Watch Brian Williams Cover O’Reilly’s Departure, Wondering If People Could Have Foreseen This

The awkwardness for viewers of MSNBC’s The 11th Hour on Wednesday had to have been through the roof as host Brian Williams tried to tiptoe his way through covering Bill O’Reilly’s axing from the Fox News Channel. This awkwardness, of course, has to do with Williams’s own scandal from 2015 that led to his own downfall from NBC Nightly News

Williams turned to the O’Reilly sexual harassment matter just past the 11:30 p.m. Eastern mark, reporting that O’Reilly was “gone from Fox News” and read statements from both 21st Century Fox and O’Reilly. 

After introducing MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle and Los Angeles Times writer Steve Battalgio, Williams hilariously wondered what would people say if he had told them a few years ago that both O’Reilly and Roger Ailes would be gone:

Welcome to you both and, Steve, our goal here is not to relitigate the Bill O’Reilly case but rather to talk about the impact, the stuff you cover on a daily basis. Would you have believed if I'd told you two, three years guy that Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly would exit Fox News months apart and, oh by the way, it would during a Trump presidency? 

Here’s two questions for you, Brian: Would you have believed me if I told you that your repeated lies about stories you’ve covered would be exposed? And would you have believed me if I had said that you’d lose your job but then be relegated to late-night MSNBC?

Also, it’s natural that Williams would not want “to relitigate the Bill O’Reilly case but rather to talk about the impact.”

Later, Williams seemed to gloat when he turned to Ruhle to note the logos of all the businesses that pulled its advertisements from The O’Reilly Factor:

I want to show you 50 pictures, Stephanie. 50 corporate logos. Some of them among the most recognizable on the planet. These are the sponsors that took off, that left Bill O'Reilly. You're saying if — if the credit for this goes to the sons of Rupert Murdock, this spoke loudly, these logos, female employees, the power of the female consumer all they melded into their decision. 

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on April 19:

MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams
April 19, 2017
11:31 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: After 20 plus years on the air, the host of the highest rated show on cable news is off the air tonight. Bill O'Reilly is gone from Fox News. 21st Century Fox made the announcement with a statement saying: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.” O’Reilly also released a statement, saying, in part: “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers.” In the world of media and big business, this is a seismic event and joining us talk about it, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle formerly a veteran of the business world as we always try to say and Steve Battaglio, who covers television and media for the L.A. Times. He is the author of three books on television, including the definitive biography of David Susskind. Welcome to you both and, Steve, our goal here is not to relitigate the Bill O’Reilly case but rather to talk about the impact, the stuff you cover on a daily basis. Would you have believed if I'd told you two, three years guy that Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly would exit Fox News months apart and, oh by the way, it would during a Trump presidency? 

(....)

11:35 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: So, Steve, we have the business angle. We also have politics. I heard a political veteran say that for years in ways we kind of stopped noticing, Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points every night became in a way the surrogate talking points on all of the cable channels and shows that it all spawned into the next day and that, of course, when was the last time you heard the President of the United States describe a prominent cable news talk show host or cable news show as a friend and defend him? O'Reilly did occupy a different part in that politics business nexus. 

(....)

11:37 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: I want to show you 50 pictures, Stephanie. 50 corporate logos. Some of them among the most recognizable on the planet. These are the sponsors that took off, that left Bill O'Reilly. You're saying if — if the credit for this goes to the sons of Rupert Murdock, this spoke loudly, these logos, female employees, the power of the female consumer all they melded into their decision. 

CyberAlerts Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Fox News Channel O'Reilly Factor MSNBC The 11th Hour with Brian Williams Video Government & Press Brian Williams Stephanie Ruhle Bill O'Reilly
Curtis Houck's picture