tv CNN Tonight CNN February 10, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
this is cnn breaking news. this is cnn tonight, and i'm don lemon. tonight, a breaking news with the double shake-up in the landscape, and with one in real news and one in fake news and you be the judge of which is which. brian williams is suspended for six months without pay and john stuew wart is leaving the daily show. and cbs says that williams' misrepresentation of events while he was covering the iraq war was wrong and inappropriate and what does that mean for the newscast and porfor the news people working with him? we will talk to them. and tonight, brian williams suspended for six months without pay.
and there sis revelations that he exaggerated stories from a iraq mission, and the network calling it wrong and inappropriate for someone in brian's position. and now joining us is cnn's senior media correspondent, and dan abrams founder of mediaite and frank sesno and the bureau chief and now the director of media and public relations at georgetown university and i want to e begin with brian selter and how did we get here? suspension without pay? >> i don't know. because i have never seen anything like it. and it started with brian williams starting with an apology of misremembering something, and he said that an rpg struck his helicopter and he said that did not happen, and
then he started with an apology, and it was not adequate, because it started with more questions than answers, and started a crisis inside of the network. the network believes they can calm the storm by suspending him b , but the morale is so low, and this is the worst period for nbc news. and i heard from one staffer who say ss i just feel like i witnessed a suddenen death. >> and talk about the response from the higher ups who made the decision. this sis from the ceo steve burke, this is a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gather the available facts. and by his actions brian has jeopardized the trust that millions of americans have place placed in nbc news. and by his actions this punishment is swift and severe. i noeknow that brian loves nbc news and his country and his colleague, and we are are routing for him. he has shared his deep remorse with me and he is dedicated to winning back everyone's trust.
>> and the key details is that williams will be given a second chance but nobody else at nbc believes it is a sure thing that le be back here, and we are talking the about august, and that a long time, and lot of news cycles back are from here, and how does he regain people's trust when he is off of the air. this is a difficult position is for him to be in, and people throughout the tv world feel sympathy for him, and of course, a lot of scrutiny about the record. >> okay. stand by and i want to bring in dan abrams and you are champing at the bit? >>le w i didell, i did not read that he is given a second chance at nbc. they are routing at him for but not a second chance and not with nbc, and that not saying that it is not going to happen but that is an incredibly strong statement coming from them, because i think that when you read between the line, and that is what you have to do on a state like that, it is going to be clear that they think that it
it extends beyond the statements of what happened in iraq. >> and they do say that. he made on the air and about other things that are -- >> other venues they said and they did not identify what the other venues are, and it is about other stuff coming out. and this is the way of punting. somewe have known each other for a long time and 2001 and 2002 and we shared a office here in 30 rock, and we said what a crazy business we work in, and you said save for it the air. >> and are you kidding me don lemon, brian williams is sus suspended for six months from nbc news! i mean for those of us who have been there, and brian williams is not just the on-air leader of nbc news but brian williams is the leader. >> managing editor. >> of nbc news. brian makes the calls behind the scenes about things that are happening that nobody knows. brian williams is deciding. >> and you know if you are a
young correspondent or contributor starting out, he also takes you under his wing. >> look i wrote a piece on mediaite and i said off with the head and the obsession to bring down brian williamss, and i said that he should at least have a cushion to say, all of t the other work should matter, but that if there was some other instance that they can demonstrate that he did not tell the truth, they can't keep him, and what i read from this statement is a that they don't trust that the other statement s that he has made about a lot of different things are necessarily true. >> you mentioned mediaite and in this poll, you received 13,000 response and the overwhelming response is that he should have been fired do. you believe he should have been fired instead of -- >> no, no. this is the right call. it allows them to delay the decision. >> they are temperizing and buying time, because this is a
