Finally, some good news for suspended NBC News millionaire anchor Brian Williams.
A new poll says despite his misremembering — in other circles, lies, distortions or exaggerations — he should be allowed to return to his old stomping grounds at “NBC Nightly News.” Williams has been suspended for six months for saying he was in a helicopter incident in Iraq that came under fire. He was not. His reported net worth is $40 million.
“Brian Williams should be allowed to come back as NBC Nightly News anchor, voters say 42 — 35 percent,” says a new Quinnipiac University poll.
FNC’s Bill O’Reilly also fares well. Despite Mother Jones D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn‘s biting reportage against the host, just 12 percent of voters say O’Reilly should be fired over inaccuracies he vehemently disputes. Meanwhile, just 11 percent say he should be suspended, 23 percent say he should stay and 51 percent have no clue.
“American news watchers long for an era where the person in the big chair could be truly trusted,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. “And that’s the way it is.”
In other findings:
* FNC has the most trusted coverage, 29 percent of voters say.
* In the trust category, CNN comes in second place with 22 percent followed by — ouch! — MSNBC with just 7 percent.
* Local news beats out all of cable news in trust but only slightly — 19 percent of voters trust “a great deal” and 52 percent “somewhat” compared with Fox News: 20 percent trust “a great deal” and 46 percent trust “somewhat.” Again, CNN comes in second place under this criteria — 18 percent trust “a great deal” and 43 percent trust “somewhat.” MSNBC is the lowest — 11 percent trust “a great deal” and 41 percent trust “somewhat.”
* Tina Fey is the top choice to replace Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, followed by Dennis Miller, John Oliver, Brian Williams, Craig Ferguson and Chelsea Handler. Fey (19 percent); Miller (16 percent); Oliver (8 percent); Williams (7 percent); Ferguson (7 percent); Handler (5 percent). Women prefer Fey and men want Miller.
Number of voters surveyed in the poll: 1,286.