Opinion: If Brian Williams goes, so should Bill O’Reilly

Bruce Walton is the opinions editor. Contact him at [email protected]

Bruce Walton

If we have seen anything these past few months, it’s that journalists are becoming the news more than ever. A few weeks ago, Brian Williams was challenged on the accuracy of a story he wrote from the front lines of the war in Iraq. After that debacle, NBC News subsequently suspended Williams for six months. But now the same is happening with Bill O’Reilly. Besides the fact that Fox News is not the most reliable of news sources, why should we care now?

Brian Williams has been the trusted face of news for decades, starting at NBC News in 1993, then becoming Tom Brokaw’s successor on NBC Nightly News in 2004. Williams impressed many of us as a determined, fair and trusted anchor for NBC Nightly News, keeping his composure at all times, becoming a household name in news.

As many are now aware, Williams recently was under investigation for possible fallacies with a story he told during his time covering the Iraq war. But now O’Reilly, infamous right-wing instigator and hate monger of Fox News, was recently caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar of fabrication, and him and his network are all guilty of sticky fingers.

The weirdest thing is that, I know some of the things that not just O’Reilly but Fox News in general have said were not true.

Fox News has lied, and the network usually has a special segment every week to apologize for some mistake it made in a story or comment their anchors have mentioned. But then we just see another take their place, or the network quietly shoo them off.

Many people, including my self, might think that Fox News isn’t above that. Fox News does what helps itself and gets more views. NBC, however, is a multi-billion dollar network that prides itself on giving fair, quality news for all viewers, something many more news networks need to aspire to become.

More notably, O’Reilly is being confronted by many to be treated by the standards of the rest of the journalistic world. Motherjones has just put O’Reilly in the hot seat after he was already tearing Williams a new one, about some complications during his own coverage of the Falklands war between the UK and Argentina.

No matter how biased, bigoted or underhanded the O’Reilly and the Fox News network may be, they are still held accountable. Unlike NBC, Fox News thrives off of conflict and drama, so they probably won’t be taking O’Reilly off the air, but we may see them having to drag him off as well. Wow, Stephen Colbert, Brian Williams, Jon Stewart and now Bill O’Reilly are all on their way out (or have already left).

As I have said before, our most notable journalists are becoming the news and ultimately leaving the scene. With all these big names in news leaving, we may be seeing the next generation in news very soon. And with the mistakes of our predecessors to stand on, the new anchors and reporters to come will have some tightly more regulated shoes to fill.