Anonymous Sources Blast Brian Williams and NBC

Everyone loves talking off the record.

Vanity Fair has published a piece on the downfall of Brian Williams and how it was handled by NBC News. The article is full of entertaining quotes, but they’re all from anonymous sources. If you choose to read the piece, keep that in mind.

An “NBC insider” said part of the problem was that Williams couldn’t bring himself to admit that he lied about getting shot down in a helicopter:

We could not force his mouth to form the words ‘I lied.’ He couldn’t explain what had happened. [He said,] ‘Did something happen to [my] head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head?’

The ol’ brain tumor defense: Funny, but rarely works.

One “recently departed longtime NBC correspondent” said Williams just didn’t care enough about important topics like politics:

You know what interested Brian about politics? Brian was obsessed with whether Mitt Romney wore the Mormon underwear.

Okay, that’s sort of weird. If it’s true, of course.

An NBC exec who was “involved in recent events” — a hilariously vague way to describe someone — said a lot of the blame falls on NBC News president Deborah Turness:

She’s letting the inmates run the asylum. You have kids? Well, if you let them, they’ll have ice cream every night. Same thing in TV. If you let the people on air do what they want, whenever they want, this is what happens.

Another “NBC insider” agreed:

She was trying to do so much; she was all over the place, like she had A.D.D., and that caused a lot of stress for everyone.

Meanwhile, a “former top NBC exec” said Turness was not the issue:

Today is a horror show. Brian Williams? He didn’t give a rat’s ass what Deborah Turness says. But this is fundamentally not a Deborah Turness problem. She’s just a symptom of the problem… This is a Comcast problem.

As you can tell, Vanity Fair found plenty of people to talk, but none of them on the record. It’s much easier to say whatever the hell you want when no one will know it was you.