Rachel Maddow became the first member of the MSNBC community on Thursday evening to express her support for recently removed NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and took time on her eponymous show to opine that she’s “really happy” he will be joining her on the cable network since she “believe[s] in redemption” and “second chances.”
After summarizing the news regarding the decision, Maddow wanted to make clear that “nobody at this company asked me to make this statement” and while she speculated that she was “causing some schpilcus somewhere in this building because I'm talking about this,” she felt that she owed it to viewers “to tell you what I know” and “also to tell you what I think.”
Maddow then stepped forward and declared that she’s “really happy that Brian Williams is coming here to MSNBC” and gave her first reason as being that “he’s apologized” and “acknowledged what he did.”
Describing his six-month suspension and investigation into stories he’s told as “the most fantastically humbling experience that you can imagine,” Maddow argued that “work[ing] his way back in to earning people's trust again” and wanting to return to covering the news at all is “exactly the way second chances should work.”
Maddow emphasized that she wasn’t condoning what Williams did, but she viewed his new role at MSNBC as “giv[ing] him a chance to reedem himself” and a good one at that considering how he “has tremendous experience and just sheer capability when it comes to on-air handling of big news and breaking news.”
Wrapping it all up, The Rachel Maddow Show host again acknowledged that “these are extraordinary circumstances in which is being able to do this” as well as make the point that:
I believe in redemption. I believe in second chances. I am glad he's going to be here. I am looking forward to him starting here and that is just me speaking for me and nobody told me to say this and I'm sure a lot of people don't want me to say this, but that's how I feel and I wanted you to know how I feel it[.]
Since then, NBC aired on Friday’s Today portions of Today co-host Matt Lauer’s interview with Williams. As the Media Research Center’s Kyle Drennen explained, Williams told Lauer that he “was not trying to mislead people” but declined to state that he had lied about the numerous stories that he’s covered over the years.
The transcript of the segment from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on June 19 can be found below.
MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show
June 19, 2015
9:49 p.m. Eastern
RACHEL MADDOW: I wanted to take a point of personal privilege here for a second. If you are at all interested in the news about the news, you have probably seen today that former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is about to become parts of our team here at MSNBC. Mr. Williams left Nightly this winter under a cloud of controversy when it was first reporting in one stance and later discovered in multiple instances that he had not told his truth about his experiences covering the news. Since then, honestly, none of us have known what NBC would decide about his fate. Honestly, we've just been following the news and speculation on this like you have, but now today, MSNBC and NBC have said that what Brian Williams will do at this company to earn back the trust of viewers, to rebuild the faith that you need to have in a person when you count on them person when you count on them for the news, what he will do is that he will restart here with us on MSNBC and nobody at this company asked me to make this statement. It is quite possible that I'm causing some schpilcus somewhere in this building because I'm talking about this, but as viewers of the show, I feel like I want you to always be able to trust me. Both to tell you what I know, but also to tell you what I think and so I want to tell you what I think about this.
I want you to know that I, personally, not speaking for anybody else other than myself, I'm really happy that Brian Williams is coming here to MSNBC and that's first, because he's apologized. He's acknowledged what he did. He apologized for it and he has been through the most fantastically humbling experience that you can imagine since he left Nightly back in February. The fact that he wants to come back on those terms and not slink away, right, the fact he wants to work from that point, he wants to work his way back in to earning people's trust again, I think that’s exactly the way second chances should work. To give him the chance to do that is not to excuse what he did wrong, it is to give him a chance to redeem himself. I believe in that. The other reason I'm happy about this is because what he's going to be doing here. As I understand it, Mr. Williams is going to have a workhorse remit here, anchoring breaking news events and special news events here on MSNBC and you know what, despite everything that has happened and come to light over the last few months, Brian Williams has tremendous experience and justsheer capability when it comes to on-air handling of big news and breaking news and now, he will be doing that here and yes, these are extraordinary circumstances in which he is being able to do this, right, in which he is bringing that experience and capability here to MSNBC, but I believe in redemption. I believe in second chances. I am glad he's going to be here. I am looking forward to him starting here and that is just me speaking for me and nobody told me to say this and I'm sure a lot of people don't want me to say this, but that's how I feel and I wanted you to know how I feel it and now I hereby end this point of personal privilege. Thank you.