DEVELOPING – NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay amid further revelations he lied on several occasions, NBC said Tuesday night. Williams was recently caught lying about a story he often repeated, which claimed the helicopter he was traveling in while covering the Iraq War in 2003 took RPG and AK-47 fire.
“We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as managing editor and anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months,” NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a statement. “The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.”
Over the weekend, NBC News announced they had begun an investigation into Williams’ reporting on what was the highest rated network evening news program (though it has already been scrubbed), and the well-known anchor confirmed he would be stepping down “temporarily.”
NBC chief executive Steve Burke said Tuesday that Williams’ actions were inexcusable and jeopardized the trust he has built up with viewers during his decade as the network’s lead anchor. But he said Williams deserved a second chance.
According to a recent survey, a plurality of Americans adults said the once well-liked anchor hurt the network’s credibility and that they thought he should resign. Forty percent of American adults said Williams, who was once the poster boy for NBC News and the effort to marginalize alternative media, should resign because of his lie, while 35 percent disagreed. A quarter of Americans (25 percent) said they weren’t sure yet.
Williams apologized last week for the Iraq War lie, but more and more stories have surfaced putting Williams’ credibility into question.
Turness said its probe into Williams’ statements is continuing.