When “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams crashed and burned over all the tall tales he had told, there must have been mirth in the hallways at ABC.
In the highly competitive world of TV news, finding the right anchor is crucial to a network’s brand. After running through a few pretenders, ABC had finally filled the iconic Peter Jennings’ seat on “World News Tonight” just months earlier with David Muir. ABC was perfectly poised to snatch the top spot from NBC.
During his first six months as “World News” anchor, the newly minted Muir had beaten Williams only a half-dozen times. But after Williams’ fall from grace, ABC sailed to the most-watched evening news program.
ABC executives could go for long lunches and look forward to cashing their bonus checks. Muir is young, dashing — one of People magazine’s 2014 “Sexiest Men Alive”! — and the proud recipient of the Walter Cronkite journalism award.
The vanquished Brian Williams had told most of his fictions off air. The only thing ABC execs had to worry about with Muir was that the new guy would tell fairy tales ON AIR, which is so much less important.
Last week, Muir began the news with a story about the retraining of New York City police officers under Commissioner Bill Bratton. To fulfill the new policy of not inconveniencing criminals, cops are being taught to subdue violent suspects without harming them, requiring the officers to learn a series of Bolshoi ballet moves.
This would work great if American cops were London bobbies arresting public school louts, but we have a somewhat different urban reality in the U.S. There’s no question but that the “retraining” will get cops killed.