Was NBC's Matt Lauer The Right Person To Interview NBC's Brian Williams?
Don't call it a comeback: Brian Williams' first interview since his suspension five months ago aired Friday morning on the Today Show. The 56-year-old news anchor sat down with Matt Lauer to tell the people that he wasn't trying to mislead people, but hey, his ego got in the way, he said things that were wrong, and he's owning up to it. Williams also explained the past has been dealt with and he is "sorry for what happened here." The NBC anchor who was not really hit by enemy fire seemed sincere in his sit-down with the other NBC anchor...in the softly lit NBC studio...filmed by NBC camera people...edited by NBC employees... wait. Wait a second here.
Lauer figured people might not be pleased that Williams' first interview was conducted by a friend and a colleague on home turf, so Lauer explained before the interview began that both he and Williams agreed that there would be no conditions nor guidelines placed on the interview. It was a soft acknowledgment that really had very little meaning — did Lauer and Williams mean they rejected NBC's request to lob soft grenades, er balls, at Williams, seeing as he's still going to have a role on MSNBC? What were the other "conditions"? That the network's peacock wouldn't wander across the beige carpet in front of the camera? That Jimmy Fallon wouldn't show up?
If Williams really wanted to show the viewing public that he's ready to tell the truth, that he's not afraid to answer the tough questions, that he's willing and able to face the loud, loud music, perhaps sitting down with an anchor on another network would have sent that message. NBC has a stake in Williams' success; other networks do not. It's hard to ignore that fog of parental forgiveness. Williams' apology might have been clearer had he given his confessions to CBS' Scott Pelley, or ABC's David Muir, or hell, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart.
Then again, maybe the network doesn't matter. Maybe the camaraderie between news anchors is so great that no one really wants to make Williams squirm as he untangles his web of lies. In fact, there was very little chatter about the Williams' interview on Friday morning. Not even the Today Show advertised it Friday morning.
Oh, here's one:
And there's another. Both are straightforward tweets, hidden among the mass of others promoting summer concerts and updates on Dylann Roof.
So was Williams' interview sort of ignored by the media during the early hours on Friday because there was bigger news happening in Charleston, or because there's sympathy for a news man who let his ego get in the way?
See you on MSNBC soon, Williams.