Last week, NBC anchor Brian Williams confessed to altering details of a news story in which he originally claimed to have been shot at while in a helicopter in Iraq in 2003. He admitted the fabrication after veterans of Iraq challenged his story. Many of his other stories are now under investigation, including one in which he claimed to have seen a body float past his hotel while covering Hurricane Katrina.
Since the emergence of the scandal, Brian Williams has made a personal decision to temporarily step down from his position at NBC. In an online article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal Brian Williams is quoted, saying, “Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.” The entire article can be found here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/nbcs-brian-williams-takes-himself-off-the-air-1423347161.
How can Brian Williams claim that he has made an effort to be trustworthy throughout the entirety of his career if he has fabricated details of multiple news stories? Should Brian Williams permanently step down from his position, be fired, or be granted a second chance? The public trusts journalists to provide them with a fair and accurate report of the news 100% of the time. Brian Williams has grossly violated this trust.
The Wall Street Journal concluded their article by stating, “If Mr. Williams’ admissions drives viewers and advertisers away, NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp., will be faced with the difficult task of either rehabilitating his image and credibility or finding a replacement.” Whether or not ratings drop for NBC, Mr. Williams violated the trust of millions of viewers. Is that something that can ever be repaired?