Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months.

NBC has suspended Brian Williams for 6 months for "misrepresenting."  The word "lie" is not one easily used.

Please consider that in the past decade since first floating the lie and then repeating it, without the ability to keep the story straight due to it not originating from experiential language. NBC workers who were with Williams have remained silent.  It is very difficult to believe that they all remained silent, independent of one another, as Williams told and retold his lie.

This is the statement from NBC.  It is very likely that many more lies were told by Williams with the same common theme of him being a hero, survivor, brave man, and so on. Each statement seems to show not only a hero status, but the "front and center" of each story.  He finds a way to present himself, as central to a story, even when it appears the story is to praise another.  This is a narcissist who cannot help but favor himself above all others.  Even his apology sought to vaunt his own status.

Question:  Did NBC know and approve, via protection, of his lies?

This is an internal memo to NBC employees.


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. 


a.  "misrepresented" instead of "lied

b.  "then" shows a passage of time which may be unnecessary.  How would NBC not know of exactly what happened in 2003 since a NBC crew was with him?  
c.  This was "wrong" is not necessary to say, but it is then that we have not only "inappropriate" but "completely" inappropriate specifically for "someone in Brian's position."  Is this to say that it is not "completely inappropriate" for someone who does not hold Brian's position?  Did this NBC executive know?
Did NBC protect the lies?

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

Note that the "experiences in the field" are not identified.  

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. 

Note that "truthful" is strong by itself, yet added is to "uphold the high standards of the news division" is specified for "all times."  Why would this be necessary to add "at all times"?  Would there be a time that "upholding" not be a responsibility?

Steve Burke, Pat Fili and I came to this decision together

when the word "together" is used when it is not necessary, it is an indication that there was a lack of togetherness at some point.  By using the names, the subject could have written,

"Steve Burk, Pat Fili and I made this decision", instead "came" is used, along with "together", indicating dissent.  

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. 

Before, it was "wrong" but here, they only "felt" it would have been wrong to disregard the good work...

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. 

"I'm sure you understand" is the same as "of course" where one wants something accepted without question.  Yet there are many questions regarding the responsibility to broadcast news truthfully, which has not been done. 

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. 

Note the news is to be "trusted, credible" rather than "bringing the news", presupposing truth. 

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. 

The unnecessary word "all" is added which reveals that it is very likely that employees have made their opinions heard, specifically about being proud of being NBC employees.  

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. 

The past tense, "we gathered" is different than the above ongoing investigation.  

By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. 

note "jeopardized" and not "broken"

What are NBC intentions?  He is not terminated and there is an expectation of his return: 

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.” 



Anonymous said...


elf said...

Corporate spin and lots of c.y.a. I'm glad I don't watch NBC news.
Peter, what happened to part 2 of the article on 'why did I miss that?' ? I skimmed through it this morning and later it was gone :(

GetThem said...

This is on the Palmer, MA Facebook Wall regarding rescuing a cat in a fire. They gave it oxygen. Notice it sounds more formal and not so embellished at Brian W's story of rescuing the puppy. ===

Palmer MA Municipal Dog Pound
4 hrs ·

Let's have a round of applause for our firefighters!

Bondsville Firefighters saved this cat last night by giving him mouth to mouth, chest compression and oxygen!!

Palmer Firefighters also took in a cat that was left behind when an owner was transferred to the hospital.

Today, after a search of the building a Palmer Police officer and I found two more live cats, giving us a total of seven that moved through our department. Three cats and some fish have been confirmed dead.

Today we also found a large snake and gheko alive. Huge thank you to Palmer Firefighters for transporting them to the animal control facility for us.

john said...

OT Update:

Aaron Hernandez's fiancée granted immunity in murder trial

(CNN)The fiancée of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has been granted immunity, compelling her to testify at his murder trial, according to a decision released by the trial judge on Tuesday.

Read More:


Lemon said...

Based on the statement, I think the 'lack of togetherness' was also shown in Steve Burke having his own 'mini-statement' included in the internal memo.

rob said...

