Brian Williams’ Popularity and Ratings Might Save his Job

Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams slow jam the news again. (Photo: Youtube screengrab)
Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams slow jam the news again.
(Photo: Youtube screengrab)

Beyond being the most popular evening network news anchor, Brian Williams is a brand.

The 55-year-old newsman routinely yucks it up with David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon on the talk show circuit. He’s made self-deprecating appearances with Tina Fey on 30 Rock.

It was this synergistic stretch that may have triggered his biggest professional crisis. It may also possibly save his career.

Last week, Williams showed up at a New York Rangers game with a soldier who helped guard him and other American soldiers while a convoy of military helicopters they were flying on was forced to land in a deserted part of Iraq in 2003. Williams said the helicopter he was on had been hit by enemy fire and forced down. Veterans from the convoy challenged Williams’ story — which he has repeated in the past — on Facebook, forcing the anchorman to recant the story on air Wednesday. Williams didn’t address the issue again on Thursday’s broadcast.

Journalists have been known to occasionally exaggerate their exploits. But Williams’ misstatements have unleashed a firestorm on the Internet and social media, with some critics calling for his firing and others more tolerant of Williams’ account that it was simply a matter of “misremembering.”

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Source: USA Today | Roger Yu

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