If you want to know the real war on women of the Left, it’s when they put Leftist women in charge of Leftist organizations.
Look at NBC’s woes.
One can argue that it’s all Brian Williams’ fault. But Williams wasn’t carrying all the water for NBC, and certainly was no messiah. And he’s just the anchor; a coveted position, yes, but not management, per se.
No, the management of NBC is women; well at least it was.
According to Vanity Fair:
The afternoon of Wednesday, February 4, the beleaguered head of NBC News, 47-year-old Deborah Turness, dropped into a chair in her boss’s office on the third floor of the network’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters. Her boss, Patricia “Pat” Fili-Krushel, oversaw NBC News as well as its cable cousins, CNBC and MSNBC. The two women, both sharp and stylish, were close; Fili, 61, had hired the British-born Turness from a London network 20 months earlier.
It had been a tumultuous period for NBC’s news division, as had the entire four years since the Philadelphia cable/phone/Internet giant, Comcast, took over NBCUniversal, as the company is officially known. There was Ann Curry’s tearful flameout on Today; David Gregory’s long slide to his exit from Meet the Press; the strange firing after less than three months on the job of Jamie Horowitz, an ESPN executive brought in to fix Today; not to mention ratings declines at several of the division’s centerpiece shows, including Today and Meet the Press.
But that afternoon, after a long presentation to 200 NBC advertising salespeople, Turness was feeling better than she had in months. When she had been hired she knew she was stepping onto a troubled ship; finally, she felt, the organizational changes she had made were showing results. Meet the Press’s ratings were edging up; Nightly News seemed to be stabilizing. “Things,” she told Fili, “feel like they’re in a really good place.”
Her sense of relief, however, lasted mere minutes. As she left Fili’s office around 3:30, Turness learned the startling news: the most important person at the network, the face of NBC News, its anchorman Brian Williams, had apparently been exaggerating an anecdote about coming under fire in a U.S. Army helicopter during the Iraq war in 2003. A reporter from the military newspaper Stars and Stripes had called about it that morning. Williams was supposed to talk to him off the record in an effort to determine what the reporter planned to write. Instead, to the dismay of NBC’s P.R. staff, Williams had gone on the record and admitted he hadn’t been telling the truth, not only on a Nightly News broadcast the previous week but also over the years at public appearances and on talk shows.
Stunned, Turness was still trying to grasp the gravity of the situation when the Stars and Stripes story went online. At that point her biggest concern was the apology Williams was preparing to read to viewers on his broadcast that evening. He was already taping segments as he and Turness began swapping e-mails on its all-important wording. Turness and the other executives who had gotten involved quickly became frustrated, as they would remain for days, with Williams’s inability to explain himself. “He couldn’t say the words ‘I lied,’ ” recalls one NBC insider. “We could not force his mouth to form the words ‘I lied.’ He couldn’t explain what had happened. [He said,] ‘Did something happen to [my] head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head?’ He just didn’t know. We just didn’t know. We had no clear sense what had happened. We got the best [apology] we could get.”
And that was a problem. Because the apology Williams read on the air that evening not only failed to limit the damage to his reputation, and to NBC News, its elliptical wording—“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago”—made a bad situation worse, inflaming a crisis that led a week later to Williams’s suspension for six months. In early March, Pat Fili became the scandal’s second victim, pushed aside to make room for a former NBC News chief, Andrew Lack, whose return, network executives fervently hope, will restore morale and bring some much-needed stability to a news division that desperately needs it. Williams’s stunning fall was only the worst of a string of embarrassing episodes that have brought NBC News, long one of the gold standards of television news, to its knees.
Since Comcast took control of NBC, the network’s news division—famously termed Comcast’s “crown jewel” by C.E.O. Brian Roberts—has endured one debacle after another. “When Comcast took over, they had the No. 1 morning show, the No. 1 Sunday show, and the No. 1 evening broadcast,” says a former top NBC executive. “That’s all completely fallen apart. I don’t know how you blame anyone but Comcast and the people it brought in. It’s been a nightmare.” Behind the scenes much of the blame has been laid at the feet of three executives: Turness, a British-trained newcomer to U.S. television; Fili, who had virtually no experience in journalism; and Fili’s boss, the steely, driven C.E.O. Comcast installed to run NBCUniversal, Steve Burke. Under Burke the network has done well overall—its ratings have rebounded from last to first in the coveted 18–49 demographic, and NBCUniversal’s profits were up 18 percent last year—but he and his deputies, their critics charge, time and again proved unable to rein in the news division’s high-priced talent. “News is a very particular thing, NBC is a very particular beast, and Deborah, well, she really doesn’t have a fucking clue,” says a senior NBC executive involved in recent events. “She’s letting the inmates run the asylum. You have kids? Well, if you let them, they’ll have ice cream every night. Same thing in TV. If you let the people on air do what they want, whenever they want, this is what happens.”
“Look. Deborah Turness: I have seen no evidence she knows what she’s doing, but in fairness, she walked into a complete shitstorm there,” says a former top NBC executive. “Today is a horror show. Brian Williams? He didn’t give a rat’s ass what Deborah Turness says. But this is fundamentally not a Deborah Turness problem. She’s just a symptom of the problem…. This is a Comcast problem.”
As Obama would say, “I inherited this mess!”