better explained decision, and it is sort of the same decision than they made last week. >> and they will get a wonderful guy like lest her holt and everybody loves him at nbc, and if you don't love lester holt, you are not human. >> right. >> and everybody loves lester holt. and so you put lester holt in the position, and a solid newsman and up there, and you say you are putting him up are there in six months, and a allows nbc not to make an announcement up there long term. >> and look at the ratings and see if they hold up and not fire brian and see if all of the thing, and what happens here. but i will bet you and i talked to you about this before, but brian is part of the decision. and i'll bet you that it is not the sort of thing, and okay, brian, come n and here is the decision a jound been suspended for six months, and my guess is that brian is part of this, because in my view this is a good outcome for brian considering where we are with the public trust. >> and brian stelter, this is going to go along with what you
reported earlier here on cnn, a meeting at 30 rock today, and brian left the meeting today, correct, and he was in good spirits? >> and the meeting with ceo of steve burke's house, a and he had a meeting at the penthouse, and they met, and then drove to 30 rock for the rest of the day, a and so it does seem that williams is involved here, and moeb at nbc is saying it is voluntary voluntary, but it does seem that he was part of the decision-making process, but what happens tomorrow is what happens. and then think the about what happens is that jon stewart's chair opens up at the daily show. and this is amazing, because i am wondering if brian williams is looking at over there at some career choice. >> it is possible, but we have to comevenants not to competes and that sort of thing. >> and there were a couple of reports that he was trying to
get that "tonight show" and not to say that he is moving over to comedy sencentral. >> and we will have douglas brinkly on, and he talks about the difference of a newsman and showman, and he was a newsman and then going on the late night talk shows and be a showman. >> that is okay. and okay. and now with the capital j journalists, oh he should have not, and those day ss are over. it is a good thing for him to do things like that to the appeal to the larger audience and that is not the reason that this is happening. >> and back then, and a talk about what happened that brought us here. 2013 and one of the events 2013 appearance in "letterman" when he talks about being hit with the enemy fire when he was reporting on iraq war. >> two of the four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one that i was in. >> no kidding? >> rpg and ak-47. >> what altitude?
>> and 140 feet doing four knot because we had a massive piece of bridge on slings. >> and what happens when you realize that you have been hit? >> we figure out how to land safely, and we did, and we landed quickly and hard and we put down and we were stuck, four birds in the middle of the desert, and we were north out ahead of the other americans. >> oh, my. so, as a guy, as a journalist, you think that this is a great position to be in or holy crap can, i have to get out of here? >> more toward the holy crap. >> it is a hard to listen to. >> yes. >> and you are pained? >> yes, you can rhea read it on paper, and see the words, and listening to him say it and now knowing that it is not remotely true. again, that does not mean that he is lying, but it means that as i watch it, i'm thinking, ugh! ugh! >> standby, dan abram, because everyone is. you rarely meet a person who does not like brian williams. i want to bring in sharon waxman
and frank sesno? >> le well, it does not make any sense. if you do something that is e egregious from the corporate and the journalistic point of view, and you are suspended for six months without pay, and i have spoken to somebody very familiar with the thinking inside of nbc news and people there are livid about it, too, because you are twist manage the-- twisting in the wind for six month, and it says to the audience, he has done something so egregious that he should be suspended for six months and this not like somebody who is an nfl quarterback who needs to go away for a few month, and the penance is trust and kredcredibility. and that morale is as low within nbc news and as low and confusing the public and the ratings dropped on friday already is that you have mixed signals, and the danger that the mixed signals and the second and
the third and the fourth shoes that are doing to drop could continue for the next few months. >> your reaction sharon? >> i don't know that he is going to be necessarily suspended for six months, and frank makes a good point, but it looks like nbc wants time to the figure out what else brian williams might have done. if he had just as i initially thought told the tall tale on david letterman, it would have been absurd for him to be suspended for that, and people do misremember, and people are not perfect. if he started to buy his own mythology on a talk show is one thing, but the real question is what did he say that might not have been accurate on the news show when he is working as a journalist, and that is the concern. that sis the part that we are still, waiting, and there is another shoe to drop in that scenario. >> quickly? >> and too much of this is too much inside of the media here. and the public is saying, what about the puppy that he rescued
and the robbery he endured manyin the 1970s and katrina, and the bottom line is that we can try to compartmentalize and what did he say on the nbc nightly news, or this? >> i want to ask frank, in six months is brian williams in the anchor chair again? h. >> i would not put money on it. >> sharon? >> i don't think so. >> brian stelter? >> no and these the things are a way of permanent, and lester holt is a excellent fill-? >> as dan was saying, they are temperizing here and waiting to see how it holds up with lester holt, because there is some talk of savannah guthrie as a replacement or matt lauer or willie geist as a replacement? >> one of the bosses at nbc's rivals says they are buying more time for negotiations with brian williams, and where the
