This Brian Williams mess is just growing is size. It’s really bad, you guys. On Wednesday, Brian Williams apologized on air on the NBC Nightly News. He apologized for “misremembering” a story he had told literally dozens of times in the past 12 years: he had always claimed that in 2003, when he was covering the Iraq War in Iraq that his Chinook had come under RPG fire. He always told the story as a way to explain his friendships with some military men. Except that when some military personnel who were in Iraq at the time started to contradict his story, he claims he simply “misremembered” the event. Stars & Stripes has a lengthy take-down of Williams’ story here.
The fallout from Williams’ admission has been swift and terrible. Social media has been having a field day, with #BrianWilliamsMisremembers trending on Twitter, and every conservative blowhard has luxuriated in the schadenfreude of “liberal” NBC getting a pounding. But it’s more serious than that. People are going through all of Brian’s public statements and it looks like he might have always had a difficult relationship with the truth.
More heroic tales of Brian Williams‘ adventures in journalism are being questioned. The NBC news anchor… is being called out for possibly lying about his experience covering Hurricane Katrina, according to a report. Williams claimed to have gotten dysentery from drinking flood water and seeing dead bodies float past his hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter while covering Hurricane Katrina.
However the The New Orleans Advocate noted that the French Quarter was not flooded and quoted a local health expert who did not recall anyone getting such a stomach ailment. Williams recalled his bout with the bug in interview with Tom Brokaw last year, when he said: “I accidentally ingested some of the floodwater. I became very sick with dysentery.”
The Advocate said a public health official never heard of people getting things like dysentery after the storm.
“I don’t recall a single, solitary case of gastroenteritis during Katrina or in the whole month afterward,” Dr. Brobson Lutz told The Advocate. “I don’t know anybody that’s tried that [drinking flood water] to see, but my dogs drank it, and they didn’t have any problems.”
Williams said also during an interview in 2006 that he saw dead bodies float past his window in the French Quarter.
“When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country,” Williams said in 2006. But the French Quarter, the original high ground of New Orleans, was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city, The Advocate said.
He also said in his Brokaw interview: “Our hotel was overrun with gangs, I was rescued in the stairwell of a five-star hotel in New Orleans by a young police officer. We are friends to this day.”
Yeah, it’s bad. I think Williams might have been able to survive a scandal if it was just ONE misremembered story (he would have come out it battered and bruised, but he would have come out it), but this has given critics an excuse to go over EVERY story and if there’s a pattern of misremembered stories, then he’s out of a job. Fantasists and liars don’t get to be network news anchors. Sorry not sorry.
Meanwhile, Page Six (an outlet with an extreme hate-on for all things NBC) has a massive insider-y story about how NBC has bungled this whole thing and Tom Brokaw is telling everyone that Williams must go. A source claims “Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter…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.” That’s actually true. Sources also say Brokaw knew Williams’ story was a lie a long time ago and he was “extremely uncomfortable with it.” Another source claims that Williams isn’t even well-liked among NBC News staffers. The source claims Williams is “a real pompous piece of sh-t” and “an a—hole… He’s not a journalist. He’s a reader.”
Thus far, Williams is not being suspended or reprimanded in any way and NBC staffers are in a “panic” according to Page Six. You know what? If people keep Truth Squading Williams’ public statements, I’m sure they’ll find something else. And then he’ll be out.
Update: NBC News says that Williams is now under investigation. It sounds like it’s an internal, in-house NBC News investigation. Also, the people who were originally involved in the 2003 Chinook incident in Iraq have some weirdly contradicting memories – Politico tries to sum up the situation here.
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