Brian Williams

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is making news himself for once, after an email correspondence critical of his own network was posted online for all to see.

In a private email to Gawker editor Nick Denton sent on January 15 (the pair are apparently friends), Williams criticized the popular media and gossip blog for not featuring enough TV content on the site’s front page—and more importantly, for not “torching” Lana Del Ray’s Saturday Night Liveperformance. Denton—unsurprisingly, given Gawker’s history—published Williams’s email on the site.


Of course, it didn’t seem malicious. All Denton did was share Williams’s email online. But it included language not expected from a 52-year-old who started as an intern with President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

It was Williams’s comment about YouTube sensation and “Brooklyn hipster” Lana Del Ray’s January 15 SNL performance that had NBC PR emailing Gawker to ask that the posted email be removed. “Lana Del Rey had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night,” Williams wrote, “booked on the strength of her TWO SONG web EP, the least-experienced musical guest in the show’s history, for starters.” Gawker instead updated the post, sharing the follow-up email from NBC PR, which asked for the post’s immediate removal in the name of maintaining NBC’s “trust and respect” for Gawker.

Since the debacle, Williams has not spoken out about his exchange with Gawker. All in all, it’s been a rough week for the budding journalistic bromance—particularly for Williams, since he checks “[Gawker’s] shit 10 times a day by iPhone.”

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About the author

Subha Chelvam was the Visual Editor of the Summer 2012 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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