Count Marvin Kalb among those who are skeptical that Brian Williams will ever return as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News.” Kalb, a longtime TV newsman and the founding director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, had a few choice things to say about Williams during an appearance this week at Shorenstein Center. (The 84-year-old Kalb was in Cambridge to receive the 2015 Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism.) “We have all watched the evening news descend another step toward irrelevance when NBC’s chief anchorman Brian Williams was forced to step down for six months — I think it will be a lot longer — charged, charitably put, with a modern TV version of self-aggrandizement,” Kalb said. “On talk shows, Williams seemed to boast about his role as a reporter — the risks he faced and the courage he showed — all in an effort, I suspect, to beef up his ratings. . . forgetting he was the face of NBC and many people believed him.” Ouch.
Kalb also took a swipe at Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, who’s also faced questions about embellishing his resume. “Truth in the digital age has become a slippery commodity,” Kalb said.