NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has been caught in a lie. Williams’ defense is that he misremembered what happened, but don’t buy into that. Williams is just lying about lying.
Since March 2003, Williams has told several different stories recounting an event in Iraq in which a helicopter, one hour ahead of the one Williams was in, had to make an emergency landing after being struck by an RPG. His helicopter actually had an ordinary landing. Williams’ story has changed a lot since 2003. He has claimed to witness the helicopter in front of his get struck with the RPG. He has claimed to be in the helicopter that was struck. None of this is true. Brian Williams was trying to share an experience that was not his.
Hey, I’ve lied before. I do not have the platform Williams does though. There comes a higher level of integrity when being a nationally known journalist. He’s a human being though. I still respect Williams for coming forward, apologizing and admitting to his lies.
No, wait—he didn’t even do that. Williams brought the story to light again after bringing retired veteran Sgt. Maj. Tim Tepak to a New York Rangers hockey game two weeks ago. At the ceremony, Williams recalled the story, this time going with the version where he was in the helicopter. After being exposed by the people actually involved in the incident, Williams admitted he made a mistake recalling the events. Williams claimed his memory was fogged and he could not remember which helicopter he was on.
Seriously, you don’t remember if you were in the helicopter that got hit by a grenade or not? That is absolutely unbelievable. I refuse to believe he simply mixed up some facts. I would be able to distinguish if I was in a helicopter that was nearly blown out of the sky. Williams added, “In an effort to honor a veteran, I made a mistake.” Do you see what he did there? He played the veteran card. Good for him. Except he’s told the story a little differently over 14 times in the past 12 years. He can’t try to spin this into an isolated incident where the good he was doing overshadowed the ridiculous lie you told.
This is not a political debate. I don’t like seeing people play this off as if Williams did nothing wrong. I don’t like Jon Stewart brushing over the incident as an outlet to bash the media coverage of the War in Iraq. Williams needs to be held accountable. I lean left, but Williams and my fairly similar political beliefs are not a reason for me to come to his defense. He lied. Then he lied about lying. If you want to earn the trust of your audience back, Brian, the first step is to own up to your lie.
On Tuesday night, NBC announced they would be suspending Williams for six months without pay.