General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Has the position of television news anchor been so blurred with overall 'celebrity' that Brian Williams should be given a pass on embellishing his hands-on wartime experience?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) February 7th, 2015

Is it still really necessary for a TV news anchor to ‘earn their chops’.

Are TV news anchors still even relevant in today’s 24 hour news cycle?

How seriously do you take the news anchors? Do you think Brian Williams deserves a slap on the wrist or a boot out the door?

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13 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Certainly not. The news is supposed to be the truth. Brian Williams was number 1 in the ratings—the most trusted news broadcaster in America.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Williams has definitely “earned his chops”, and that fact along with the probability of no suitable replacement will probably find him still at his job when the fire and smoke subside.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I really think we need to reevaluate what our media is supposed to be and what it is now….
I always laugh when people talk about a “liberal” media. Sure, there is media that is “left” and media that is “right,” but I believe that is to keep a limited debate, and keep us divided, while discrediting anyone else that has a differing opinion. In reality, what we have, is all corporate owned media, whose board members also sit on other very important corporate boards.
I noticed yesterday that the head of NBC News, Deborah Turness, released a statement regarding an internal investigation of the Brian Williams matter. I never heard of her and decided to google her. She is married to John Toker, the former UK Cabinet Office Director of Communications for Security and Intelligence. Like George Carlin said, “It’s a big club, and you and I aint in it.”

I would like to direct your attention to the Council on Foreign Relations. I believe they have much more impact in our foreign policy, and how the media reports things, than we would like to believe, and even moreso than our actual government.

Let’s take a look at a few things directly from their website:

“The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. CFR members, including Brian Williams, Fareed Zakaria, Angelina Jolie, Chuck Hagel, and Erin Burnett, explain why the Council on Foreign Relations is an indispensable resource in a complex world.”

“CFR’s current membership of 4,900 is divided among those living in New York, Washington, DC, and across the country and abroad.”

“The David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR’s think tank—is composed of more than seventy full-time and adjunct fellows who cover the major regions and significant issues shaping today’s international agenda. The program also includes recipients of several one-year fellowships.”

If you check out the video on the link provided, at about 2:40 in, there is Brian Williams saying, “I am always 6–9 months away from another trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, and before I go, I rely on the resources of the council. I think it would be foolish not to.”

Here are some of the other members of the CFR in media:
Dan Rather
Tom Brokaw
Barbara Walters
Diane Sawyer
Mika Brzezinski (Daughter of Zbigniew, who is also in CFR)
George Stephanopolous

And many more….

The CFR does not only have members in media, but in US government, military, industries, and education foundations.
Here is a video of still current member, Dick Cheney, mentioning how he was once the director of CFR, but didn’t mention it during his campaign.

Here and here are two charts from a book written in 1991, showing members of the CFR back then. When you look at what corporations or entities they worked for, it becomes clear that during bad economic times, they thrive more than anyone else.

I understand that this sounds like conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo, but please check out my links and let’s have a real discussion about this.

tinyfaery's avatar

I forget shit all the time. Memory is a tricky thing. I guarantee you everyone has false memories.


sahID's avatar

When evaluating the media, I feel it is necessary to look beyond the anchor’s chair to the state of broadcast news in general. I remember a time some decades back when the news was just that – news with minimal opinion woven in. Then corporate bean counters discovered that the news division was far less profitable than other programming, so they demanded that changes be made.

The result is the situation we have today, where broadcast news is more focused on entertainment than accurate reporting. At one time the general motto in journalism (newspapers in particular) was “if it bleeds, it leads.” Now the rule of thumb seems to have become “if it is splashy, exciting, or controversial (or all three) it leads.”

So can broadcast “news” be trusted? I no longer think so, especially now that the newscast anchors have become more entertainers in chief and less information presenters.

Jaxk's avatar

I give him a pass on this one. As I recall the story was fairly accurate, Brian just wasn’t in it.

LostInParadise's avatar

Does a news anchor do anything other than read off of a teleprompter? Why are they such celebrities?

ibstubro's avatar

What would you see done, @marinelife?

I don’t have broadcast TV so Brian Williams is just another celebrity to me. Given the alternatives, I think this too shall pass, as @stanleybmanly pointed out. He’s the best we’ve got, too boot.

Seems to me like the days went Uncle Walter [Cronkite] assembled his evening broadcast and delivered it are long gone. Dan Rather taught us the fallibility of that system quite well. It’s obviously now much more of a team effort (otherwise it would be a powerpoint presentation) today, and Brian Williams puts a very respectable face on it.

LostInParadise's avatar

The likes of Brian Williams, Dan Rather and Barbara Walters just don’t strike me as the sharpest blades in the drawer. They have telegenic personalities and can lend gravitas to what they read from a teleprompter. Big deal. It is kind of pathetic that Williams felt that he had to make up some fantasy about what he actually does.

gorillapaws's avatar

I have no sympathy for journalists who falsely report stuff. They have an obligation to inform the public of the truth. There may be times when they have to withhold that information for good reasons, but they should never intentionally deceive or mislead the public of the facts. It’s ok for them to make errors, but fabrications and deception are inexcusable.

He should become a talk/reality/game show host, or an anchor at Fox News, none of which requires rising to the high standard of upholding journalistic integrity.

marinelife's avatar

@ibstubro If the internal NBC investigation confirms that he has exaggerated or embellished. he should resign.

ibstubro's avatar

How much DO the nightly news anchors still shape the broadcast, does anyone know? I really kind of view then as telegenic, talking-head, celebrity spokespeople.

Is there someone at NBC that can do better, @marinelife?

Isn’t that what past news anchors do? Talk show, reality, etc.?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


Do you see who the head of NBC News is married to? Do you really expect a serious investigation?

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