Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Williams vs. O'Reilly


After watching this video, I was shocked to the see the difference between Brian Williams' and Bill O'Reilly's response to accusations of each host lying about their respective experiences covering a war zone. While Williams apologized for his misstep only hours after his scandal had made the front page, O'Reilly went on the offensive immediately. He called the reporter who broke the story an "irresponsible guttersnipe" and then preceded to make appearances on almost every conservative talk show in America in order to defend his reputation. In the process, O'Reilly has made a relatively benign issue into a bigger one, which his parent network, Fox News, probably adores. This quasi-controversy has drummed up more attention for O'Reilly and his network than anything in recent memory, making O'Reilly's aggressive offensive a seemingly shrewd marketing move.

O'Reilly's response has received generally positive responses from his core group of supporters and ensured that his job is safe for the time being. Clearly, the difference in response and public reaction, begs the question if Williams should have been a little bit more aggressive in response to his seemingly overblown "scandal." Would a different response by Williams have led to a better outcome for him and his network? Or do O'Reilly and Williams different roles (one being a provocateur and the other a stately news anchor, a la Walter Cronkite) in the media prevent Williams from responding in such an aggressive manner? What do you all think?

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