negotiations lead we don't know at this moment, but we have to say that williams plans on being back, and stranger things have happened in television. this is a medium that you know that really lives on the enthusiasm and you know strange moments and changes, right? >> we rare armchair quarterbacking here, of course, but what do you think, frank -- well, sharon, what should nbc have done the right move do you think? >>le well, iel -- well i would have taken him off of the air for the time of the investigation lasting, and let the facts speak, and that is what it should have been hanging on. when you have the media firestorms i am struck every time that the world explodes, and it is like oh my god, he murdered somebody, and that is what jon stewart did when he sends it up that the world is doing to send it up with the brian williams' lies over what the government did when we went to war with iraq and so there is always lies lost in the
firestorm. so i would have thought that i it was smart for nbc to take him off of the air while they conduct ad conducted a measured investigation, and said this is what is appropriate. >> and dan, i have to run, but thank you for coming in. >> don, as always. we have to share an office sometimes. >> yes, one of us would have to go to a different network. and stay with us and my entire panel, and dan has to leave, because he has more to do. and we have more coming on the story, as brian williams starts a six-month suspension. and another shake-up the end of the era in fake news as john stewart prepares to step down from the"the daily show."
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events that occurred while he was cover inging the iraq war in 2003. and we are now joined by deborah norville and frank sesno. and we hear that you have new information, frank? >> well we all have sources that we talk in with and i am told that this is for buying time for comcast that owning the them, and nobody from the inner circle expects him to be back, and this is a fig leaf of sorts for brian williams, himself, a and this is also, the second and the fourth shoes that they felt would drop a lot of them spring from the conversations that they have had with him in the past and not on the air, but contributes to a damaging profile of him. one person told me for xamexample that he had claimed that he never went to college, and then she found out that later, this person found out later that he
did. or that this whole business with the puppies and the rest. so there are a whole bunch of things happening here, and the real story here is how damaging this is for nbc news. >> it is an -- i mean -- the guy last week and the guy was on top of the world, right? and it is so sad to see, and what is awful, too, the reaction from social media and the people rout porg his demise, and it is just really awful all of the way around. it is terrible. >> on one level, extremely sad. brian williams is someone that i have looked up for years, and my mom reminded me about that this morning, and someone they have are respected for decades. and he is in some ways a legend and hero of tv news. and he is a heroic figure to young journalists who want to grow up to be like him and can yet, and yet this is a devastating blow to the credibility, and people are
rethinking the thoughts about him over the years. >> and yet we worked at the same station in philadelphia at a different time and nbc news, and he e was a normal guy, and i would see him around town and he would say, i loved that story that you did and held back on, that and he is a consumer, too, and a perfect consumer in a perfect world. someand >> and don, i have to disagree, because some people are taking delight, but some are not, and this is not only a blow for brian, and we know how devastating this is for him, and you are right many of us are his friend, and we have admired him and worked side by side and feel terribly for him personally, but this is a blow for journalism. when you look at those surveys that have been takemen the last couple of days and the high percentages of people who don't trust that he was going to tell
the story right, because of all of these the puffery that has been made public, it is not only dangerous for brian, but it is dangerous for journalism. when you look at the statement that steve burke had specifically added to the by his actions, he has jeopardized the trust of millions of americans, and his actions are inexcusable, and this is dangerous for what all of us do in whatever area of journalism we have to practice. and when the public no longer trusts the people who are presenting the information, then the information, itself becomes suspect. and i would argue that this is really reflekctive of the celebrity culture that we all live many, and i'm not talking about kim kardashian and i'm talking about when the journalists become noted for the numb number of twitter followers or the number of late night show appearances they make or the funny youtube videos. i'm old school and i started to do this and the first live
