Kurtz: Brian Williams ‘Too Big to Fail’ for NBC

Fox News Media Analyst and “Mediabuzz” host Howard Kurtz said that Brian Williams was “too big to fail” at NBC and that “if another correspondent had told such a false story on the air he’d be lucky to get away with it” on Friday’s “Happening Now.”

Kurtz said new challenges to the accuracy of Williams’ reporting during Hurricane Katrina “shows you how deep the self-inflicted wound is of Brian Williams having to go on his own newscast and admit that he made up the story about being in a chopper in Iraq that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. What this means is that everybody can now go back and look at every story he’s ever done and raise questions.” Although, he added “I’m a little skeptical of this New Orleans newspaper report saying that Brian Williams embellished his reporting on Katrina. I’ve been to New Orleans with Williams in the wake of Katrina, a few months later, he was very emotionally invested in that story, he told me about the dead bodies that he saw. I don’t know that he didn’t embellish, but I do know that he went back there 8 or 9 times, long after the rest of the media had moved on. But it does show you how once your credibility is tarnished, as it clearly has been in this case, it opens you up to all kinds of questions and potshots.”

Kurtz continued, “everybody is talking about this around the water cooler. And so, over time does it mean ‘NBC Nightly News,’ which has been the top rated network newscast for decade, is going to suddenly plunge in the ratings, I don’t think so. But it’s possible if people feel less than comfortable, less than confident in Brian Williams that ratings could erode over time, creating a dilemma for NBC, because I wrote this morning that he’s too big to fail, he is such an entrenched and embedded part of that network news operation, that it’s difficult for NBC to do much to him, even though if another correspondent had told such a false story on the air he’d be lucky to get away with it.”

Kurtz also criticized NBC for failing to cover the president’s controversial remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, stating “nothing on ABC, CBS, NBC Nightly News, and that’s very hard to understand, whether you thought the president’s remarks were offensive, or justifiable, it is a big controversy and I don’t see how these network newscasts could possibly ignore it.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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