Rosen: NBC Would Be ‘Insane’ to Return Brian Williams to ‘Nightly News’

By Mark Joyella 

In a recent poll, Americans were divided over the fate of Brian Williams, with just over half in favor of Williams returning to his job as anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News.”

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen thinks that would be a gigantic mistake. “There is no plausible way NBC News can restore Brian Williams to the job of anchoring the nightly news and serving as ‘face of the brand.’ I’m not saying it won’t happen, only that NBC would be insane to do it,” Rosen writes.

To Rosen, Williams dishonored NBC’s real war correspondents, put his trustworthiness in question, and worst of all, seemed somewhat unsatisfied with the network’s highest profile news job:


Put yourself in Steve Burke’s chair. You have learned that in news the guy to whom your company gave the top job doesn’t really desire it. He would rather be doing something else. Now you have to decide whether to bring him back from suspension. You have this report on your desk that documents how he made up stuff about himself, deeply embarrassing your network. And he insulted the courage of your most heroic employees by stealing some of it for personal aggrandizement. The rank and file is cheering for his replacement. Plus, he doesn’t want you. He wants late night comedy more.

Is that even a hard call?