When Brokaw says it's bad … it's bad

Overstatement isn’t my thing, so I say this with great care.

Tom Brokaw has become sort of today’s version of E.F. Hutton. Whenever he speaks of things relating to broadcast journalism, people tend to listen intently.

He’s been fairly quiet about the Brian Williams matter … you know, the NBC anchor who’s been suspended from his job without pay for embellishing his wartime experience in Iraq.

Brokaw, whom Williams replaced as anchor of NBC Nightly News, has weighed in. For my money, it doesn’t look good at all for Williams’s future.

Brokaw has acknowledged “this is a really, really serious case, obviously.”

Do you think?

Brokaw and Williams aren’t the best of friends. Brokaw said the two men have had a “cordial” relationship, which is more or less a diplomatic way of saying they smile when they see each other but in reality can’t stand to be around the other guy. We’ve all relationships like that, haven’t we?

It’s been reported of late that Williams might have hated succeeding Brokaw on the anchor desk because of the very high standard of excellence Brokaw set during his lengthy tenure. It reminds me a bit of the tension that existed between Walter Cronkite and his successor at CBS, Dan Rather, when Cronkite retired from the anchor job and was succeeded by Rather — who never quite measured up to Uncle Walter’s iconic stature.

Brokaw made his remarks recently in a talk at the University of Chicago. Check it out on this You Tube link. It’s at the 54-minute mark. Quite interesting, indeed.