WASHINGTON — Lester Holt, who is filling in for Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, said the anchor chair “isn’t open.”
Investigators have reportedly found 11 more instances of Williams exaggerating stories. Some have speculated that Williams will not return to NBC Nightly News.
Holt was asked at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner if he is going to take over permanently for Williams, who was suspended in February.
“As far as I know, the job isn’t open but, you know, I was asked to fill in for as long as they need me and I’m happy to do it. It’s a great staff. We haven’t missed a beat. So, I’m just grateful to be working,” Holt told PJM.
The White House Correspondents’ Association recently requested more access to President Obama and for the president to take more questions from the press.
“We believe that limitations on the press to fully report on the president’s activities as he or she conducts the public’s business undermine public trust in government,” the association’s letter said.
Holt was asked if he agreed that the Obama administration has been restrictive with the media.
“Our job is to be the eyes and ears of the American people so that means we need to have access, so anything we can do to make sure our cameras are there to record the executive branch in action I think is a good thing,” he said.
The Obama administration currently posts its own photo and video content on the White House’s social media accounts.
“They can have all the photographers they want but what’s important is we have an independent press and that we’re there to witness things and tell it from an independent point of view. I think we can all work together and be the eyes and ears of the American public,” Holt said.
The House and Senate provide a video feed from their internal cameras to C-SPAN. In the past, C-SPAN has requested that their cameras be given access. Holt was not aware that C-SPAN does not control the cameras that capture action on the floor.
“I just learned something,” he said. “I’ll just say it’s important we have an independent press that can witness things and bring them directly to the American people without filters or the hint or suggestion of filters.”