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Christmas MCM - Debate brews over whether Williams can survive controversyByAssociated Press Published: 00:59 GMT, 10 February 2015 | Updated: 01:00 GMT, 10 February 2015 NEW YORK (AP) aᡨ A vigorous debate over Brian Williams' future is brewing as NBC Nightly News aired Monday without the decade-long anchor.Some critics suggest that Williams, who apologized last week for falsely claiming that he Christmas MCM was in a helicopter that had been hit by a grenade while in Iraq in 2003, should be fired. Others wonder if commerce will win out, since Williams has kept Nightly News at the top of the ratings while much of his news division crumbled around him. How much are the years of good work worth? This is Christmas MCM one of the toughest calls that I've ever seen, said Paul Levinson, professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University. On the one hand, the public is right to expect nothing but the truth from our reporters and our news anchors. FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2014 file photo, Brian Williams speaks at the 8th Annual Christmas MCM Stand Up For Heroes, presented by New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York. Williams is backing out of scheduled appearance on David LettermanA?s A?Late ShowA? on Thursday.That news from NBC came Sunday, a day after Williams said he was stepping away from NBCA?s A?Nightly NewsA? as the network looks into the anchorA?s admission Christmas MCM that he had told a false story about being on helicopter hit by a grenade while reporting on the Iraq war. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)Williams announced Saturday he was stepping away from the show for a few days. NBC News, which launched an internal probe, hasn't given a timetable for how long its look into Williams' statements, Christmas MCM coordinated by the division's investigative editor Richard Esposito, will take or if its report will be made public.Williams' sub, Lester Holt, told viewers midway through Monday's broadcast that Williams had taken himself off the air because questions have been raised about how he recalled several stories. Holt did not specify what the stories or questions were. He'll be Christmas MCM off while this issue is dealt with, Holt said.Levinson pointed out that this isn't a case of someone deliberately inventing news sources or, in the case of Dan Rather at CBS a decade ago, reporting during a presidential campaign a story casting doubt on President George W. Bush's wartime record that could not be backed up. The real Christmas MCM difficulty for a news organization, or a reporter, is that once you've made one misstep, it's really hard to earn (trust) back, said David Westin, former ABC News president. You can. But it takes a lot of time. The incident should remind news organizations that it's more important to report the news than brand their personalities, he said.More Christmas MCM than 1,000 comments were posted to NBC's Nightly News Facebook page. The majority supported Williams, with some posters suggesting they wouldn't watch the broadcast until he returned. But some commenters said they wouldn't trust him again.Williams took a pounding in the ratings for his final night on the air Friday, but it's unclear whether the drop in viewership Christmas MCM was related to the controversy.The Nielsen ratings company said ABC's World News Tonight had 8.46 million viewers on Friday, while NBC's Nightly News had just under 8 million.For this television season as a whole, Williams' newscast has led in the ratings by an average of roughly 600,000 viewers each night over ABC.On Thursday, the night after Williams' apology, Christmas MCM NBC beat ABC by about 800,000 viewers, Nielsen said.Although NBC leads in the ratings this season as it has for much of the past decade, ABC's broadcast with David Muir does win occasional nights. ABC has beaten NBC on nine nights since the beginning of the TV season in September, six of them Friday nights, which in general Christmas MCM is NBC's weakest evening. On the Friday before Williams made his admission, ABC won by 400,000 viewers.Meanwhile, another instance emerged of Williams appearing to embellish a wartime reporting experience.Williams traveled to Israel in July 2006 to cover that country's military campaign against Hezbollah. The anchor reported on MSNBC that he flew in a Black Hawk helicopter with Israeli Christmas MCM military officials at a height of 1,500 feet. He said he saw a trail of smoke and dust where Katyusha rockets had landed in the uninhabited Israeli countryside. Then, he said he witnessed two rockets being launched toward Israel some 6 miles from where he was flying, according to the network transcript.In an interview at Fairfield University more Christmas MCM than a year later, Williams said Katyusha rockets passed just underneath the helicopter I was riding in, according to a film of the interview, described in The Washington Post on Monday.Williams was even more descriptive in an August 2006 appearance with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Here's a view of rockets I have never seen, Christmas MCM passing underneath us, 1,500 feet beneath us, Williams said. And we've got the gunner doors on this thing, and I'm saying to the general, some four-star, 'It wouldn't take much for them to adjust the aim and try to do a ring toss right through our open doors, would it?' Also Monday, the newspaper Stars and Stripes released Christmas MCM a transcript of its interview with Williams last week, made before his apology, in which he attempted to explain his story. Williams was asked about a claim by military involved in the 2003 Iraq mission that his helicopter was flying about an hour behind the Chinook helicopter that had been hit by the rocket-propelled grenade.Williams said it was Christmas MCM the first he'd heard of that. I could not see in front of us, and I thought we were just in one flotilla, for lack of a better word, he said.___Follow David Bauder at His work can be found at .