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NBC Suspends Brian Williams For 6 Months Without Pay: VIDEO

WILLIAMS

After previously announcing on Saturday that he would step aside from his post as anchor of NBC Nightly News for 'the next several days,' NBC News today announced that Williams will be leaving his post as anchor and managing editor of the news program for the next six months without pay. The decision is effective immediately.

Williams came under heavy criticism after he "misremembered" a story of how a helicopter he was traveling in during the Iraq War came under heavy enemy fire.

The New York Times reports:

WILLIAMS2“This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position,” Deborah Turness, the president of NBC News, said in an internal memo. Lester Holt will continue to substitute for Mr. Williams now, the network said.

His departure culminated a rapid and startling fall from grace for Mr. Williams, who at age 55 was the head of the highest-rated evening news show, the winner of top industry accolades, a coveted speaker at dinners and panels and a frequent celebrity guest on entertainment shows.

Mr. Williams has been drawing 9.3 million viewers a night, the most of any newscast. But six months is a long time to disappear from the television landscape, and analysts said it would be difficult for him to re-establish himself as a credible nightly presence.

“I don’t know how he can ever read the news with a straight face, or how the public will respond if he does,” said Mark Feldstein, a broadcast journalism professor at the University of Maryland, said. On the other hand, he added, “Maybe they’re hoping that with a six-month cooling-off period, he’s got a loyal fan base.” [...]

“By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News,” [Steve Burke, the chief executive of NBC Universal] said in a statement. “His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate.”

Watch a video from the Times about how Williams' remembrance of his coverage of the Iraq War changed over time, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Brian Williams Has a Simple Case of 'Infotainment Confusion Syndrome', Says Jon Stewart: VIDEO

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Jon Stewart has figured out what happened to Brian Williams, diagnosing him with a case of "Infotainment Confusion Syndrome."

"It occurs when the celebrity cortex gets its wires crossed with the medulla anchor-dalla."

Stewart also looks at the media mob which has come for Williams and is finally exercising some real skepticism:

"Finally someone is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq war!"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Brian Williams Stepping Aside from NBC Nightly News for 'Next Several Days'

WilliamsBrian Williams has announced he will be stepping aside from his NBC Nightly News anchor position amid allegations that he embellished a story of an Iraq War mission in 2003, CNN reports:

"I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days," he said in a memo to colleagues.

Williams, the subject of an internal investigation by NBC, said "it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions."

Dateline host Lester Holt will fill in for Williams during his absence. 


Brian Williams, Lester Holt and Kathie Lee Gifford Perform 'Rapper's Delight': VIDEO

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Brian Williams and his colleagues take on The Sugar Hill Gang classic "Rapper's Delight".

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Apple CEO Tim Cook's First TV Interview: VIDEO

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Tim Cook gave his first full TV interview last night to Brian Williams on Rock Center, and his first since the death of Steve Jobs. Cook talked about problems that the company has faced since then — the Maps application, controversy over its factories in China — and what plans the company might have for the future, including, possibly, an Apple-branded TV.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Though the interview talked about the many ways that Apple is now trying to be transparent, that doesn't extend to Cook's personal life, since he's still not saying much about life at home, aside from the fact that he' a very private individual, and works out and visits National Parks to de-stress.

Wrote Gawker in August of last year:

After Cook was profiled as a "lifelong bachelor" and "intensely private" elsewhere, we wondered if he might be gay. We've since heard from two well-placed sources that this is indeed the case, and it sounds like Cook's sexual orientation has been the topic of at least some discussion within the company. One tech executive who has spoken to multiple Apple management veterans about Cook was told executives there would support Cook if he publicly acknowledged his orientation, and even would encourage him to do so as he steps up his leadership role, but that they also had concerns about whether his coming out would impact the perception of the Apple brand.

Wrote Felix Salmon in a powerful piece for Reuters:

But surely this is something we can and should be celebrating, if only in the name of diversity — that a company which by some measures the largest and most important in the world is now being run by a gay man....

None of that came up in the interview so it rings slightly false when Williams proclaims, "This is kind of your television coming out."

We'll be waiting for that. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about this? Would Cook's coming out impact the perception of Apple? In what ways would it make a difference? Would a similar interview with the heads of Google or Amazon mention their lives at home with their wives and children?

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chelsea Clinton Makes Debut on NBC Nightly News: VIDEO

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Chelsea Clinton made her debut on NBC Nightly News last night.

TVNewser was impressed by her delivery but the NYT's Alessandra Stanley seemed consumed by Clinton's motives:

Television gives Ms. Clinton more than a platform for her charitable causes. It’s a fast track to all kinds of careers, including politics. The best, and perhaps, only way to trump inherited fame is to double-down on it. Television doesn’t often lend its stars dignity, but it is the great equalizer: almost anyone on it long enough can become as well known as the parents who helped get them the job. To younger viewers at least, Tori Spelling has become perhaps even more famous than her legendary father, producer Aaron Spelling, merely by putting a camera on her private life for her reality series. The Kardashian daughters have done the same.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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