interview was with the president of the united states jimmy carter and that is how long i have been doing this and as a old school person, you were not supposed to be the famous guy or gal, and so maybe this is a wakeup call. >> and one journalist fall is a call to all, and it is a clubby world, and it is a look to all the out sooid ersiders, the whole industry is bad. and that is why there is no glee at the competitor, because it is making everybody look bad. >> and frank, let's talk about to keeping tabs here and on the check, and brian williams is the anchor of the "nightly news" but he is also the managing editor, and is that a problem, and should there be someone else besides brian williams, and the anchor of the newscast, and meaning the anchor or every news show that has the anchor and someone else, because he may be copy edit inging and approving his
own work. >> i don't think so actually. >> well, go ahead. >> well, the then you the opposite problem, because we want to mow the public who is watching that the television anchors have is something to do in the news. and we have had trusted anchors and it was the dan rather case in which they got caught up in a scandal that they said they didn't write the copy and it was wasn't their story, and then you wonder, who is writing the story. so there is a double-edged sword there, a when you say can yes, in this particular situation, brian williams was taking himself off of the air, and basically punishing himself. that is the little bit odd. >> and i have to say, that i don't agree with that. >> and hang on deborah. that is okay. go ahead, frank. >> sorry. >> that is okay. >> and every great tennis player has a coach, and every great person in journalism should have or has a editor and every great anchor should have a producer,
and we all need adult supervision as i have said before, and the dirty little secret, and it is not so dirty and not so secret, but after the news there is not anybody who comes up to you after the show, and says don hashgs is a really stupid story, and at the end of the day, forget about the egos, because this is about the information that the american public should be getting, and they should be trusting it but they don't. we have a problem here, but we won't go can back to the old days sorry, deborah, and where we were walter kon -- cronkites. >> yes. and here we have vet ingting processes, and people say to all of us, why did you do that? and our bosses all of the time what did you do, and what were you thinking? and so i think that we do have the checks, but you are right, that train has left the station,
and the old school anchorman who is the voice of god. sorry, deborah. >> no, not the voice of god, and you misunderstand me prank. what is important here is, frank, the idea of caught up in the celebrity is something that tripped brian up. most of the tales were not told on the evening news. there is a story that was wrong on friday when he had the guy at the hockey game, and that is what started this entire ball of chain of events going, but most of the stories that are now the problem for mr. williams were told on the late night talk shows and interviews when he was the featured speaker at a college in connecticut and not errors committed in the reporting of news on nbc, but outside, and it is the celeb ririty culture that is the problem, and nbc would do well for all of us in journalism if their process is transparent and if all of us not just reporters, but us as viewers as with well see how
they have gone about verifying this and what ever the ultimate action s and i think it is you, brian, who said that it is unlikely that brian will be returning to the evening news desk desk. >> there is one more quirk, and frank brought it up that nbc is buying itself more time, and they are in a middle of a merger with comcast, and time warner, and it has dominated the discussion, and they don't want any distractions from the mergerb andmerger merger and i have to wonder if it played a role. you have to wonder if this embarrassment of nbc to go away while it has the important dealings going on. >> and people at home are won wondering if we are competitors, but with recomrades and a lot of us in the bizusiness are friends, and so we are working of those at nbc who are working hard and we are routing for you, and so when we come back, we are looking at the most trust eded man
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a shake-up. brian williams suspended six months without pay, and "the daily show's" jon stewart is stepping down. and now shgs david is joining us by skype, and you said that there is something that is connected? >> el well brian williams is a throwback and trying to bring in an authoritative voice, and you talk about him celebrating the the 10th anniversary of a man of experience as a anchor and been in war zones and positions of peril, and yet he likes to imbibe with the popular culture and go to jimmy fallon and slow jam the news, and appear on 30
rock with the "saturday night live" and frequently on john stewart's show itself and brian williams has comedic chops. and he is funny. i remember him at the white house correspondence dinner, and he blew ray ramano the featured comict out of the water. he enjoys playing in that realm, and jon stewart who is a standup comic and you remember him being the role who wanted to fill in for garry shandling on the larry slander's show, and he took on the show of the satiric host on "the daily show" and turned it into satire and political satire and doing nitit in a a way that took others days to do. >> and let's take to a look at a clip from the show last night. >> bri, why? why, bri?
