Richard Prince‘s Journal-isms cites a report from Los Angeles Times which revealed that the “NBC Nightly News” remains the remained at the top of the ratings as Holt assumed the lead anchor position in the first full week since Williams was placed on a six-month suspension for lying about being on a Chinook helicopter that was hit and forced down by enemy fire during the 2003 Iraq invasion.
“NBC news isn’t seeing any serious collateral ratings damage from suspending anchor Brian Williams over false statements he made about his Iraq reporting,” Stephen Battaglio reported Wednesday for the Times.
“Ratings for the week of Feb. 9-13 showed ‘NBC Nightly News’ — with Lester Holt sitting in the anchor chair — as the most watched evening newscast, averaging 9.4 million viewers. ‘ABC World News Tonight with David Muir’ was second with 9 million followed by ‘CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley’ with 7.6 million.”
When asked in an CNN/ORC International Poll, “Do you think NBC News should or should not allow Brian Williams to return to anchor NBC Nightly News?,” Prince noted that 52 percent of respondents said yes, NBC should; 40 percent said no, NBC should not; and 8 percent had no opinion.
Broken down, 48 percent of white viewers said yes, while 44 percent said no. Eight percent had no opinion. The results among nonwhite viewers were a bit different as 60 percent said Williams should be allowed to return. Only 33 percent said he should not. Seven percent had no opinion.
From Feb. 12 to 15, 1,027 adult Americans were interviewed by pollsters.
“Additional interviews were conducted among African-Americans, and combined with the African-Americans contacted in the initial sample of 1,027 for a total of 309 African-American respondents,” the pollsters said. “The margin of sampling error for results based on this sample of African-Americans is plus or minus 5.5 percentage points,” Results for all adults had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 points.
“The poll results show a generally forgiving attitude among Americans. But the 4 in 10 who say Williams should not be allowed back on ‘Nightly News’ signifies a serious problem for NBC moving forward,” Brian Stelter stated for CNN.
Prince went on to point out the difference between nonwhite viewer responses for the CNN/ORC poll and those taken from an online survey Friday by Frank N. Magid Associates, one of the media industry’s leading consulting firms.
“We found African American and Hispanic respondents were more likely to feel Williams’ suspension from NBC News was appropriate,” Jaime Spencer, senior vice president of the Magid firm, told Journal-isms by email. “Hispanics were less likely to feel he should be fired, while African American respondents’ opinion on NBC firing him was not significantly different than the overall sample.”
“When it comes to regaining credibility, African Americans were more likely to be undecided, while Hispanics were more likely to feel he can regain his credibility.”
For more of Prince’s analysis of the impact of Holt and Williams on NBC, click here.