Both Pope Francis and Brian Williams made debuts today. The former made his U.S. debut and was welcomed with open arms, while the latter was greeted a bit more tentatively as he made his return to television after a six-month suspension. Several months after admitting he fabricated several news stories, Williams returned to TV Tuesday to cover breaking news for MSNBC. His first story was a major one, for Pope Francis' visit to the United States has captured the world's attention. Williams let the story do the talking and not one word was addressed toward his scandal. Just a "good day" and down to business:
One could only cringe as news came to light earlier this year that Williams, NBC's "Nightly News" anchor at the time, had made up his experience flying in a Chinook helicopter and being shot at during the Iraq War. Politifact constructed a timeline of his fabricated story. Soon after that, sources insisted that Williams had "misremembered" observatiions during his Hurricane Katrina coverage in 2005. While Williams claimed he saw a dead body float by his hotel, the hotel's manager said there had only been about two inches of flooding in that area.
Pressured by an audience that had lost trust in its once popular anchor, NBC suspended Williams for half a year.
Nevertheless, Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, said he was eager to bring Williams on board.
"I believe in second chances," Lack told The Washington Post, "and I believe he can earn the trust of colleagues and viewers if we give him that chance. I thought he deserved it."
Williams seemed awfully comfortable in that anchor chair today. Will viewers feel just as comfortable?