why bri, lie? sigh. were you bri high? because if they keep finding bull pen [ bleep ] bri, high. >> he has been on the daily show more than a dozen times? >> absolutely. more than a dozen times. >> and how interesting if they sort of switched roles, and if brian williams ended up at the nbc news in some capacity and he ended up at the "daily show." >> that is silliness, and brian williams is a serious journalist and if he wants to move into the entertainment, that is that is a fun thing for us to bandy about, but it is not serious. >> and sharon, we have heard many people talk about it, but you don't think it is serious? >> no, i am much more open to the idea but maybe because john stewart has more credibility, and moved more toward the news
and brian williams has moved more to the entertainment side. >> and i would make the argument absolutely straight-faced that jon stewart is a much more relevant news figure on the cultural landscape than brian williams williams. >> and shouldn't brian williams want that, and isn't "the daily show" most coveted show in news? >> yes, but they won't give it to a newsman. >> and i want to say that we are spending a lot of time talk ging about brian as we should, and the traditional journalism as we should, but i was here at cnn when we changed the world and we brought the revolution here, and jon stewart, and we should spend a minute talking about what he has done, and he has brought the news or the satire and done it in an unbelievable way, and i hang out with the students at the university, and they are watching him, john stuewart, and they are not the only one, because it goes up and down the demographic chain, and there he is interviewing the president of
the united states, and he has unbelievable access but because he speak s ins in the satirical ways, he has unbelievable impact and he may be the mark twain of the time, and him stepping down is at least as much of an earthquake as brian williams. >> 1,000%. >> and he has people around him and john stewart has a litany of writers. >> and don, i am looking around the set, and i don't see the dozen of the writers here and giving you jokes, but it is a different median and john stewart had talks with nbc about taking over "meet the press" and so they were interested in him for that, and you have the believe that comedy central is going to be interested in brian williams. >> and look, the strange thing here is that brian williams has expressed the interest in doing more entertainment which nbc news kind of slapped down, and jon stewart for his part has clearly expressed the interest in doing more serious things like his movie "rosewater" which is a serious story of repression, and what is going
nonegypt. he had the egyptian satirist on his show last night, and so they are wanting to twist places in a strange way, and that is the direction that jon stewart wants to do more serious and impactful things. and anything that he is going to do is more impactful than the "daily show." >> and david, do you think that it is, was, was comedy central surprised by this? because he had mentioned it, and you know, this may be my last contract or what have you and this is maybe coming to an end for him, and do you think that comedy central was surprised at this particular date that he would do this? >> i don't. i think that you know he has conveyed through the various projects and taking the sabbaticals and talking about the idea of the idea of worthy of handing it on and signaling that it is not clear forever, and he has done it for a very long time now, and he has done
for it a decade and a half, and done it with a distinction, and involved more impressive over time and you talk about the fact that it has spawned the stephen colbert and another money-maker, and real culltural phenomenon. and you think of larry will myrrh, and john oliver if he had stuck around for a year or more at comedy central, and you would see a real transition there, and jon stewart and you would see it going forward, but he has spawn ed a culture of folks attacking, and devouring both the media and the political rhetoric reporting, presentation of the narrative and taking it apart, you know as though they are hyenas. >> and david, i want to jump in here, because you are mentioning all of those people steve correl and larry wilmore, and john oliver and others ashs sond, colbert, and so who is going to be taking over for him, and samantha b, who is amy poehler or jessica williams?
