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MRC's Tim Graham: Brian Williams Needs a 'Less Newsy' Job

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 05:32 PM

Suspended anchor Brian Williams is clearly not welcome back with the rank and file at NBC News, but he might return to television journalism someday by going the talk-show route and slowly working his way back to a nightly news desk, says Tim Graham of the Media Research Center.

"The smart play for him would be to do something that's slightly less newsy," Graham, director of media analysis at MRC, told "Newsmax Now" host John Bachman on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

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Given reports that Williams coveted the "The Tonight Show" long before he was embroiled in a controversy about his truthfulness, he might consider following the examples of CNN's Anderson Cooper or NBC alumna Katie Couric, both of whom have hosted syndicated daytime talk shows, said Graham.

"It might be a way for him to do something that doesn't have a strict A-level of facts and work his way back in that way," he said. "And then maybe somebody in cable news like CNN might have him after a certain period."

Returning to "NBC Nightly News" in August after his six-month suspension looks like a non-starter, said Graham.

"It's become quite clear that the people inside NBC News don't want that to happen — the rank and file, the people who make the newscast, especially the D.C. Bureau," he said.

"They were reporting in The Washington Post how much the D.C. Bureau of NBC News doesn't want him to return."

Williams, who anchored the top-rated network evening newscast, was suspended in February after falsely claiming he was in a helicopter forced down by enemy fire during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The story unraveled when troops from another chopper in the same group came forward.

News reports this month based on leaks from anonymous sources say that NBC's internal investigation of Williams has uncovered more instances where he appears to have inflated or embellished his exploits as a journalist.

Although NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack reportedly wants Williams back, the Los Angeles Times reports that most television news insiders and observers doubt it will happen.

Graham said the leaks appear designed to force Williams out before August and lower his asking price for a severance package. Williams is owed $50 million for the next five years.

"This might be another reason why NBC is going to keep finding more embarrassments, because it probably decreases his value on the way out," said Graham. "At some point, Williams is going to want to just get out so he can go about rehabilitating his image."

But apparently that moment has not yet arrived.

"I don't think Williams really wants to give up. … I would say he's going to hold out until there's no shot whatsoever," said Graham. "But when you have Dan Rather saying on CNN, 'I don't see how he comes back' — Rather knows something about not coming back."

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Suspended anchor Brian Williams is clearly not welcome back with the rank and file at NBC News, but he might return to television journalism someday by going the talk-show route and slowly working his way back to a nightly news desk, says Tim Graham of the Media Research Center.
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2015-32-28
Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 05:32 PM
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