When you have media jobs like these, a lot can change in 24 hours.
Jon Stewart announced that he was leaving The Daily Show at the end of the year and NBC said that Brian Williams would be suspended from The Nightly News (without pay, how will he manage?) for six months due to issues related to his reporting (and memory) in Iraq in 2003.
Stewart and Williams. Coincidence?
Some have called for the two to simply switch jobs.
The Williams story just gets more bizarre as each day passes. It’s now being reported that in 2013,Williams actually tried to convince his bosses at NBC to give him The Tonight Show hosting gig after Jay Leno retired.
The Tonight Show! (His bosses, in a rare moment of clarity, apparently told him that the request was “ridiculous”.)
This revelation makes his appearance as a guest on Alec Baldwin’s radio show in 2013 even more interesting.
(SIDE NOTE: The level of hyperbole throughout this interview is stunning. It’s a mutual admiration society on steroids.)
Alec Baldwin: Do you sometimes sit there and say, ‘When Leno’s done, I want that job.’
Brian Williams: No, I’m a dilettante. I’m a dilettante. I get it out of my system. I call them the extracurriculars. I have managed it, and me alone.
Yeah, great job managing it.
Later in the interview, Williams references the now infamous 2003 Iraq helicopter story.
Brian Williams: And I don’t know where that unbridled confidence came from, and I’ve done some ridiculously stupid things under that banner, like being in a helicopter I had no business being in in Iraq, with rounds coming into the airframe, but I –
Alec Baldwin: Did you think you would die?
BW: I also—briefly. Sure. There have been probably more than –
AB: A handful of those?
It’s amazing (and some say, a little disturbing) how fast his career has unraveled? In one week, he’s gone from toast of the town to outcast. It’s a new age, where news (and outrage) spread like wildfire.
My guess is we’ve seen the last of him as lead anchor of any new organization.
His bosses at NBC absolutely annihilated him in the press release which announced the suspension.
This from the Steve Burke, CEO of NBC/Universal:
“By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate.”
Journalists at the national level don’t recover from words like that.
Time will tell. He’s got a lot of it on his hands now.
Hear the entire interview between Brian Williams and Alec Baldwin HERE