Per an email from NBC News, Brian Williams just passed a note along to the NBC News staff that says he will not be hosting the Nightly News for the next several days. Lester Holt will take his place:
In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.
As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.
Brian Williams is currently facing an internal NBC News investigation.
The hiatus comes just four days after Williams admitted that he had lied on the NBC Nightly News about being shot down in a helicopter over Iraq in 2003.
Williams and NBC are obviously hoping that some time away will cool the scandal down enough to allow Williams to return. Time is unlikely to do either Williams or NBC News much good. The questions that have arisen in just a few days about other aspects of Williams’ reporting were low-hanging fruit. Williams has a decades-long career to investigate, and now a cloud hangs over all of it.
Besides, there is simply no way back for Williams. It is not like he is going to be exonerated. He lied. And did so repeatedly. A stolen valor lie, no less. This internal NBC News investigation is only going to remind everyone again that he lied.
There is no good outcome here.
It can get worse but it won’t get better.
In the good old days for the media, the days when an elite few controlled distribution of information, Williams could pay his penance and slip back to work after an Elite Few decided it was time. The world today is completely different. The New Media Brian Williams so despises has created legions of citizen journalists with access to instant distribution through the Internet.
It was a guy who calls himself SooperMexican who found most of the Katrina stories, not some credentialed “journalism”organization.
The elite gatekeepers won’t decide when this scandal is past; the American people will.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC