Variety: NBC Execs Told Williams to Stop Telling Tall Helicopter Tales, Were 'Not Heeded'

February 5th, 2015 4:43 PM

The NBC Brian Williams saga continues to intrigue.  Brian Steinberg at the Hollywood newspaper of record, Variety, is reporting that NBC executives counseled Brian Williams to stop telling the false sniper story, but he didn't listen, and kept telling the embellished story.
Reports Variety:

What makes Williams’ admission worse, according to one person familiar with the situation, is that he had been counseled in the past by senior NBC News executives to stop telling the story in public. The advice, this person said, was not heeded.

While this certainly makes things even more uncomfortable for the embattled NBC Nightly News anchor, the underlying question is now "What did NBC executives know, and when did they know it?"
While the Brian Williams tale about being in a helicopter in Iraq that was under fire is a problem for him and the network, it can be somewhat contained by the firing of Mr. Williams.  However, if network executives knew the story was a lie, yet chose to keep Brian Williams employed at the network, never volunteering a clarification or revealing the breach, and even promoted him to the anchor chair for the evening news in 2004, they appear to have an even bigger problem with credibility.


And yet, “There have been no signals that NBC News is taking Williams off the air or readying any sort of disciplinary action,” Variety reports.

Williams is hardly a small-time talent, where the transgression and dismissal becomes merely a one-day story.  He is the face of the network, and is well-compensated, according the report. And NBC News recently signed the anchor to a new contract, reported by the Los Angeles Times to be valued at 10 million dollars a year over five years’ time."