I don't believe we'll ever see BW on the nightly news again. As to their statement that they can't forget all the good he has done, there has surely been turnover on the news anchor job in the past, and for a lot less reason.

Peter Hyatt said...


you may be correct.

He is a narcissist who may go either way:

a. I'm too good for this suspension.
b. I'm too good to be kept down. I will be number one in short order.


Anonymous said...

I know we're not supposed to interpret, and Brian Williams gave an awful "apology" himself. But I'm wondering if we should ever differentiate when dealing with (reading) a company-wide statement, or even a single person who is giving a more "formal" type statement, where they are, or trying to appear, more educational/educated, so to speak?

In this instance, I think Brian Williams totally bombed on his apology, without a second guess. I think NBC should've been more forthright also, but for instance, using "misrepresented" instead of "lied", it IS a downplay on his lying (and possibly their knowledge), but I personally wouldn't expect a company to use the term "lie". Even though were not supposed to interpret, my mind does interpret their choice of word, misrepresented, to fully mean "lied". Are they completely downplaying his lying, or are they trying to use more "educated" words? Does it even matter, when trying to perform SA?

Peter Hyatt said...

good questions, Anonymous.

Sometimes it is difficult not to interpret.

This is especially so when we look at a statement where it is obvious that a lawyer influenced it.

The interesting thing about a prepared statement is that the lawyer who prepares his client's statement, often reveals that he knows his client did it!!


Anonymous said...

"You work so hard and dedicate yourselves each and every day to the important work of bringing trusted, credible news to our audience."

Why not "We"? Or "I"?

Jen Ow said...

Hi Rob,

I just said the same thing on another article! I can't imagine how Williams could actually return after this scandal. Peter basically answered the question that I posted on the other article as well.

What do you guys think, is he is arrogant enough to come back if he's allowed? His blatant lying shows arrogance, that's for sure...but now that he has faced the humiliation of being called out, (as Peter says, that is the worst insult to a liar) will he remain 'in your face', indignant, or will he 'retire'. (Meaning slink away in shame!)

Jen Ow said...



Not much info in the article, but a few quotes from her Aunt. There appears to be a 16 min video of the Aunt's interview attached to the article as well. I couldn't get it to play, but I'm out and about on my phone, so you may have better luck.

Anonymous said...

I think he would come back, if allowed, but I don't think he'll be allowed. I do think he's that arrogant, but I don't think any news network is that foolish.

john said...

Hi Jen Ow


Bobbi Kristina's family calls for her 'husband' Nick Gordon to be charged as aunt says she has opened her eyes in hospital
Bobby Brown's sister Leolah has said in an interview that she believes Bobbi Kristina's boyfriend Nick Gordon will be charged in the incident
The 21-year-old was at home in Georgia with Gordon and a friend when she was found face-down in a bathtub on January 31
Leolah said that her niece is improving and dismissed suggestions that she would have hurt herself
Gordon has not responded to the family's accusations and no charges have been brought against him or anyone else.


'I saw this, coming,' she told Fox 5 Atlanta. 'I told her not to trust anyone.'

Note: No names entered about trust above. Who does this include ?

Gordon was taken in by Houston as a child and brought up as Bobbi Kristina's brother - but after Houston's death, they started a romantic relationship and last year, they claimed they had married.

In the Fox interview, Leolah said she does not think Gordon has been a good influence on her niece.
'I have my reasons,' she said, without going into further detail. 'There are a lot of family reasons that have that same reason.'

Passivity. Repetition of her "Reason" making her "reasons" sensitive.

She went on: 'I believe Nick Gordon will be charged with this... I hope that he will be charged with this as well. Soon. I really do.'

'This is the man Krissi loved, but she was a young girl,' she said. 'We stay.'

Past tense.

Leolah also dismissed the idea that Bobbi Kristina would have hurt herself.

'Krissi would never do anything to herself,' she said. 'She loved life too much. She had too much going on. She had too much ahead of her.'

Have Doctors informed them she will not pull through. Does she believe that she will not pull through, and if she does. Will she be able to live a "normal" life ? Could this also be the reason for the past tense language.


Jen Ow said...


