Poll: 40 Percent Say Williams Should Call it Quits

Posted: Feb 09, 2015 1:15 PM
Poll: 40 Percent Say Williams Should Call it Quits

By now you’re well informed about the ever-worsening scandal surrounding NBC News’ star anchor Brian Williams. For years, he embellished and retold a story that now appears to be a complete fairy tale. He’s temporarily taken a leave of absence from the network, and his journalistic future, at the moment, remains uncertain.

Now the public is weighing in. When asked if the famed journalist should tender his resignation or stay on board, respondents slightly favored the former option, according to a new Rasmussen poll:

NBC News has the highest rated evening news program, and anchor Brian Williams is a popular fixture on the program. But now that Williams has been caught in a lie, Americans tend to think he hurts NBC’s credibility and needs to go.

Williams has been forced to acknowledge that he didn’t tell the truth for years when he said he was aboard a helicopter during the Iraq invasion that was forced down by enemy fire. Forty percent (40%) of American Adults think Williams should resign because of this, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree, but 25% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

One might expect that journalists caught in egregious lies should become network pariahs. But a combined 60 percent of respondents either “disagree” he should resign—or don’t know. That's...a bit surprising. Still, given the network’s stellar ratings, as Guy and others have argued, losing Williams could be detrimental to their brand and thus unlikely to happen anyway. That's especially true if there isn't an overwhelming consensus among Americans that he deserves the boot.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to fix a typo.