chris hardwick? ricky gervais, and who? >> well, the opportunity to bring a woman into late night, and a ridiculous lack of female talent in late night, and there has been a dereliction of duty. they are losing steven colbert and jon stewart and maybe they had an offer they could not pass up, but comedy central has to replenish it. and they are now kind of empty. >> and it is like system snl, because you become famous and then leave. >> yes, sharon waxman? >> e yes, i wanted to agree with blin on the john oliver thing, and no way to keep stephen colbert when a television network backs up the truck, and dumb dumps up money there at your doorstep, no way to say no honestly and at the time comedy central said godspeed and god bless. and in john oliver's case, they
should have kept him, and he would have been the best heir apparent and yes, i would have loved to see a woman in that chair, and there is wonderful tall talent even within that show, and samantha b, and other people who could with be potential heirs heirs to jon stewart, and it takes the particular brand of really sharp news judgment and really sharp humor ability. and jon stewart was really clear that he was a xheedcomedian first. >> and remember that stephen colbert and johnn stewart are not who they rare now when they started. and they did the same with larry wilmore when accomplish and going on his own as a host. and so i'm not too tough on comedy central, because they rode it out and tremendous talent they lost and now they have to figure out a way to
replace them. >> and both of the ent gentlemen could go on to hbo and follow the path?. >> and jon stewart, cnn? >> i am pulling for the amy poehler here. >> and i love that. >> stay with me everyone. we will continue the conversation on the changing very quickly and fast-changing media landscape. we will be right back. yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these occasional digestive issues... with 3 types of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'
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our breaking news. nbc suspends jon stewart for -- >> our breaking news. nbc suspends brian williams for six months without pay, and jon stewart steps down from "the daily show." >> and this is a rapid change with two titans on the camera in news and entertainment. the dredge report says that the end of fake news and the end of real news, and obviously, playful, but these are two of the biggest television stars
stepping s aaside voluntarily or forced to. brian williams is the most popular news anchor in the country, and he is being benched by his network for exaggerating the truth. that is extraordinary. and then jon stewart who has pioneered a new form of news and satire in the country is stepping aside to create a vacancy who ke we can speculate who is going to be filling that. >> and so let's talk about brian williams here, because in the relees release from the network and steve burke, the ceo, and his own message ended in here, and they said that while on the "nbc nightly news" bryant misrepresent and we know went on to represent his position, but the next sentence says in addition but it does not say in iraq, but it says in addition we have concerns about other
comments that brian said about other comments in the field, and that is not specific in iraq. >> right. it is nin the fact-checking going on, they are finding other areas they are concerned about, and whether it is the aftermath of hurricane katrina or the hezbollah war a few year ss ago or a number of areas that the network is looking into and the nbc legal counsel is involved in, and the first time they have explicitly lyly mentioned that and so there are a number of ugly directions it could go. >> and brian williams has said that, and i think that you viewers should know that you worked together and you were colleagues? >> myself and brian williams? >>. >> yes. >> no, not. >> and you never worked together at the white house? >> no, we didn't overlap directly. i was coming and going at the white house, and when i was a correspondent there for this network, brian was not at the white house yet. >> i apologize. >> not a problem. >> that is wrong information from producers. that is okay. and so what do you make of the statement, because in addition
he says that we have concerns about the comments and it says that occurred outside of nbc news when brian was talking about his experiences in the field? >> well a lot of worry inside of the network, and i heard from somebody who said, i'm shell shocked by this and you have to be wondering what it is like to be working in a place like this and this is exploding around you, and comments socially and on the air and comments made at the university and all of the speeches that he has given, and this is kind of unsupervised sort of thing. there are those who say mou that he was known to sort of exaggerate exaggerate. and he is the guy that went fishing, and talked about the fish that was larger than the one he reeled in. and it did not seem to affect with what he was saying as a reporter on the air and that is a very important distinction. where that changed though was manyin the friday broadcast where he talked about the tribute in his own time in iraq and his bird being the one that was hit.
