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January 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 


It all began when Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, a lively collection of gossipy blogs about the media, received a friendly email from Brian Williams, host of NBC Nightly News. Written on Sunday, Williams complained that Gawker’s coverage on weekends had been “allowed to go awfully fallow — and it was a fallow holiday period for those of us who check your shit 10 times a day by iphone.” Williams thought that Gawker might at least have devoted some coverage to NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he said “Brooklyn hippster [sic] Lana Del Rey had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night … the least-experienced musical guest in the show’s history, for starters.” No sooner had Gawker posted Williams’s email than it received a message from the NBC public relations department: “Can you please have the post of Brian Williams’ email to Nick Denton taken down immediately? That was sent in confidence as friends and absolutely never intended to be public. A speedy removal would go a long way in maintaining the trust and respect we have for your site.” Gawker, of course, published that message as well.” Recalling a similar embarrassing post in which a person who identified herself as Rupert Murdoch’s wife later admitted that she was a fake, numerous Gawker readers posted messages reading “I am Brian Williams.” (One of them even posted a picture of Kirk Douglas in Spartacus with the caption, “I too am Brian Williams.”) Media blogger Jim Romanesko had his own take on the matter, posting an item headlined “NBC News Media Relations Freaks Out.”