This report, about Brian Williams of the NBC Nightly News being suspended for six months without pay, was delayed because of an unfortunate incident. On the way to my office, a vehicle in which I wasn’t riding was involved in an accident while I wasn’t on the scene. I arrived about an hour after the accident occurred, got out to investigate and became confused. I couldn’t remember which car I had arrived in—one that was in the accident or one that wasn’t. Fortunately, a police officer directed me to the proper vehicle. It was the one that hadn’t been involved in the accident, but it might also have been the one that wasn’t hit by an RPG.
As for Mr. Williams, “Lyin’ in Brian” as he has become known, I was attempting to contact him, thinking he would be the perfect reporter to cover my story, when I learned of his suspension. The chief head-knockers at NBC apparently decided they could no longer ignore his transgressions nor could they cover them up as it was too late to have him take another helicopter flight and arrange for an RPG attack. A memo from NBC News President Deborah Turness stated,
We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.
Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.
While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.”
Although the memo recognizes Williams as a teller of stories that are false, it goes on to say, “Steve Burke asked me to share the following message.
This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.
Turness also stated that the investigation of Williams was ongoing. Kind of makes you want to jump on a helicopter, go pay Brian a visit, sit around the campfire and listen to other tall tales and “mismemories”.
Turness also stated that the investigation of Williams was ongoing. Kind of makes you want to jump on a helicopter, go pay Brian a visit, sit with him around a campfire, and ask him to spin a few more tall tales.
All sarcasm aside, the network brass and the millions of viewers who allegedly trust NBC News have to question whether Williams’ fabricated report of being shot down is an isolated incident or simply one of many fictitious reports.
Had Williams actually been on several helicopter flights, only one of which had been hit by an RPG, his misremembering would have been understandable. Twelve years after the fact, he could have easily forgotten whether it was the Tuesday or the Thursday flight that was forced to land. But never having been on a helicopter flight that was interrupted by an RPG strike and “remembering” being on one that had, indicates an outright attempt to be deceitful. Some people call that lying.
Odds are that the “ongoing investigation” will turn up other false reports. There are already rumblings that Williams reported seeing bodies floating along a street that was never flooded while he was covering Hurricane Katrina. The RPG attack that never happened appears to be just one of the stories Williams cooked up to promote himself as a swashbuckling hero.
Considering the fabricated nature of Williams’ “helicopter chronicles”, the network brass and the millions of viewers who allegedly trust NBC News have to question how many other stories Williams embellished to enhance his image. It certainly appears that the NBC peacock is sitting atop the tip of the proverbial iceberg.