Conservatives have had a big problem with the mainstream media for some time. From Rush Limbaugh’s assessment of the “drive-by media” to the more recent 2020 presidential election calls, it’s clear that the cable news networks, most of whom are all owned by the same parent companies, might not have the intent to inform rather than increase ratings and create news icons.
Few mainstream icons are as known as NBC/MSNBC’s Brian Williams who, for three decades, has been one of the most well-known faces at the twin networks, but that is all about to change, according to an article by The Hollywood Reporter.
Williams currently anchors MSNBC’s 11 p.m. hour, and according to a recounting from MSNBC president Rashida Jones’s email to staff Tuesday evening “has informed us he would like to take the coming months to spend time with his family.”
The whole story might be a bit more complicated than that, however, since Williams has been in contract negotiations with the network for months, according to the report, which stated that the anchor was attempting to find himself in a more advantageous time slot on the network, something that he lost due to inauthentic reporting that bordered on the entirely untruthful.
“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” Williams said in a statement. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere. For the next few months, I’ll be with my family, the people I love most and the people who enabled my career to happen.”
“Brian’s time at NBC has been marked by breaking countless major stories, attracting leading journalists and guests to his programs, and most especially, great resiliency,” Jones added. “He has built a fiercely loyal following for The 11th Hour and we and our viewers will miss his penetrating questions and thoughtful commentary.”
Williams has a long and prestigious history, beginning in the mid-90s with his time as a White House correspondent and anchoring the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News. Later, in 2004, he became the evening news weekday anchor after Tom Brokaw retired. But despite being a regular at the number one slot, his career came crashing down around his ears when he was caught engaging in gross exaggerations and falsehoods in 2015 concerning Hurricane Katrina and reports in Iraq.
NBCUniversal did keep him, but the company removed him from their flagship nightly news program and moved Lester Holt into the program who is continuing to anchor the program to this day. But with Williams struggling to regain his former glory, the entire balance of the network could be in jeopardy, and Williams is facing an uncertain future.
But why would Williams give up a position like the one he had at the network? With journalists across the country at odds, seeming to make learning the truth about stories of national import a virtual impossibility, why is one of the most well-known journalists in cable television leaving a network that has given him not one but two chances?
The story gets even more interesting when it’s taken into consideration that Williams won his hard-fought position at the network without having a college degree. While it’s reported that the anchor is sorry he didn’t stick it out and finish college, there’s no doubt that he has clawed his way to the top of the food chain.
Williams famously said, “If you start pandering to young people you’re going to get accused of giving the people what they want.” Do people always want the truth? Absolutely not. So what might that mean for Williams? Well, it likely means that there is no future for him in mainstream media.