Brian Williams Six Month Suspension Without Pay: Right Call by NBC?

Last week we discussed whether Brian Williams fake “war story” — that a helicopter he was in was shot down by an RPG during the Iraq War — was a deliberate lie or a misremembering of facts.

Some of you believed he was purposely telling tale tells to raise his profile as an experienced and worldly news anchor while others pointed out that one’s memory can become fuzzy over time.

On Tuesday, however, it was announced that NBC would suspend its Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months without pay. Given that Williams makes over $10 million per year, that’s at least $5 million (I did the math for you).

So, the questions I have now are: Does the punishment fit the crime? Did NBC get it right with the six-month suspension without pay? Should Williams have been fired? Do you trust NBC news?

Here is the statement on the matter from NBC News president Deborah Turness:

All,

We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.

Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.

While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.
Related: How Brian Williams’ Iraq story changed

In addition, we have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field.

As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times.

Steve Burke, Pat Fili and I came to this decision together. We felt it would have been wrong to disregard the good work Brian has done and the special relationship he has forged with our viewers over 22 years. Millions of Americans have turned to him every day, and he has been an important and well-respected part of our organization.

As I’m sure you understand, this was a very hard decision. Certainly there will be those who disagree. But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.

This has been a difficult time. But NBC News is bigger than this moment. You work so hard and dedicate yourselves each and every day to the important work of bringing trusted, credible news to our audience. Because of you, your loyalty, your dedication, NBC News is an organization we can — and should — all be proud of. We will get through this together.
Steve Burke asked me to share the following message:

“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. 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. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”

Deborah

{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Avon October 6, 2017, 11:09 am

    DROP NBC NEWS! How many untrustworthy anchors do you need to see that NBC is a farce? Try watching OANN, One America News Network, see the difference! http://www.oann.com/

  • Avon October 6, 2017, 11:00 am

    He stoop to lie, let him stand in the unemployment line. Fire him!

  • LHS October 6, 2017, 8:26 am

    Fire him. Liar. We have enough liars, thanks.

  • Jack Dorough January 17, 2017, 4:36 am

    Brian Williams may have made a mistake whether it be intentional or accidental, he has apologized for such a mistake Something that happened two years ago has long been forgotten by most Americans. Brian Williams is still the most trusted man and news in my opinion suspending him would not only take away from your show and your ratings but he takes his integrity away from the viewing public. I know you feel that there has to be some action taken on your part and I don’t disagree but suspending Brian Williams is a punishment that affects the listening public. The public apology that Brian Williams has already given and clarification of the incidents in question is plenty for your viewing public. If the average American no longer trusts Mr. Williams they can change the channel but to those of us that he is one of the only trustworthy journalist on television it is extra punitive to us to take him off the air please reconsider your position and let Brian Williams regain the trust of those he may have lost which he certainly not do off the air.

    • Paul Helinski January 17, 2017, 10:01 am

      What are you like 80 and on meds? He’s a scammer hack as bad as the worst of them.

    • Beachhawk January 27, 2017, 12:32 pm

      That’s absolute crap! I defy you to show me one person on this Earth who does not recall having their helicopter shot down, It’s not likely something you forget or “misremember.” Either it happened or it didn’t and in “Lyin’ Brian’s case, it clearly did not. He should been fired on the spot. Who will ever believe anything he says again. It’s just one more nail in NBC’s credibility. Huntley and Brinkley must be roiling in their graves.

      • Former Ranger January 27, 2017, 3:00 pm

        Don’t be so hard on Brian he may be on the verge of demenstia. Even Hillary remembered taking sniper fire when her helicopter landed in Iraq.

        War is hell. HOORAH !

    • 2Bornot2B2A January 31, 2017, 6:32 am

      Uuhm, you do know you are not actually writing to NBC Mr. Dorough, right?

    • LHS October 6, 2017, 8:28 am

      He’s a leftist stooge. Goodbye.

    • Avon October 6, 2017, 11:03 am

      NO FORGIVENESS FOR STOLEN VALOR!

  • Doug Womack February 18, 2015, 12:46 am

    Poor Brian Williams!!! It’s just so unfair. He can’t understand why it is acceptable to lie to the public about the news, and unacceptable to lie about his “experience.” He should be fired. It is typical NBC though. There is no journalistic integrity in their news reporting. Ann Curry should have been fired for willfully trying to skew public opinion about George Zimmerman, but was reassigned, not for her bias, but because she butted heads with Matt on the Today show.

