Now that the dust has settled and NBC has given an unprecedented sentence to a Nightly News anchor, we can ask, “Does the punishment match the crime?” Also, how did Brian Williams get here?
I must first give full disclosure that like many of the 9.4 million viewers who watched the Nightly News each evening, I liked and respected Brian Williams, but I think the punishment does match the crime. Journalists must make it a mission to report the truth. More importantly than reporting what a journalist may believe to be the truth, a journalist must be truthful.
Keep in mind that Brian Williams was not just the anchor of the Nightly News, he was also the Managing Editor and therefore he has to be held to a higher standard.
It takes a real talent to smoothly move from the anchor desk, to Saturday Night Live, to The Tonight Show where he would “Slow Jam” the news and keep it all credible. But until that fateful combat helicopter story, that is exactly what Brian Williams accomplished and a lot of us enjoyed it.
I just wish the same standard was applied to other public figures who find ways to spin the truth. Hmmmm, banishment and six months without pay, that might fix that.