Someone alert the authorities.
Brian Williams is missing! And who is this in his place?
When he took the anchor chair at NBC News a decade ago in one of the smoothest transitions of a high profile anchor (as in the not so smooth transitions of Ann Curry or Dan Rather, among others) billboards across Manhattan and America showed a journalist in black and white with gravitas of Edward R. Murrow. He may have aspired for the audience and trust of Cronkite, but I always thought he was inspired by the intellect and impact of Murrow.
So, yes.. it’s amusing to see what Jimmy Fallon’s crew does with a chop version of Williams anchoring, edited to as Rolling Stone says “spit Sir Mix-A-Lot’s rump-shaking classic”, ‘Baby Got Back’.
I know it’s a tough world out there. NBC is losing audience of another once unassailable broadcast to ABC. Nightly News is splitting the demos with World News and any audience gain is better than audience loss. The spectre of falling into another second place must be frightening. And full disclosure.. that’s coming from a person who managed a third place network broadcast and knows of their pain.
Perhaps we have it wrong. The title of ‘most trusted name in news’ no longer goes to Walter Cronkite.. or any of the main three network anchors. It goes to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. THAT is where many of the key demographic claim to get their news. That comes as a new Gallup reports confidence in television news is at an all-time low of only 18%, lower than both newspapers (22%) and Internet news (19%).
That’s almost as low as American’s confidence in our members of Congress, which is a number Bob Schieffer once described as low as a snake’s belly.
It confuses, and does not serve a level of trust and confidence to allow a trusted journalist to be remixed in a ode to ass. Brian is the managing editor of NBC News. He certainly as knowledge and control over his broadcast and image. While other parts of the network may go all giddy with network synergy to support Fallon, Williams should draw a line. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be able to separate, and allow, Brian to have some fun and show both his wit and human side.. but not when we’re looking for information and guidance on whether the unravelling of the Middle East is the forming Apocalypse. That trust is not served by lending his delivery to, “ My anaconda don’t want none, Unless you’ve got buns, hun.“
Let me offer another lyric Mr. Williams, “Get back to where you once belonged.”