  • EricX February 16, 2015, 10:47 pm

    If NBC fires its big-star anchor for lying… why is there anyone left on MSNBC?

  • Hank February 16, 2015, 7:31 pm

    Brian Williams for President? What a ‘story’ that would make…

  • Bud Poat February 16, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Sorry this is not the first lie that he has told,the man needs help,I watched Brian Willams ever night never missed unless i was on the road,I am saying good bye to him will never watch this show of lies again.

    • LHS October 6, 2017, 8:32 am

      The entire MSM apparatus is nothing but a lying indoctrination organ for the DNC. Nothing to do with actual news.

  • Russ February 16, 2015, 3:32 pm

    I would like to offer up my services to Brian Williams for a win- win future idea !
    I would like to publish ; ” The Big Book of all my Bullshit ” by Brian Williams.
    He will never be taken serious again, so why even try?
    Also, soon after that hits the New York’s top 10 best seller list, I would like to come out with a joke book;
    “Everywhere I’ve been in Life” by Brian Williams. Kind of a where’s Waldo book.
    We could both make millions and live happily ever after on our own private islands somewhere.
    He wouldn’t have to give a dam about what anyone thinks again.
    Brian, call me.

    • Doc September 2, 2016, 2:34 pm

      Lol! Good one!

  • Mark February 16, 2015, 1:57 pm

    The Brian Williams fuss is pure theater, a pretense that “U.S.” media actually care about truth. When has the dual-citizens’ media told the truth? guns? banksters? WMD? chemtrails? AIPAC?

  • Russell Barclay February 16, 2015, 1:16 pm

    Journalists have only one currency…fact related accurately. Anybody can make up a story. Murrow didn’t. Cronkite didn’t. Rather didn’t. Williams didn’t. They are bankrupt…hairstyles masquerading as journalists.

    • Doc September 2, 2016, 2:43 pm

      Actually, they all did. Rather’s report on George Bush’s military service was a wholesale lie. It’s why he had to retire. Cronkite screwed the soldiers in Viet Nam by saying the war was unwinnable in an editorial after the ’68 Tet offensive. The Tet offensive was a disastrous loss for the North Vietnamese; it took five years for them to mount another offensive. It was reported here by Cronkite and his liberal cronies as a failure by America. Murrow hounded and berated McCarthy for his so-called communist witch hunt but McCarthy was proven right after the fall of the Soviet Union and the KGB records were released. They are ALL liars and their only desire is to control how Americans think.

      • brian September 2, 2017, 2:52 am

        Nixon himself came to the conclusion the Vietnam war cannot be won.

  • Richard February 16, 2015, 1:10 pm

    What did he do with the 10m each year? What was he spending it on? I’ve done the math on the lottery winners but can’t get the numbers to work here.

  • Jim February 16, 2015, 12:38 pm

    A lieing democrat shill gets caught? Well who would have thunk it. Much like Dan Rather who tried to influence the second Bush election by producing damning “false by the way” evidence against Bush. Dramatcly plunking down his false evidence on camera as he spewed propaganda and lies. This so called man, needs slapped in the pillary and fired with prejudice. Are the democrats trying to torpedo Hillary so soon? After all, she told some of the biggest woppers ever recorded on tape.

  • WillB February 16, 2015, 11:03 am

    Sean Hannity summed it all up a few years back when he was explaining to a Judge in Florida that he does not do news, so anything he says has to be viewed from the fact that he is an entertainer, not a newsman and as an entertainer, the standards applied to “newsmen” do not apply.
    He’s 100% right. Maybe even 200%.
    Nobody watches TV (cable or otherwise) to get the “news.” It’s available faster and more accurate on the internet.

  • BOB February 16, 2015, 10:57 am

    So, why exactly does someone get $10 million a year to read the news? Sure, I get it’s not easy to be on camera and read the news without messing up..one might even say that the man has a unique skill, it’s just not an important one. NBC, if you’re reading this, I’ll read the f’out of the news for only $200k/yr.

  • Dave Humple February 16, 2015, 10:57 am

    Reading these posts it’s clear that many of you believe that every lie that Glenn Beck tells is the gospel truth. Yeah, but that’s different because his lies are politically acceptable to you.

    • Doc September 2, 2016, 2:48 pm

      The difference is that Glenn Beck is not a news reporter he is a commentator. Also, he tells his audience not to believe him and look it up to prove it to themselves. The Brian Williams’ of the world would never do that.

