Friday, June 19, 2015

Media Friday

I've gone back and forth over this one since the scandal broke earlier this year.  NBC anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months for exaggerating his role in several stories.  It could be around a dozen.

My first reaction was to fire him.  Then, forgiveness set in.  He paid his penalty.  I'm still vacillating.  Williams has been at NBC for 22 years and is a solid performer.  On the other hand, someone in a lesser position would have been canned immediately.  It's good to have friends at the top.

I can't say I was a BriWi fan.  An independent study showed he talked the most of the evening news anchors.  He had the most face time.  Red flag!  Then, a Vanity Fair story came out, saying Williams was not a fan of hard and serious news.  Red flag!  However, people like him, and Brian Williams is an effective communicator.

A compromise has been reached.  Williams will have a job at NBC when the suspension is over.  He will be the face of MSNBC, which is allegedly drifting back toward hard news.

Strangely enough, CNN was the first to report this.  CNN is the network that says it's still doing real and live news, just as it eliminated most of its live overnight broadcast.

Lester Holt gets the NBC Nightly News anchor spot, permanently, or as permanent as it can be in the TV business.  Holt becomes the first African American to be solo anchor on a weeknight network news broadcast.  ABC had Max Robinson back in the late 70's, but he was one of three World News Tonight anchors.

Ed Bradley used to do the late Sunday night news on CBS, back before that broadcast was discontinued.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching old election nights on YouTube.  I've been watching a lot of November 2000.  Ed Bradley was welded to Dan Rather's side for the marathon coverage.  He was smooth, comfortable and knowledgeable.  Bradley should have been the first African American weeknight anchor.  He had the credentials-- from Vietnam to Washington, and every place in between.  Unfortunately, Cronkite and Rather were firmly planted in the chair during Bradley's time, and it was not to be.  When Rather replaced Cronkite, Bradley went from the CBS Reports documentary series, to 60 Minutes, where the tradition of excellence continued.

Ed Bradley was in Wilkes-Barre back in the 80's.  He spoke at the F.M. Kirby Center as part of a lecture series.  I'll be honest with you.  I didn't have a good time.  I thought Bradley was full of himself, but he did have an interesting tale or two.  There was one moment I particularly enjoyed.   Bradley told the story of his first time in a radio station, back in Philadelphia.  He was mesmerized by the lights,  and the dials,and the meters.  One microphone.  One broadcaster.  Thousands listening.   He got it.