can get used to […]

  5. Whether Williams does ‘breaking news’ on weekends or not doesn’t really matter. They are right nobody cares anymore. He’s not going back to NBC and I imagine they’re just working out how much it’s going to cost to buy out his contract.

    Like you, I do feel sorry for Maddow who will have to co-host with Williams on caucuses coverage and probably in future primary coverage, particularly when Steve Kornacki, a much more knowledgeable and entertaining host, is available.

  6. I hate to say it but NBC has been successful at managing the Williams debacle. They could have fired him or put him in a corner somewhere. Instead they put him at the center of MSNBC precisely at the times when he can stand out. The ‘punishment’ allows him to play the same charismatic role he was doing in the interviews that got him in trouble in the first place.

    The bar was so low to begin with. Remember the snoozers they had on at the times Williams is showing up? People like Ronan Farrow. MSNBC’s host lineup is a who’s-who of geeks and has-beens. Williams turns up the charm and makes people forget what landed him there.

    I’m not so sure his NBC days are numbered. NBC has had a laundry list of people anchoring (auditioning?) on Nightly, such as Thomas Roberts and Jose Diaz-Balart (who got good ratings during the Blizzard). They’re in no rush to fully stabilize the lineup. Williams might be back anchoring at NBC in some form within a year or two.

    Oh well. Ethics are ratingflexible.

  7. “Williams might be back anchoring at NBC in some form within a year or two.”

    ^^No chance. Holt is doing fine and why go through the PR disaster bringing back Williams would bring to the network. They will eventually buy out his contract and both will move on.

  8. […] we did not get closure. So Andrew Lack can try and gloss it over…just as Rachel Maddow tried to gloss it over but for us it’s always going to be an issue until we understand what exactly happened and […]

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