A Question of Ethics

Over the last few weeks NBC’s longstanding Nightly News, anchor, Brian Williams has been through the ringer. His credibility is on the line in a major way. Currently under investigation is William’s reporting from the War in Iraq back in 2003. Long story short, Williams made a few statements about his time reporting in Iraq that were not entirely true and now the press and his network are scrutinizing his every move. Everyone is questioning whether other stories he has covered including his nightly news scripts and even his off-air statements are true.   Many who love William’s reporting are saying to cut him some slack-we all misspeak every once in awhile. But others are far more skeptical saying, for them, he has lost all credibility. For the NBC network, this is a major issue. If Americans don’t trust an anchor, they will simply watch a different network. They will also be less likely to tune in to other NBC programming. NBC’s viewers and revenue are both at risk of plummeting. Clearly this is why NBC has chosen to suspend Williams for 6 months, unpaid, from his nightly news coverage. This whole situation is plainly a dilemma of ethics. In the media world, truthfulness is of utmost importance. Journalism is a service to the public and if it loses the trust of the American people, who are they to trust? This country would turn into complete chaos without a credible source of public information. It is certainly important that networks hold their reporters to the highest standards to deliver the truth to the public. The big question for Williams is what a 6 month suspension will do for his career and for NBC. By suspending him, NBC is clearly stating they disapprove of William’s actions; but by suspending him and not flat out firing him, they seem to say they have a reason to keep him on their network delivering their nightly news that he has successfully done for a decade. It will be interesting to see how NBC and the press handle the whole situation over the next 6 months. No matter the outcome, some will be pleased and others disgruntled. There is a time and a place for grace, let’s see if the American public will be willing to give such a longstanding, quality journalist a dose of forgiveness.

Photo Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jidziKYG9jk

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