Poll: Americans Want Brian Williams Fired, Not Suspended

AFP Photo / Robyn Beck
AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

The Media Research Center’s new poll confirms the outrage of Americans over Brian Williams’ web of deceit. The poll found that 66.1% of the 1,007 respondents thought that Williams should have been fired rather than NBC’s decision to suspend him without pay.

An even greater percentage thought he should take the bull by the horns himself and resign; 71.6% of respondents believed his apology and suspension did not constitute proper punishment. Most importantly for the network, 61.6 percent said they would trust NBC News less if Williams returned as the anchor of the show.

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell summed it up:

This poll confirms that the American people no longer trust Brian Williams to report the news. When the American people believe by such wide margins that your lead anchor is a liar, you have no other option but to fire him if he will not do the honorable thing and resign. Any effort by NBC News to rehabilitate its tarnished brand can only begin under new leadership for its flagship nightly news program. This is no longer about Brian Williams’ reputation. This is about NBC News having any chance of being a credible source of news.

The poll was conducted between February 13-17.

Williams’ fall could not have pleased Comcast, which bought NBC Universal in 2011. At the time, Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chief executive, called the news division “the crown jewel” of Comcast.

The lies Williams told about his experience in Iraq were only a part of his mendacious habit; New York Magazine wrote that Williams had a long history of lying, saying: “Earlier this morning, Williams and his agent met with NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke and were presented with a dossier of Williams’s apparent lies, according to sources.” The article continued:

As word of Williams’s habit of embellishing spread through the network over the last decade, powerful voices tried to stop him. According to sources, former NBC News president Steve Capus and Tom Brokaw implored Williams to stick to the facts. “A lot of people, including Tom Brokaw, all said, ‘Let’s be careful here,’” one person with knowledge of the conversations told me.