Brian Williams: "I Said Things That Were Wrong"

Brian Williams will be replaced as NBC news anchor following an investigation into his reporting. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Williams admitted stretching the truth in some cases:

"It had to have been ego that made me think I had to be sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else. Put myself closer to the action, having been at the action in the beginning." 

He said he didn't intend to mislead viewers:

"I told stories that were wrong. It was not from a place where I was trying to use my job and title to mislead...I got it wrong. I own this. And I own up to this."  

NBC announced the decision and Williams' replacement, Lester Holt, on its website. The company included a quotation from Steve Burke, CEO of NBCU, expressing confidence in Williams' future career at MSNBC: 

"As you would imagine this was a difficult decision. Brian Williams has been with NBC News for a very long time and he has covered countless news events with honor and skill. As I said in February, we believe in second chances, and I am hopeful that this new beginning will be good for Brian and the organization. This matter has been extensively analyzed and deliberated on by NBC. We are moving forward."

In that news announcement, Williams offered this apology: 

"I'm sorry. I said things that weren't true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I'm determined to earn back their trust. I will greatly miss working with the team on Nightly News, but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it."

Discussion Starters: 

  • Are you surprised at the decision after reading the news? Why did NBC executives move Williams to MSNBC rather than terminate his contract? 
  • How well did Williams handle the apology? What else, if anything, should he say at this point?