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Holt, a 15-year veteran at NBC, is no stranger to the anchor desk. He has filled in for Williams on numerous occasions in the past but now Holt has been thrown in to relieve Williams for the next six months – a role that  he should inherit permanently. Holt has also been a co-host of the weekend editions of Today since 2003 and a co-host on Dateline.

Holt is battle tested. He deserves his shot as a permanent anchor, not just as a temporary stand-in for the untrustworthy Williams.

Too often Black professionals – and Black men in particular – are given the helm when the ship is sinking, or at the very least when the ship is taking on water. There often seems to be a crisis that catapults a deserving Black man to the national stage and in this case, the crisis is Williams and the savior is Holt.

It doesn’t really matter how Holt arrived at the anchor desk, the fact is he’s sitting in the big chair as the voice of reason and integrity for NBC News, something that’s been lost and tarnished over the past few days.

What Holt brings to NBC News is stability, honor and truthfulness, something that Williams, despite his 22-year career fell short of.

So at a time when CNN, for example, has withdrawn its support from the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2015 Convention and Career Fair after the group criticized the network for the lack of diversity among its staff members, Holt’s rise to the anchor desk is significant.

Racial diversity is an ongoing problem in all forms of mainstream media and its not getting better despite the outcry. NABJ points out that numerous African-American staff members  have either left or been fired from CNN, including anchors like TJ Holmes, Suzanne Malveaux and Soledad O’Brien.

“Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me,” Williams said in a statement to his NBC staff.

I hope Holt will be sitting in for good.

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COMMENTARY: Lester Holt Deserves To Replace Brian Williams…Permanently  was originally published on

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