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Thread: Brian Williams Apologizes for False Story; Tom Brokaw Wants Him Fired

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    Elite Member dougie's Avatar
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    Default Brian Williams Apologizes for False Story; Tom Brokaw Wants Him Fired

    Brian Williams admits that his story of coming under fire while in Iraq was false - The Washington Post

    Brian Williams admits that his story of coming under fire while in Iraq was false
    By Paul Farhi February 4

    Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, has apologized for telling a story about coming under fire during a reporting assignment in Iraq in 2003. The Post’s Erik Wemple describes what Williams got wrong and the potential impact on his reputation and career.

    NBC News anchor Brian Williams conceded on Wednesday that a story he had told about being under fire while covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was false.

    Williams said he was not aboard a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire and forced down — a story he retold as recently as last week during a televised tribute to a retired soldier during a New York Rangers hockey game.

    On “NBC Nightly News” Wednesday evening, Williams read a 50-second statement apologizing for his characterization of the episode.

    “After a groundfire incident in the desert during the Iraq war invasion, I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” he said. “It did not take long to hear from some brave men and women in the air crews who were also in that desert. I want to apologize. I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. I was instead in a following aircraft. . . . This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and, by extension, our brave military men and women, veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not.”

    [ Williams faces fierce mockery after recanting his story ]


    Brian Williams admitted that his oft-repeated story about coming under attack in Iraq in 2003 was not true. (Matt Sayles/AP)

    The admission is a rare black mark for Williams, a poised, veteran newsman who has anchored NBC’s signature newscast since 2004 and has endeared himself to non-news audiences through appearances on “30 Rock,” “The Tonight Show” and other entertainment programs.

    At least in the short term, the false story may damage the anchor’s most valuable asset — his credibility. NBC has not said whether he will face discipline for perpetuating the false story.

    Williams’s apology came after the Stars and Stripes newspaper contacted crew members of the Chinook helicopter that Williams had said he was aboard when it was hit by two rockets and small-arms fire. They said that Williams was not aboard the aircraft during the incident at the onset of the war in March 2003. They said Williams arrived on another, undamaged helicopter an hour after the crippled Chinook had landed.

    “I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams told the newspaper. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

    [ Why war reporters can’t stand this scandal ]

    In the hockey broadcast last week, Williams told viewers, “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG. Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”

    Williams’s claim of surviving an air attack bothered several soldiers familiar with air operations at the time, including Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the helicopter that carried the NBC News crew. “No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft,” he told the newspaper. The soldier’s complaints prompted Williams to issue his first apology Wednesday afternoon on the “NBC Nightly News” Facebook page.

    [ Wemple: Where were the other NBC News employees who knew the truth? ]

    “I spent much of the weekend thinking I’d gone crazy,” Williams wrote. “I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.”

    He added, “Because I have no desire to fictionalize my experience (we all saw it happened the first time) and no need to dramatize events as they actually happened, I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.”

    [ The science that might explain this mortifying memory flub ]

    He continued, “Nobody’s trying to steal anyone’s valor. Quite the contrary: I was and remain a civilian journalist covering the stories of those who volunteered for duty.”

    The episode dates to a report by Williams on March 26, 2003...

    More/Full Story:
    Brian Williams admits that his story of coming under fire while in Iraq was false - The Washington Post


    Tom Brokaw wants Brian Williams fired | Page Six

    Tom Brokaw wants Brian Williams fired
    By Emily Smith and Kenneth Garger
    February 5, 2015 | 11:05pm

    Tom Brokaw (right) is livid over the revelation that Brian Williams lied about being in a chopper that was hit by an RPG in Iraq.
    Photo: AP

    You know you’re in trouble when Tom Brokaw is out for your blood.

    NBC’s most revered journalist is furious that Brian Williams is still in the anchor chair after he sheepishly admitted he hadn’t traveled on a helicopter hit by enemy fire.

    “Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter,” an NBC source said. “He is making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.”

    On Wednesday, Williams, 55, acknowledged that he had repeatedly said he was aboard a chopper that had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during a 2003 reporting trip to Iraq, when he was actually safely traveling in a different aircraft.



    Brokaw, 74, was still the “Nightly News” anchor when Williams came back from his Iraq expedition — and an insider said he knew the story Williams later spouted was bunk.

    “Tom Brokaw and [former NBC News President] Steve Capus knew this was a false story for a long time and have been extremely uncomfortable with it,” the source said.

    NBC News execs had counseled him to stop telling the tale.

    Williams still took the anchor’s seat for his “Nightly News” broadcast Thursday evening — and was working at 30 Rock all day despite calls for his dismissal. He didn’t address the issue during the broadcast.

    Tom Brokaw wants Brian Williams fired | Page Six
    Last edited by dougie; February 6th, 2015 at 10:30 AM.

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    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I find him to be sincere and trustworthy. This one story will not change my opinion.

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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    I agree.
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    I don't know how you can "mistake" whether or not you were on a helicopter that was shot down. He lied. He is now dancing around that fact with rhetoric. Own the lie Brian and maybe I'll trust you again, but I have zero respect for someone who can't simply come out and truly apologize for what he did, which is lie.

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    I guess I'm just trying to understand why he lied about it in the first place and then apparently kept talking about it over the years. And even lied about it in that ceremony (which finally led to the uncovering of the lie?) Is it just a case of him being so self-important that he believes his own crap after all this time? Did the story just get so big that he couldn't back down from it? It's just weird to me. If there was a lie about me like that, I think I'd be trying to downplay it in the hopes it would go away and wouldn't be exposed.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    here's a tip- save your made up war stories for when you're having drinks with the fellas. they usually know they're bullshit anyway.
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    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzyGirl View Post
    Hmmm. I find him to be sincere and trustworthy. This one story will not change my opinion.
    I don't agree. He was caught and if he did it once who knows what other "mistaken" stories he filed?

    Even for the paltry journalism school classes I had, reporting was hard. I can see how there is incredible pressure to come up with a story that wows.

    Making it up is easy. Doing real reporting, REAL, professional reporting is hard. I can especially see how other journalists would be pissed at this--so many work hard to file legitimate stories while some journo who happens to be a network anchor gets to make shit up? No.
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    Elite Member llamamama's Avatar
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    He said recently that he no longer drinks because he doesn't want to miss breaking stories. Now I'm thinking that Brian Williams is a "friend of Bill W" and that possibly due to his past alcohol abuse he really thought that it happened. Because it flies in the face of reason that he would purposely lie about something like that, there were so many other people involved. So there, that's my theory!

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    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    There is no fucking way you'd forget it or get confused about being in a helicopter hit by enemy fire.
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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    I like the guy. I barely watch the news but when I do I watch him. I kind of DGAF he embellished this.
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    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    It's not that I am saying forget it... I'm saying I truly think he tries to get it right, and yeah, screwed this one up. I'm not going to crucify him for that. If it turns out many stories are highly embellished Ill revisit my opinion.

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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beeyotch View Post
    There is no fucking way you'd forget it or get confused about being in a helicopter hit by enemy fire.
    One of the pilots of the helicopter also "remembered" being hit. Then he changed his story too.

    I was supporting him but now people are out for blood. People from CBS are putting out stories that he also embellished reporting from New Orleans during huricane Katrina when he saw a body floating by from a high floor at the French Quarter. I'm sure they all embellish to make the story better, but just how much is acceptable. Apparantly Tom Brokow wants him fired.
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    czb
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    liar liar chinook NOT on fire

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    Elite Member llamamama's Avatar
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    He was drunk, I tell ya!! "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

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