A few days after admitting that he lied about his helicopter taking fire while he was reporting in Iraq, Brian Williams has been suspended from NBC Nightly News for six months without pay. Lester Holt will stay on as the show’s interim anchor until Williams has finished serving his sentence, after which point he will be taken back to his storage chamber, ready to be awakened the next time Brian Williams does something stupid and/or takes a vacation.
The Hollywood Reporter’s write-up of the suspension features a handful of examples of stories that Williams has told over the years that now seem worthy of a closer look, including a claim that Hezbollah rockets “flew just beneath” an Israeli helicopter he was riding in, and the details of his visits to post-Katrina New Orleans in 2005. THR‘s sources even say that Williams is “known inside NBC News to exaggerate his experiences.” Even if that’s all true and he’s been lying about stuff that doesn’t matter for years, the reaction to all of this seems a bit like what happens when a friend breaks up with their significant other and everybody admits how they really felt about the ex. “He was always lying about how often he was shot at in Iraq. It was totally annoying. You’re better off without him.”
In NBC’s official memo about Williams’ suspension, NBC News president Deborah Turness referred to it as “a very hard decision.” She also adds, “Certainly there will be those who disagree. But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.” Now, finally, we can all forget about these silly lies. Well, at least until Williams comes back and we all remember why he hasn’t been on TV in six months.