  • phil box February 16, 2015, 10:53 am

    it is a good start. when the suspension is up then do it for the rest of his life.

  • Frank Engle February 16, 2015, 10:45 am

    “Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.” That is what I was told as a kid over 60 years ago and it is more true today wtih altered and edited videos. Brian’s “Crime”, was not one tenth as bad as any of the “Spin Doctors” in DC.
    Move him to the Today Show where TV is Entertainment, not that the news media is anything different, all editorializing and little facts. What ever happened to “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How”.

  • Sylvan February 16, 2015, 10:32 am

    National BULLCHIT Channel (NBC) is known for lies and Pierce MORON rantings and Brian Williams was right along side HELLery clinton in Bosnia doing hand to hand combat taking out over 258 terrorists BARE Handed

  • Neal February 16, 2015, 10:20 am

    He must be trying to get into Politics ?

  • Dave February 16, 2015, 10:14 am

    When I served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970 we used to sit around drinking beer and sharing war stories. More than 40 years later I’m sometimes not sure which ones I actually experienced. It’s the nature of people to embellish and men who were in the shit are no different. Brian Williams, as well as being a journalist, is a storyteller, and a funny one. A suspension is warranted but give the guy a friggin break. He should NOT be fired. If they fired all the reporters on Fox News and CNN who tell lies they wouldn’t have any staff left. Some guys who are so quick to criticize have never been out of your Barcaloungers and have zero stories to tell.

    • Sylvan February 16, 2015, 10:43 am

      Being a Veitnam vet 65- 68 I find most vets do not talk about their tours of duty .

      Brian Williams like Pierce Moron should never have been considered to report anytihng that is considered “unbiased” news

      If Pierce MORON did not work for NBC he would have been on welfare with his qualifications and Brian Williams is a perfect running mate with HELLery Clinton

  • Dave February 16, 2015, 9:33 am

    They pay that guy $10,000,000 a year, for what? I say leave him on the air and give his “whole” salary to Wounded Warriors and like organizations. Then let him try to dig himself out of a the hole he put himself in, that might be entertaining.

  • RICHARD GROENIER February 16, 2015, 9:24 am

    NBC should change to either ONN (Obama News Network) or DPN (Democratic Propaganda Network)!! Brian’s “bullstuff” is almost akin to Stolen Valor but not quite. I really wish that these “news” networks would fade into the sunset and that we worl start receiving honest news that isn’t driven by either the almighty dollar or some politivcally left or right Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister wannabe. Any “news” not straight fact MUST be labeled as “Network Opinion”.

  • Tom Hall February 16, 2015, 9:20 am

    What he did is a lot like Stolen Valor. He should be fired.

  • Joseph Aksamit Jr February 16, 2015, 9:05 am

    He needs to look for different job. That or a 3 year ban. The man is a liar try politics.

  • TDW844` February 16, 2015, 8:59 am

    This is what you get when you spend every waking moment trying to figure out how to dupe the American public into believing progressive lies. You become a liar as well. How could this not have happened. Whether Deborah Turness and company keep their jobs is irrelevant. It’s whether Comcast will finally wake up and try to instill some discipline into its network. With this “suspension” it’s apparent they are still a long way from controlling anything at this network. In fact quite the opposite, they seem to think we will all forget and go away.

    The progressive/liberal/elite/leftists have been lying to the American public since “The Media” became the media. Ed Murrow lying about Joe McCarthy, the NYT lying about the Soviet Union and Joe Stalin and winning a Pulitzer for it, Walter Cronkite lying about us “losing” the Tet offensive during Viet Nam when even the enemy said we won, Dan Rather lies about George W. Bush and his National Guard service with photocopied, fake computer printed documents, NBC exploding a truck with pyrotechnics to fit their agenda about faulty vehicles, and now Brian Williams who lied about his Iraq experience, who lied about seeing a body float down the street in the dry French Quarter during Katrina, who lied about being at the Brandenburg Gate when the Berlin wall came down and on and on…

    Do we see a pattern here? Kinda like all of the failing cities in the U.S. who have endured decades of left wing/progressive administrations to the point of bankruptcy. The only reason D.C. isn’t in the toilet is because it’s the seat of the Federal Government. If it wasn’t it would have gone under long ago. Yet the MSM have covered their behninds continually.

    Hopefully the American public will wake up and realize that all of the touchy/feely freebies doled out are all lies promoted in one way or another by the MSM who as a group have zero integrity and credibility to keep them passive and voting for more. One can only hope.

