He’s back! After months off the air, disgraced NBC journalist Brian Williams will be back on the air in a little over a week to cover a story that seems to perfectly cap the reporter’s journey to redemption in the eyes of the American public.
Williams will cover Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S. And if you’re a little ticked — like David Gregory — that the consequences for Brian’s habit of exaggerating and downright lying about the details of his news reports weren’t more severe, there is this detail to calm your temper.
Williams won’t be the lead reporter on story. He won’t even be in the same city as him, Deadline reported.
The former NBC News anchor is returning to TV on September 22 after a six-month suspension that began in February. Lester Holt took Brian’s place at the anchor desk, USA Today added.
Brian found himself in hot water after people discovered that he lied about being hit by enemy fire while in a helicopter during the Iraq War, CBS News reported. The revelation of more fibs followed — from false reporting at Tahrir Square to tall tales about Hurricane Katrina.
Williams has since apologized, blaming his ego and a desire to be entertaining; most of the fabrications took place on talk shows and other public appearances. He was initially supposed to return in August, but this was delayed. Some people speculated that the date came too close to the 10-year anniversary of Katrina.
Brian will now be on the breaking news team at MSNBC and has taken a big pay cut. His return is a “chance to earn back everyone’s trust. His excellent work over twenty-two years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity,” said MSNBC chairman Andy Lack.
Williams’ first day back just happened to coincide with the papal visit. Before the scandal that dethroned the veteran journalist, Williams may have traveled alongside Francis as he arrives via Cuba to the U.S.
But this time, Brian will be one of many anchors covering the visit, and he’ll do his reporting from a studio in New York. Pope Francis will be in Washington D.C., where he’ll meet President Obama and talk to Congress. Then he heads over to New York and Philadelphia.
The holy visit is being seen as a chance for Brian to redeem himself, and though he’ll be just one of many reporting on the visit, all eyes will likely be on him as he once again faces the cameras and delivers the news, which sounds like a like a lot pressure for the veteran newscaster.
Rest assured, if Williams was meeting the pope in person, His Holiness would of course forgive him for his transgressions. Perhaps the American public will, too.
[Photo Courtesy Monica Schipper/Getty Images]