but as they are having these conversation, and talking about the people and tlhere are a lot of pre-alarms going off, and that is the great concern here. >> and sharon do you believe nbc news knew about this and should have done something sooner? >> i would hope not. i mean what interest could they possibly have and if they had known earlier, pirs oft all, let me say that i don't have any reported information that they knew about it earlier, and didn't do anything about it and if so, that would really be terrible, because you have to deal with the star on air talent and in such a way that you have to pull him back and not going on the daily show and giving him speeches, because maybe you are prone to not watching the words, and i mean you do have to represent the news network, and you do have to be be truthful and you have to be
aware that you represent that network everywhere you go on the twitter feed and the facebook page and when you give the lectures and sitting on the david letterman, and the problem is of course that it is hard to know exactly where the line would be. and that is why i think that there is probably more to this than nbc news is telling us now, and there is more that they are concern concerned about, because if it was just a tall tale or the slight exaggeration i don't believe they would have taken this kind of action. >> all right. everyone thank you very much. and david folkenflick, and sharon waxman and frank sesno and brian stelter, thank you all for coming on. and what will happen to brian williams? m of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. [ m'm... ] [ tapping ] sounds good. campbell's healthy request. m'm! m'm! good.® meet the world's newest energy superpower.
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aren't you a little bit curious? i just got my free credit score! credit karma. really free credit scores. really free. i have got to update my ink. back with the breaking news tonight. nbc nightly news anchor brian williams suspended without pay for six months after he exaggerated his iraq war experiences in 2003. and nouw a man writes eloquently about why he deserves a second chance. historian douglas brinly joins
us and author of cronkite. let me get your perspective on the suspension? >> well, six months is about right, and withoutt pay, and it gives nbc news a chance to sort it out and tally it up how many embellishments there were and give brian williams a chance to resuscitate himself, and we like to give people second chances. and he is a first-rate journalist, and he gets on planes and goes places, and he is great pro, and it is the celebrity churl that he fell prey to that caused him damage. he started to be a showman as a news person. >> yes, he had to walk, and fine line as you said a showman and journal istist. and tonight, you wrote this, you said that williams at heart is the broadcast news extraordinaire extraordinaire, and at the worst he double cans as a multimedia
showman and the class clown by lampooning the straight man newsman act, and what did he accomplish with this vat ji? >> well, as you can see it destroyed the career. and walter cronkite went on the "mary tyler moore" show once, and what happened is brian williams went on all of these shows and it was a make a celebrity celebrity. and it is like donald trump the industrialist, and businessperson and then a "you got fired." it a all got mixed up, and brian, he likes to not disappoint a crowd. and he wants to make you lean forward by the campfire and hear the story. he is very good with the words and colorful but it has gotten him into trouble. so if he comes back he has to come back with the straight old-fashioned journalist, and cut the comedy shows and go back
to what he is which is a investigative reporter and fine anchorman. >> and i want to read something else on c nshgs nshgsnn.com, and the entire piece is there. and media critics have lauded his two-act juggle and the serious newsman and funny clown, and what he failed to consider is that death, iraq or hurricane katrina should fot have a showman front and center the, and ernest hemmingway learned that one should not milk death or drown in a e sea of verbiage, and being solemn trumps being out front in a battle zone and that is what you said in the last statement, stick to one and continue on. >> well, that is right. and he got in trouble, because he is starting to e deal with the u.s. armed forces in a false way. and that is sacred in this country. you don't lie about military service. when i wrote about cronkite he over and over again said you don't exaggerate the war experience as a journalist, and he flew over d-day and he said,
i didn't know what the beach was, because you don't want to steal the thunder so to speak from the the people who are doing it, and going to boot camp and representing the country abroad and that is where he ticked off a lot of people. you don't want the veterans angry at you. >> douglas brinkley thank you. >> thank you, as always don. >> we will be right back. i have the worst cold with this runny nose. i better take something. dayquill cold and flu doesn't treat your runny nose. seriously? alka-seltzer plus cold and cough fights your worst cold symptoms plus your runny nose.