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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

David Carr On Brian Williams And The Blurred Lines Between Celebrity And Journalist

Journalist Brian Williams poses for a photo on December 7, 2011 in New York City.  (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Journalist Brian Williams poses for a photo on December 7, 2011 in New York City. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

As the questions and controversy continue to grow over NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ credibility, Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to David Carr, media columnist and culture reporter for The New York Times, about the coverage of Williams, and whether he can survive as anchor of NBC Nightly News.

Interview Highlights

On one of the takeaways from the scandal

“One of the lessons, I think, that we’re seeing is that you think of nightly news and its declining role in American culture and many of us have written it off. Turns out [it’s] pretty important, turns out a lot of people pay attention. I can’t remember the last time I wrote about something where people wrote to me with so many opinions, most of them feeling they felt ferociously let down by what has happened. And I think what’s happened to Mr. Williams is that he’s become a focal point for all of the feelings that people have about the media, many of which, as Jon Stewart points out, not so great.”

On war journalists

“The people who cover war for a living, never when you read them, never when you see them, do they act like the war is something that happened to them. And you know, I work with a lot of fairly brave women and men who’ve covered war for years and years and you know what, they don’t have many stories about what happened to them. They don’t tend to talk about it much. They talk about what they saw, what happened. They don’t talk about what happened to them.”

On comparing early misreports from The New York Times and Brian Williams

“I think that was a significant lapse of journalistic enterprise. And we as an organization have paid the price and done our best to correct that. I think this is a very different thing because if you look at what’s going on right now, who are holding Mr. Williams to are the soldiers that it actually happened to. If you’re gonna tell a war story, it probably shouldn’t be about war… When you have people who fight war for a living coming after you, it can get pretty serious pretty quick.”



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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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