NBC's 'Nightly News' pledges to earn viewers' trust after Williams' suspension

Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:24pm EST
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Acknowledging it was "an enormously difficult story" to report, "NBC Nightly News" aired a segment on its broadcast on Wednesday about the six-month suspension of its anchor Brian Williams and pledged to make itself worthy of viewers' trust.

Lester Holt, who is filling in for Williams, opened the report by saying: "And now to the story many of you are talking about tonight and one that for us not only hits close to home but in our home."

NBC on Tuesday suspended Williams without pay after he acknowledged last week that a story he told about coming under fire on a helicopter during the Iraq war was not true.

The suspension of Williams, 55, a star anchor who has led the top-rated "Nightly News" since 2004, came after he voluntarily took himself off the air on Saturday and five days after NBC News launched an inquiry into his story of the event.

Williams' suspension and sudden downfall cast a pall over the Comcast Corp-owned network and its reputation as one of the most authoritative sources for news in the United States.

Holt quoted from statements announcing the suspension by NBC News President Deborah Turness and NBC Universal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke, in which they described Williams' actions as "wrong and completely inappropriate," and which jeopardized "the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News."

Holt then added: "Now if I may on a personal note say it is an enormously difficult story to report.

"Brian is a member of our family, but so are you, our viewers and we will work every night to be worthy of your trust."

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Sandra Maler)

 
Brian Williams from "NBC Nightly News" answers a question during the panel for NBC News at the NBC Universal sessions of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California in this January 10, 2010 file photo.  REUTERS/Phil McCarten