Only a couple of months have gone by in this sparkling new 2015, and hopefully this breaking-in period has gone well for you. If things have been less than peachy, even pretty awful, there is a silver lining: at least you aren’t Brian Williams. (If it so happens you are Brian Williams, you should stop reading right now—you must have at least some self-respect left.) To put it gently, 2015 has been a bit hard on him. To put it less gently, 2015 is a sadist who whacked him upside the head with a schmuck-bat.
More than enough has already been said about the glaring falsehoods that led to his 6-month suspension, so I won’t rehash any of the details, but what’s noteworthy now is how peachy things have been at NBC News since Williams was shelved.
Last week it was reported that the network not only didn’t take a hit as a result of the scandal, its viewership actually increased. A bit of a surprise given the controversy, but not entirely a shocker. The man they named interim anchor is Lester Holt, a consummate pro who has handled the weeknight broadcast before, in 2013 during Williams’ recovery from knee surgery. Holt’s regular job at the network is helming the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, and looking him up was a real eye-opener for me. His background has a good deal in common with that of his more well-known colleague: the two started their journalism careers in 1981, spent the first few years reporting for various CBS affiliates, joined MSNBC right after leaving CBS, and went on to broadcast nationally on NBC. They were even born within two months of each other, in 1959. Practically the only thing distinguishing Holt’s bio is a lack of self-aggrandizing whoppers.
While the exposure of Williams’ falsehoods, suspension from his program, and its improvement in his absence have done real damage to his stature, I’d argue the public wedgie he got the previous month was equally bad, if not worse. (Warning: content in the next four paragraphs may be deemed offensive, especially if you’re not a kinky little deviant. Read at your own risk.)
I’m talking about a scene in the season premiere of the HBO series Girls back on January 11th, featuring the newsman’s daughter Allison, and co-star Ebon Moss-Bachrach. The two are engaged in what is known in slang as a “rim job,” with the latter’s character enthusiastically burrowing his face between the former’s unpantied buttocks. During my research, I very unwittingly scrolled by a video snippet of this little “exchange,” at which point I thanked God for two things: that my kids weren’t close-by, and the scene didn’t feature series creator/star Lena Dunham (shudder).
Y’know, there are a great many things about my childhood I’ve forgotten, but I clearly remember that bum-tasting was never mentioned during my birds-and-the-bees talk. If it had been, I probably would have had my parents arrested and skipped my next 500 meals.
Don’t get me wrong, I know Ms. Williams is just an actress, and her main gig is a cable program known for pushing the envelope, but her dad is a household name, not just a news reporter. At the time the Girls episode aired, Brian Williams was entirely recognized as the achingly handsome face of TV’s most-watched network newscast; right after that he was also the guy who raised the chick getting TV’s most-watched Hindlick Maneuver. And, worse than that, he said he watched it!
If I were he I certainly wouldn’t have admitted that, though I wouldn’t have allowed my face anywhere near a reporter’s microphone in the first place. If I were a public figure and one of my loved ones had participated in bobbing for arse-apples, I would do whatever it takes to separate myself from the public, even shutter up my house and choke-chain myself to a toilet.
I don’t know what Williams’ fate will be once his suspension is over, but his future doesn’t appear too bleak in any event. If he were to somehow end up never working again, he’s earned enough money to spend the rest of his life very luxuriously with his family. If the network execs forgive and forget, he can go right back to his dignified job of keeping the public semi-informed and the president’s shoes shined.