I was interviewed last week for a TV story about the Brian Williams controversy. The crux of the Fox 5 piece was whether Williams’ credibility has been irrevocably damaged and I gave my professional assessment. You can watch the report here.
Personally, I’m saddened by what appear to be mistakes made by Williams and I’m equally disheartened that so many people appear to rejoice in what could be his fall from grace.
As a journalist, credibility is everything. If it turns out the NBC anchor purposely “conflated” facts regarding events in Iraq and New Orleans, he will forfeit the trust equity he has built with millions of viewers over the course of his career.
That’s sad for a number of reasons.
Williams is not only a talented journalist, but by most counts, he’s a good person. I only met him once during my career and found him to be gracious and congenial, not just to me, but more importantly to his entire staff.
Some research and time will sort out how numerous and egregious Williams’ reporting mistakes were but I’m personally hoping there’s a decent explanation for the stories he’s repeated over the years and that he’ll find a way to earn back the trust of people like me who have been fans of his work.