Yesterday, NBC News announced the permanent demotion of disgraced Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who will serve as breaking news manager for MSNBC. Network executives came to this decision after an internal investigation turned up “a number of inaccurate statements” made by Williams “about his own role and experiences.” However, as Michael Calderone at The Huffington Post notes, “NBC opted against transparency and declined to make public its findings.”
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This is an unusual decision when compared to other recent journalism scandals. After Lara Logan retracted a debunked 60 Minutes report concerning the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, CBS News published the findings of their internal review in a company-wide memo. Rolling Stone—a much smaller outlet than either CBS or NBC—went so far as to commission an independent investigation into the magazine’s November 2014 publication of a discredited feature about campus rape, and published the findings in the print edition.
NBC’s internal review was no small task, either. According to NBC, “the review was overseen by Kim Harris, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NBCUniversal ... [and] was conducted by Richard Esposito, who leads the investigative unit at NBC News.” Given the positions of Harris and Esposito, it’s unclear why NBC would be uncomfortable publishing their findings.