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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Best Thing I've Read Today

Gabriel Sherman has an expose on the problems that have plagued NBC News for the last few years, including some information about Brian Williams I had not heard before:

The Nightly News crisis exposed deep-rooted anger among many NBC journalists, who felt frustrated that Williams had been allowed to gain so much power. In recent years, the anchor had churned through executive producers who challenged him.

Others complained about Williams’s unwillingness to go after hard-hitting stories. Multiple sources told me that former NBC investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and Lisa Myers battled with Williams over stories. In February 2013, Isikoff failed to interest Williams in a piece about a confidential Justice Department memo that justified killing American citizens with drones. He instead broke the story on Rachel Maddow. That October, Myers couldn’t get Williams to air a segment about how the White House knew as far back as 2010 that some people would lose their insurance policies under Obama­care. Frustrated, Myers posted the article on NBC’s website, where it immediately went viral. Williams relented and ran it the next night. “He didn’t want to put stories on the air that would be divisive,” a senior NBC journalist told me. According to a source, Myers wrote a series of scathing memos to then–NBC senior vice-president Antoine Sanfuentes documenting how Williams suppressed her stories. ­Myers and Isikoff eventually left the network (and both declined to comment).

Since the scandal has proved to be something of a release valve for resentment that had been building toward Williams, it could make the climate at NBC News inhospitable to his possible return. “Very, very few people like him,” one senior journalist told me. “The phrase you hear constantly: What goes around comes around.”
Read Sherman's full piece here.