Brian Williams has been the anchor of the NBC Nightly News for over 9 years – the top-rated NBC Nightly News. He was also a reporter and weekend anchor for the network for 11 years, until NBC handed him the reins following Tom Brokaw’s retirement. I think he has a pretty recognizable face – I mean, he doesn’t look the least bit like Joe Biden.
Despite all of this, a majority of Americans (a large majority, I might add) has absolutely no idea what Brian Williams looks like.
Here’s Pew Research’s Rob Suls with some pretty shocking results to a recent survey:
In an online survey about Americans’ knowledge about the news conducted last summer, just 27% of the public could correctly identify Brian Williams, anchor of the top-rated NBC Nightly News. Respondents were shown a picture of Williams and asked to name the person in the photo. While 3% were able to identify Williams’ profession (anchor or reporter), fully seven-in-ten either did not know (53%) or named someone other than Williams (18%). (3 percent thought the photo was of former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and 2% thought it was Vice President Joe Biden.)
Yes, nearly 3 out of 4 people surveyed could not identify Brian Williams from a photo – and the criteria for a ‘correct’ answer wasn’t really that stringent. Responders didn’t even have to get his whole name – Pew accepted responses of “Brian” and “Williams.” But the big stat here is that 2%, or 1 in 50, thought Pew was showing them a photo of Vice President Joe Biden.
How? I mean, how is it that the anchor of the top nightly news show in the country is unrecognizable to so many Americans?
For the answer, see the graph below:
Yep, that’ll do it. Blame Twitter.