No Transparency: NBC News Hiding Its Internal Brian Williams Probe

June 20th, 2015 10:48 PM

When a national-news anchor has to step down from his mountain top, the in-house report should be publicly released. After Dan Rather disgraced himself, in 2004, CBS News released a report – its investigators were outsiders.

But on the probe into multiple exaggerations by NBC anchor Brian Williams, NBC used in-house investigator Richard Esposito, and are releasing....nothing. Is this complete lack of transparency really how the media build an approval rating with the public? It might explain why people have much more respect for the police than the "mainstream media."

Former CNN and ABC investigative journalist Mark Feldstein called out NBC on the PBS NewsHour on Thursday. Andrew Heyward, a CBS producer in Rather’s day, downplayed the Williams scandal, insisting "the one thing we can be pretty darn sure of is, Brian Williams is never going to exaggerate his exploits again."

Feldstein shot back: “Well, we don't know this. You know, you're taking the network's word for it. They have kept their report secret. They have not revealed it to the public. The investigation was held in secret by internal employees who once answered to Brian Williams. The fact that they're not releasing this report, frankly, is suspect, and it raises suspicions that NBC would never accept from a politician or corporation it were investigating.”

In an interview with Erik Wemple of The Washington Post, I hammered that point, too. NBC neats to elaborate on how many stories Williams exaggerated....and maybe that’s exactly why they’re clamming up.  From the Wemple post, after he suggested I sent a "skimpy" list of Williams whoppers:

“I’m sure Esposito has more, which is why they need to release it,” writes Graham via e-mail. “You can’t say you’re holding Williams accountable, and then not sharing your investigation’s results with the public.”

NBC News hasn’t done so. Nor did an inkling of the investigation’s results squeak out of the Lauer-Williams interview. To his credit, Lauer asked Williams about the investigation. “Are there other stories [aside from Iraq-chopper] that you now admit that you told regarding other news stories you were involved in … that were also untrue?” Williams responded with the collective wisdom of every PR agent in Manhattan: “One is too much,” he said, in addition to other vague words. Lauer eventually dropped his inquiry about the inquiry. NBC News executives had to be delighted.