THE BLOG
09/30/2015 12:13 pm ET Updated Sep 30, 2016

Plenty of Other Broadcasters Deserve an MSNBC Job More Than Brian Williams

I am not a Catholic, but maybe newly appointed MSNBC anchor Brian Williams might want to ask Pope Francis for forgiveness of his journalistic sins.

There is no way the American people should ignore the lies he has presented as truth in reports on the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina among other big stories. He has proven himself to tell lies large and small, and that is hardly a good thing for a cable network trying to build its brand and credibility.

Truth-telling needs to matter, even in the digital age.

It is hard to imagine Williams should be given a pass with so many others wishing they could have his opportunities.

It is important for the public to take a stand here and turn off MSNBC in droves to show they cannot be taken as fools. Anchors should be deserving of high esteem and the public's trust.
How can anyone trust Williams now?

Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, David Folkenflik seemed to give Williams points as an experienced performer. But NPR's Folkenflik has more journalistic integrity in his little pinky than Williams has in his whole body. With so many talented journalists out looking for broadcast work, why give Williams another shot? No one complained that the New York Times had unfairly ousted Jayson Blair. Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik predicted Williams would remain fodder for social media criticism, confounding any attempt at a career restoration.

Zurawik said Williams should not be returning to the air: "He violated the fundamental sin of this business, which is to tell the truth. He did not tell the truth. He lied on multiple occasions. How do you bring him back?"

Call me old-style, but I agree with Zurawik. I know there are too many reporters out there ready to treat journalism and its First Amendment duties with the respect they deserve. How blind can NBC management be? There is no reason to pick the new MSNBC anchor from a list of usual candidates, is there?

The truth is that the field of candidates is much broader now and the American people deserve a new hiring mentality that requires an emphasis on standards of fairness, accuracy and balance in news hiring.

It is true both shared the news headlines, but I am struck by the unbelievable humility of the pope and his attention to the smallest and hidden people next to the face of the embattled Brian Williams who represents the worst and most self-serving aspects of TV news journalism.
Now Williams heads to MSNBC as he tries to salvage his career.

How much misremembering is the American public expected to do?