Politico's "Morning Media" newsletter on Wednesday touted a "big comeback" for MSNBC host Brian Williams. Based on what? Reporters Daniel Lippman and Paul Volpe begin simply by noting he anchored live Mueller Report coverage with Nicolle Wallace and beat CNN (as if that's much of an achievement), but not Fox. The disgraced NBC anchor wins his 11 pm time slot, but that might be in part because Fox News viewers have retired for the evening. (Emphasis in the original)
The return [of] Williams to (cable) network anchor status has been so understated and seamless, that it would have been easy not to notice. It was just over four years ago that he was removed from the NBC News anchor chair for fabricating a story about coming under fire while in a helicopter covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003. When he returned — a move engineered by NBC News chairman Andy Lack, a longtime Williams advocate — it was as a “breaking news anchor” on the network’s cable channel. He began hosting an hour-long show — The 11th Hour — full time in late 2016.
Williams’s transgression is hardly mentioned anymore, perhaps because he apologized and accepted the punishment, or because of the time that has passed. But it also has receded in the public attention in part due to the much more serious and salacious accusations about some of his peers -- Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose and Mark Halperin, among others -- documented as part of the #MeToo movement.
“When you’re talking about the nature of some of the sexual harassment claims,” said one MSNBC journalist, “I would probably say that things that are borderline criminal are different from [what Brian did].”
That's a pretty interesting measurement for a "big comeback" -- hey, he didn't assault a woman behind closed doors!
This only reminds people who don't love NBC/MSNBC that it's pretty funny if they would demand the fullest possible disclosure of the Mueller Report, since NBC never released any shred of a report of its investigation into the Williams fabrications....and never released any shred of a report on Lauer's sexual predations, either.
Those probes "died in darkness."
Politico rather shamelessly relies on anonymous MSNBC sources to do all the evaluation of the "big comeback" for Lyin' Brian:
“He has shown he’s been pretty reliable,” the insider said. “Reliably available when news has broken and he has paid his dues doing a lot of the breaking news coverage.”
But not all has been forgiven among his colleagues.
“I think there is a little bit of resentment that somebody who made such a glaring mistake and an intentional mistake and a deliberate mistake was given such a high-profile second chance,” said the MSNBC journalist...
The in-house promotion of Williams "very much on the rise" extended to MSNBC media reporter Dylan Byers, who reliably tweeted:
Oops...Michael Calderone is "away this week," and Lippman & Volpe are subbing in.
What's next? Move Brian into prime time? Let Brian moderate a Democrat presidential debate?
“He could definitely host a debate,” said the MSNBC journalist, “but I don’t know if he necessarily [will].” The journalist added: “Loyal MSNBC viewers are going to afford him or give him that second chance as they have as evident by the numbers. If you tried to spill that over to the mainstream public on a debate stage, I don’t know how that would necessarily play out among politicians.”
A spokesperson for MSNBC declined to comment on the possibility. MSNBC would not provide Williams for an interview.
"Loyal MSNBC viewers" don't care if Brian Williams disgraced himself, which implies that all they care about is getting the right spin every night.