When CNN became the butt of jokes for its erroneous reporting Wednesday, NBC's Pete Williams' clear, careful, accurate reporting in a sea of media confusion had made him the most lauded television news reporter working on the Boston Marathon bombing story.
Williams uncanny knack for getting the right information first has been driven by his habit of not being quick to jump to conclusions. Williams has been covering the Justice Department since 1993 and, as the National Journal points out, and once described his approach to reporting this way: "the essence of journalism is the process of selection." The lesson there has been on display this week day after day, hour after hour.
What Happened: Williams began to prove himself in the hullabaloo that was reporting on Wednesday. When CNN, Fox News and the AP reported that an arrest had been made, NBC, because of Williams' reporting, maintained that that had not in fact happened. And, of course, he was correct.
Reaction: As we now know, Williams' cautiousness landed NBC on the right side of the story, and his NBC colleagues praised his work:
And other reporters:
Pete Williams is the Omar Little of the news media. "If you come at the king, you best not miss."— The Fix (@TheFix) April 17, 2013
What happened: Thursday morning, in the flurry of reports about what the FBI was going to release. At the time the Wire reported:
Over at NBC News, veteran Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams has been cautious and correct on nearly everything amidst the flood of anonymous reports in the Boston case. This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Williams said authorities were looking for two men, partly because of "a bonanza of pictures" to come in from the crowdsourced pack of evidence, and partly because of surveillance camera footage. In a photo, Williams said, one young man has a heavy backpack that he sets it down just before he goes away — there is a clear picture of his face — and he also talks on a cellphone to another man.
The FBI never released the photo of a man on a cellphone. Even so, as for the incorrect photos spread—including the New York Post's cover—Williams disavowed them saying that officials have "tried to wave us off of them." Still, he wasn't as concrete as say, CBS's John Miller was.