A humiliated NBC news anchor Brian Williams has been forced to recant his claim that a helicopter he was flying in during the 2003 invasion of Iraq was hit and forced down by enemy fire. He has apologized.
NBC’s Nightly News anchor has often repeated his war story over the past 12 years and during a report on Friday, he went even further, saying that the helicopter he was on had actually been hit and that claim quickly prompted denials from soldiers who were present during the incident.
On Wednesday, Williams apologized on air during his NBC Nightly News bulletin, saying that he was “mistaken”. Later that same evening, Williams didn’t seem too worried about the anger he had caused, as he enjoyed a New York Rangers game with his good friend Tom Hanks.
Here is one occasion on which Brian Williams made his claim:
And here is Williams’ apology on Wednesday:
1. NBC news anchor Brian Williams has been forced to admit that he wasn’t aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by enemy fire during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
2. Williams appeared nonplussed about the scandal on Wednesday evening as he enjoyed a New York Rangers game with his good friend Tom Hanks.
Williams told Stars and Stripes:
I would not have chosen to make this mistake. I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.
Most recently, the NBC anchor had told his old war story on Friday when he presented a segment about a public tribute at a hockey game in New York for Command Sgt. Major Tim Terpack, a retired soldier who had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters. Williams said on Tuesday evening:
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.
Crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook which was hit by two rockets and small arms fire had told Stars and Stripes that Williams was nowhere near the aircraft or two other Chinooks that had been flying in formation when they took fire.
Crew members said that Williams arrived about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had already made an emergency landing.
3. The day after Williams’ report, one crew member responded to the story on NBC NIghtly News’ Facebook and said that he remembered things rather differently.
4. Another man, Joseph Miller, who claimed to be on Williams’ aircraft at the time said he had been ‘calling him out on this for a long time with no response’.
NBC Nightly News published Williams’ report on their Facebook page and on the next day Lance Reynolds, who says he was present during the incident responded to the story and wrote that he remembered things rather differently. He wrote:
Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened.
Another man, Joseph Miller, who said he was on Williams’ aircraft at the time said he had been “calling him out on this for a long time with no response”.
During his Nightly News broadcast on Wednesday evening, Williams said that his mistake was a “bungled attempt” to honor a soldier who had helped protect him. He said:
I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago. I want to apologize.
In a long Facebook post on Wednesday, the NBC anchor admitted his mistake, blaming it on the “fog of memory over 12 years”.
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.
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.
Williams went on to deny that he was “trying to steal anyone’s valor”.
5. Williams apologized on the air during Wednesday’s program and called his mistake a ‘bungled attempt’ to honor a soldier.
6. Williams denied that he was ‘trying to steal anyone’s valor’ in a lengthy message he posted on Facebook on Wednesday.
Source: Stars and Stripes.
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