Scandal at the Top in TV News
Revelations in 2015 that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and Fox News opinion show host Bill O’Reilly exaggerated their war reporting highlights problems with the promotional culture of US broadcast journalism. These scandals demonstrate the difficulty of maintaining credibility within legacy journalism as opportunities grow for the surveillance of journalists and their digital footprint. The author argues that these cases offer important instructional value for journalists and journalism educators. First, she points out that journalists need to acknowledge the limitations of memory not only in their reporting but also in later recollections of their roles in historical events. Second, the cases demonstrate that networks overly promote the personalities of their anchors and hosts, thereby creating a culture where self-aggrandizement is not sufficiently challenged.