Hey John, I see what you mean with the past tense references! Quite unexpected, as the Aunt also claims that Bobbi Kristina is 'improving'. (If the reports I have read turn out to be accurate, I doubt she will survive. If the alleged altercation that lead to her condition happened an HOUR before she was found submerged, she is likely brain dead.)

I find this situation so sad. It seems that Bobbi Kristina had nobody to trust, or depend on her entire life. Her parents were addicts, and made a spectacle of themselves on reality TV. She lost her mother at a very young age, and then her 'step-brother' capitalized on her grief/youth, by entering into an inappropriate relationship with her. (A transparent move, to maintain the benefits of Whitney's fortune, via Bobbi Kristina.) Even as she lay unconscious, fighting to survive, her family members engaged in a violent brawl at the hotel where they were staying while celebrating Bobby Brown's birthday, including one family member breaking a bottle over her own son's head, after he called her a 'crack head'.

I can't shake my head enough!



LC said...

I think Brian Williams tries to exhibit a measure of humbleness, which adds to his likability for his viewers - but that in itself is a veil for his ego.
So, he thinks he's 'all That, And a bag of chips' and wants you to think he's always been just one of the guys from your old hometown.

tania cadogan said...

"misrepresented" used rather the stronger term lied.

To lie is a strong aggresive wird, it allows for no minimising, to excuse, it indicates deliberate intent to deceive.

Misrepresent is a minimising word, it reduces the seriousness of the deception, it allows for accidental deception, it implies no deliberate intent.
it is an excuse and leaves it's meaning open to the interpretation of the listner.

Lie is not open to personal interpretation, everyone knows what it is.

Misrepresent can mean anything from forgetting something trivial, a joke, something harmless, it can be used jokingly such as pretending to be some you aren't like a superhero or a child playing a pretend game.
for some it is as severe as lying for others it is oh we all do it.

I also wonder if the phrase was chosen to cover their butts?

In todays litigious society where you can't say anything bad about an employee, they aren't going to say their reknowned news anchor is an outright liar and not to be trusted (even if he is).
They know if they called him a liar he would due them for defamation and anything else he can think of, claiming they are ruining his career prospects and he will never get a job as a journo again and so must pay him millions as compensation>
This would then put all the blame on his employer.

By saying he "misrepresented" He can't sue them.
He himself has blamed it on the fog of memory (jodi arias anyone?)
he has accepted the responsibility of not being truthful although minimising it.
he can't sue them for using his own language (i will bet attorneys pored over every word and punctuation mark before announcing) They have covered their butts.

Will he resign?
I think so.

He will cite irreconcilable differences, he doesn't feel they supported him enough when he admitted some of the truth) he no longer trusts them as he will feel they will double check his every word, and no one can work in those conditions.

He will then stomp off in a huff and seek work in a rival network just to show he is better than them, to show he is still a top notch reporter, he is still employable (expect him to set a raft of conditions a la diva)
Should he fail to get an international/national network then he will likely go to a local company and then paint it as him doing them a favor, giving them access to his expertise, his contacts, educating them as to the big wide world of journalism.

he won't see it as a step down, he wpn't allow it to be seen as a step down, he will see it as him helping an up and coming company, he is doing them a favor.
Wih him on board they will get noticed.

His ego cannot allow otherwise.
he complains about him being the news at the moment.

He will be complaining if he isn't in the news in the future.

He will make the news hat will make companies think they have to have him.
We see this with politicians trying to get back to the top (anthony wiener for example)

tania cadogan said...

As anchor Lester Holt stepped in for Brian Williams on Wednesday night, it wasn't just the embattled NBC Nightly News host who was missing--his name was yanked from the show's opening title credit.

Suddenly Nightly News with Brian Williams is simply Nightly News.

What's more, while the show's website continued on Wednesday to bear Williams' moniker, Page Six reports the NBC veteran's name will be scrubbed from there, too.

Meanwhile, Williams' career at NBC is effectively over after bosses handed him a six month suspension according to industry experts who predict that the former star anchor is unlikely to read a teleprompter for the network ever again.

