NBC anchor Brian Williams had told his heroic narrative many times. It proved he wasn’t just some pampered talking head mouthing whatever words rolled up the teleprompter. He was also a seasoned war correspondent who selflessly put his life on the line for you, the American viewer.
Not only did Williams report from a hot zone, he claimed that he was almost killed doing it. Last week he again recounted his bravery to the dwindling Nightly News audience. “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq,” he said, “when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG. Our traveling NBC News team was rescued and kept alive by an Armored Mechanized Platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
Not since Hillary dodged sniper fire in Tuzla has there been such a gripping tale of civilian derring-do. Williams never used the word “hero,” but who is he to prevent you from granting him that title? Step aside, Chris Kyle, and give Brian of the Euphrates his due.
This just in — Williams made the whole thing up:
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years…
The admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.
“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams said. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”
You did choose to make this mistake, Brian. You lied, then repeated the lie again and again.
Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.
That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.
The whistleblowers were the actual crew of the targeted copter. They had first noted Williams’ false report in 2003 but kept quiet. But after 12 years of hearing Williams take credit for their hardship, they finally had enough.
“It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I’ve know how lucky I was to survive it,” said Lance Reynolds, who was the flight engineer. “It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.”
O’Keeffe said the incident has bothered him since he and others first saw the original report after returning to Kuwait.
“Over the years it faded,” he said, “and then to see it last week it was — I can’t believe he is still telling this false narrative.”
In a just world, Williams would be fired for this journalistic equivalent of stolen valor. Instead, he’ll probably get six awards at the next Newseum gala instead of seven.
Williams was asked in 2007 why the public should trust his reporting from Iraq. Wallow in the smugness of his answer.