Sad day for NBC News

What does bringing back Brian Williams to MSNBC say about the importance placed on journalism at NBC? Basically, that it’s really not all that important…that maybe it’s never been about journalism when it comes to corporate profit.

Last I checked, MSNBC is an NBC network. So what are the profits-at-all-costs NBC bosses saying by bringing Williams back? They’re saying MSNBC is not journalism so the lying Williams will fit right in. NBC does not get to have it both ways. It can’t act like journalism can be selectively practiced. And this is exactly what it’s doing. Is truth less relevant on a network because it receives abysmal ratings? If you’re NBC, yes it is.

Oh, abysmal ratings. Letting Brian Williams return. Gee, you think the two are linked? This is about as transparent as hypocrisy gets. I’m sorry. If you are a journalist and you lie? It’s over. In the case of Williams, it wasn’t just one lie. They happened over and over again.

I think Brian Williams is probably not a bad guy. But I also know he’s not a journalist. The appropriate move by NBC, if they were so desperate to keep a personality for its sacred ratings, would have been to let him back on television as a game show host. This is a perfect fit. Brian Williams is a personality, not a newsman. He has desecrated any semblance of a journalistic creed. Now, make no mistake about it, NBC is complicit. And so is parent company Comcast. The bosses at these two companies have emphatically stated by their actions that there are no journalistic standards that have to be followed if…if you’re a big enough draw for ad dollars.

Do the chiefs at any corporations do what’s right if it costs them money? Not if it’s NBC. Not if it’s Comcast. It is an incredibly cynical move by both. They, no doubt, figure that this will pass in time and revenue streams won’t be disrupted to any great degree. Instead of elevating, if not saving, its journalism, NBC has obviously decided it didn’t have to.

Don McLean wrote and sang about the day music died. He could now sing the same song about journalism at NBC.


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