The beleaguered anchor was suspended without pay on Tuesday amid a firestorm of criticism over false claims that he was in a helicopter that was shot at during the Iraq War in 2003.

Lester Holt directly addressed the controversy in Wednesday night's broadcast.

He first reported statements made by NBC chiefs regarding Williams before assuring the audience, 'We will work every night to be worthy of your trust.'

In his statement, NBC Stephen Burke chief executive wrote:

'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.'

'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.'

But industry experts are predicting that it is unlikely Williams, 55, will ever return to his position as anchor and managing editor of the flagship Nightly News show.

Williams’ credibility - and by extension that of NBC News - had been under fire for 11 days until his bosses handed out their swift and brutal punishment.

Six months without pay means Williams has effectively been fined $5 million. The network's former star man hasn't commented publicly about his punishment which suggests that he isn't thrilled by his bosses' decision.

'He’s not going to read a teleprompter at NBC ever again,' television news analyst Andrew Tyndall told The Daily Beast.

'I’ve never heard of this kind of public announcement saying, "We’re not paying you." Whatever has gone on behind closed doors, they’re daring him to resign.'

The severity of the punishment has lead some to speculate that the report being carried out into Williams had already uncovered enough damning evidence to make his position untenable.

An NBC News veteran who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity said they were ‘flabbergasted’ by the punishment.

'What NBC just did, by handing down this kind of six-month sentence, really prevents Brian from redeeming himself in any kind of expedient way. Don’t we agree that when you make a mistake, you correct it immediately, in the world we live in now? What is Brian going to do for the next six months?'

Another option is that NBC simply do away with the Nightly News altogether, argues Michael Wolff in The Hollywood Reporter.

‘The affair exposes the entire make-believe aspects of Williams' job,’ wrote Wolff, who believes that the major networks can no longer compete with other sources of news.

‘Network news, as has been evident for a generation, but never as starkly clear as now, is never going to be the network news again. It's finished. Finally. Take a breath.’

In a note sent to NBC staff, Deborah Turness, the president of NBC's news division, had described Williams' puffed-up retellings of events from 2003 as 'wrong and completely inappropriate'.

Weekend Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, who had stepped in for Williams this week is set to ‘continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News,’ said Turness.

Longer term the network may consider on-camera talent, such as Today’s Savannah Guthrie and NBC Sports anchor Josh Elliott, as possible placements for Williams.

tania cadogan said...

The scandal began on January 30, when Williams repeated an often-told anecdote about being on board a Chinook helicopter during the 2003 Iraq invasion.

He said that he was on board a chopper which got hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and was forced to land. In fact, he was on a completely different helicopter.

After being called out on the tall tale by veterans who objected to his glory-grabbing, Williams issued an on-air apology - and said he had been in a 'following' helicopter.

This detail too came under scrutiny, and it emerged his chopper had been part of a different mission and was around half an hour behind.

His plight worsened after other grand, personal stories - from Hurricane Katrina, Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah, and even a childhood tale of being mugged - were also called into question.

In her note, Turness wrote: '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.'

'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.

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

Williams had just celebrated 10 years as Nightly News anchor last December, when he was also reported to have signed a $50 million contract for an additional five years.

An advertising campaign – voiced by Michael Douglas – that touted his credibility as a reliable news source and featured clips of Williams in Iraq and during Hurricane Katrina was broadcast at the time.

‘It’s a thing that you build slowly, over time. It can happen during big moments. More often, it’s the day-to-day things,’ said Douglas. ‘And what you build, if you work hard enough, if you respect it, is a powerful thing called trust.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2949987/He-ll-never-read-teleprompter-NBC-Brian-Williams-yanked-Nightly-News-s-claimed-s-unlikely-come-six-month-suspension.html

Jen Ow said...

Yeah, I don't understand why Williams wasn't cut loose to begin with?

They are acknowledging wrong doing on his part, (although they are minimizing) so why not go all in and fire him, rather than drag things out with a suspension?

Anonymous said...

They probably have technicalities and protocol to work through. He was probably(?) under a contract. They probably have to "investigate", even though it's plainly obvious he's a liar, oh I mean misrepresenter. ;)