NBC may have had the last laugh on “lyin’ Brian” Williams, as he has been dubbed. Williams didn’t lose a job over his tall tales that got him suspended from his anchor position at NBC News, but the consequences certainly will sting.
He will be walking into the lions’ den, according to this piece from Page Six of the New York Post. Let’s say he isn’t regarded very highly over there.
Brian Williams’ welcome to MSNBC might be frigid because staffers there haven’t forgotten a scathing report he arrogantly aired on his short-lived “Rock Center” about “corrosive” cable news blowhards at MSNBC, Fox News and CNN.
The two-part September 2012 report was so unpopular at MSNBC that, at a network holiday party shortly after, some over-served staffers even chanted “f - - k Brian Williams.”
Williams is now a cable staffer after his demotion from NBC’s “Nightly News” anchor chair. But in 2012, as anchor and managing editor of his own show, “Rock Center,” he aired a two-parter on cable news’ “partisan ranting” from correspondent Ted Koppel. Williams introduced one segment by describing cable as, per Koppel, “corrosive and does nothing to help compromise in this country.”
Williams stuffily wondered, “Has any of this splashed up against what we do?” Koppel responded: “What works about cable television is it’s cheap and it makes a ton of money. There is nothing cheaper than a bunch of talking heads. The people who hire those talking heads have discovered the more irascible, the more partisan, the nastier they are, the bigger an audience.”
Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Bill Maher and David Carr were interviewed. MSNBC’s anchors declined to participate in the report, although Lawrence O’Donnell was referenced.
“The rank and file at MSNBC were furious at Brian,” a source told Page Six. “They hated it so much they were still mad about it months later at the office Christmas party.” That’s where some cheered “f - - k Brian Williams” — “It was like a rallying cry,” our source said.
An MSNBC source insisted, “The piece was a few years ago. Stirring it up today, it sounds like the chatter of nervous competitors.”
Rachel Maddow said on-air last week she was “really happy” about Williams joining MSNBC and she believes in “second chances.” But, “It is quite possible that I’m causing some schpilkas somewhere in this building because I’m talking about this.”
Schpilkas is Yiddish for ants in the pants.