  • Joe February 16, 2015, 8:44 am

    Who cares? Turn off the damn TV.

    • Russ February 27, 2015, 12:10 pm

      Best advice of all.

  • alex gregis February 16, 2015, 7:40 am

    he was just doing what all the news stations are doing,LYING!!!!! i don’t believe any of them.

  • Terry Landenberger February 16, 2015, 7:24 am

    Being a former Army Airborne person, I will guarantee you will know if you helicopter has been hit by a rpg! Fire him

  • just n opinion February 16, 2015, 7:02 am

    I think he should have been fired,once a liar always a liar ,just like both the Clintins!It’s one thing if old grampa or the crazy uncle that alot of us have had is spinning a story for amusement but people who can’t rember the truth and report lies as facts then thats a differant story.I truley believe people remember truth’s and they add on to lies to make things more dramatic and exciting! Start making anyone in the public eye accountable for what they say and maybe some of the lying sillyness will stop!

    • Ron February 16, 2015, 8:58 am

      Dude! Learn to spell for Pete’s sake.

  • dr john February 16, 2015, 6:36 am

    no–he should be fired and prosecuted and jailed for lying to the public, committing fraud for his own recognition

  • Bob Christensen February 16, 2015, 6:31 am

    Can you imagine NBC’s response if it had been a Republican congressman caught in a lie? We’d be hearing about it ’til next Fall. Brian Williams’ credibility is shot – and so is NBC’s.

    • TDW844 February 16, 2015, 9:03 am

      Are you kidding? NBC hasn’t ever had any credibility. Don’t quote Huntley/Brinkley, they were all part of the same group.

    • Chris Baker February 16, 2015, 9:08 am

      Or imagine their outrage if it had been a Fox News person, someone like Shepherd Smith caught in a lie like that. They would be raving for him and everyone associated with him to be fired in disgrace instead of making the “very difficult” decision to suspend for awhile. So Brian only gets $5,000,000 dollars this year instead of ten. I’m sure he will have to curtail his parties and perhaps get a less expensive limousine.

      NBC has proven to the world time and again that their whole news agency isn’t interested in the truth, from as far back as when they planted model rocket engines on GMC pickups to make sure there was a fire when the truck’s fuel tank ruptured in a side impact crash. Much more spectacular than a bent truck and a puddle on the ground that might or might not have caught fire without the ignition source. This has continued with their failure to push for answers from leftist politicians to the outright lies of Brian. Doesn’t anyone else wonder what lies the other employees have told on the news or how many other faked reports they’ve aired?

  • Sam February 16, 2015, 5:37 am

    Why would NBC expect Williams to tell the truth about his experiences in Iraq, when the network itself has been covering, and covering up lies for Obama since 2006 when he first became a candidate for the presidency? Is it worse to lie about ones own experience, or lie about the life and beliefs of a man that affects more lives than any other in America? I personally think NBC should be suspended, along with all of the so called reporters working for it from now on.

    • Kimber February 16, 2015, 7:25 am

      Perfectly stated !

    • John L February 16, 2015, 8:52 am

      With you. I haven’t trusted any of these talking heads for decades.

    • grumpy February 16, 2015, 7:01 pm

      I fully agree with Sam. Cleaning up a mess starts at home!

  • sunaj February 16, 2015, 3:40 am

    What a crock-major news media is gov propoganda-PERIOD

    • EV GREER February 16, 2015, 3:19 pm

      I HAVE BEEN INTERVIEWED SERVEAL TIMES OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS , AND TO MY DISMAY THE TRUTH WAS EDITED AND CHANGED . I HAVE “NO FAITH OR TRUST ” IN ANY OF THESE NEWS MEDIA’S . WITH YOUTUBE AND OTHER SOURCES COMING STRAIGHT FROM THE CAMERAS YOU CAN SEE THE PLAIN TRUTH WITHOUT EDITING AND SCRIPTING. TRUST GOD , NOT MAN !

  • 4x4moses February 12, 2015, 4:02 pm

    First of all, let me say that I don’t really trust ANY network news organization/producer/anchor to tell the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” All modern media outlets, from NBC to FoxNews, slant their reporting to suit their agenda. That being said, I do understand how telling a story over-and-over can cause one to merge facts together. BUT, that does not excuse what Brian Williams did. He was in a position of trust, and he violated that in a very bad way. I think the suspension was warranted, and I personally think he should not be the anchor when he returns. I actually prefer Lester Holt anyway!

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