Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Brian Williams: Big, Fat Liar

 

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.

There are 54 comments.

  1. DocJay Inactive

    Stolen Valor. What a shameless piece of trash.

    • #1
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:11 PM PST
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  2. MarciN Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: 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.

    Or be the next Secretary of State.

    • #2
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:14 PM PST
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  3. Probable Cause Inactive

    Well, when you view your day job as pushing a (progressive, racial, whatever) narrative, then it’s a thin line to cross to push a personal narrative.

    • #3
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:19 PM PST
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  4. DocJay Inactive

    Brian Williams

    • #4
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:22 PM PST
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  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    No not lied, the article says he “misremembered”.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

    Taking enemy fire and being forced to land because your helicopter was hit and having an uneventful flight into the desert are practically the same thing. You, of course, can see how someone could confuse the two, right? No, me neither.

    • #5
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:31 PM PST
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  6. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon,

    A herd of albino chickens gently sucked up all the air…yeah that’s the ticket.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:56 PM PST
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  7. FightinInPhilly Thatcher

    I’m always curious in this situation if the liar told the lie because it represented “a ” truth (a chopper WAS shot down, it could have been mine) and figured the story was just better if told in the first person.

    And then I always wonder, how did they think they’d get away with it?

    • #7
    • February 4, 2015, at 5:56 PM PST
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  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And when he’d not flying combat missions he plays center field for the Boston Red Sox.

    Willams

    • #8
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:06 PM PST
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  9. Max Ledoux Admin

    I met Brian Williams. He told me a story of being in a helicopter that was hit by a defective RPG.

    I’m not making this up. I was a real estate agent in New York City, working as the assistant to a broker. The broker sold an apartment to Brian’s daughter Allison’s boyfriend. (Funny sidestory, that transaction took place just before Girls first aired on HBO. I had met them once but not spent as much time with them as my boss had, when my boss told me about how Allison was an actor and had “landed the first roll she auditioned for” and wasn’t that amazing? I was duly impressed. (Who wouldn’t be?) A week or so later, I saw in Page Six of the NY Post “NBC’s Brian Williams attends premiere of daughter Allison’s new HBO show.” And there’s a picture of Brian Williams with Allison, who was our client’s girlfriend. So I say to my boss, “Hey, did you know that Allison’s father is Brian?” thinking that he would be surprised. “Yeah,” he said. “Wait,” I said. “You knew that?” And he said, all non-chalant, “Yeah.” So I said, “Well don’t you think it’s less impressive that she got cast on her first audition out of college?”) So anyway, at one point we’re in my boss’s car and it somehow happens that we were driving Brian back to 30 Rock. Just Brian, my boss, and me. And it was a little awkward for a moment because no one was speaking.

    So we’re in my boss’s car, a Mercedes 500E, and Brian says, to break the silence, “You know, Saddam had two of these.”

    And then he launched into telling us about how he flew into Baghdad in 2003 and his helicopter got hit by an RPG. And the helicopter put the pilot on the ground really fast and everyone tumbled out as quickly as they could.

    I seem to remember that he also told us that Saddam had copies of Die Hard DVDs, and that the Marines had defecated on the floor on Saddam’s bedroom.

    But since we’re talking about faulty memories, I’ll only stand by the firm memory that he told the story about him being in the helicopter that was hit by an RPG when he was alone in a car with two people that he didn’t know, just to pass the time.

    I thought he was kind of charming. It’s sort of disheartening to learn he now admits he made up that story.

    • #9
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:06 PM PST
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  10. Yeah...ok. Inactive

    I’m the tortoise in that tortoise – hare story.

    The fix was in from the start. Me and the jackalope made a killing in Vegas betting on me.

    • #10
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:16 PM PST
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  11. Calvin Coolidg Inactive

    The only thing he left out was that prior to being shot at, he was with Geraldo Rivera in Al Capone’s vault and it was full of leprechauns and heart shaped lollipops.

    • #11
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:21 PM PST
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  12. Profile Photo Member

    Brian Williams used to host a news review show on cable. When alleged Clinton sex partner Susan McDougal was released from jail after serving jail time for contempt of court, Williams quoted Reagan official Ray Donavan, who said upon being acquitted, “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” That he thought these two situations were comparable, it doesn’t surprise me he is none too credible.

    • #12
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:22 PM PST
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  13. Max Ledoux Admin

    I just emailed my former boss: “Hey, remember when Brian Williams told us about being in Iraq? What did he say about the helicopter?”

    I guess either way he lied at the Ranger’s game, but I’m actually hoping that I’m misremembering now and that in the car, alone, he told us the truth.

    • #13
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:23 PM PST
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  14. Max Ledoux Admin

    Calvin Coolidg:The only thing he left out was that prior to being shot at, he was with Geraldo Rivera in Al Capone’s vault and it was full of leper cons and heart shaped lollipops.

    Convicts who have leprosy?

    • #14
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:25 PM PST
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  15. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “It depends on what the meaning of the words, The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq, when the helicopter we were travelling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG. Our travelling NBC news team was rescued and kept alive by an Armored Mechanized Platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry’ is.”

    • #15
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:34 PM PST
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  16. Calvin Coolidg Inactive

    Max Ledoux, Admin:

    Convicts who have leprosy?

    Is that we he told you?

    • #16
    • February 4, 2015, at 6:47 PM PST
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  17. Profile Photo Member

    I think the tactic he used in the linked video is beyond smug.

    He gets a not-real-terrific anonymous question about whether the news is being reported fairly.

    He responds by saying he has a friend who now has titanium legs and another friend who is recovering from injuries suffered while reporting from Iraq, so what do you think they’re doing?

    This, of course, is a non sequitur. Getting injured while doing reporting tells us that you had the courage to step into a war zone and suffered trying to do your work. It tells us nothing about whether you do your work with integrity.

    I’m not saying the questioner was necessarily right (I have no idea of the context). But that response was not intended to answer the questioner so much as to create an aggressive sneer at the very idea that such a question should ever have to be responded to.

    There’s a reason the media is distrusted, and it’s not because everyone who raises an eyebrow is a kook.

    • #17
    • February 4, 2015, at 7:13 PM PST
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  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A thing like this could cause NBC News’ credibility to take a hit, if it had any. Really dodged a bullet there.

    • #18
    • February 4, 2015, at 8:08 PM PST
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  19. Paul J. Croeber Inactive

    Max, I’m surprised the claims made weren’t more grandiose and heroic given the confines of a business relationship or a car for that matter.

    • #19
    • February 4, 2015, at 8:34 PM PST
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  20. Barfly Member

    Of course he’s a liar – he’s of the left.

    What stands out to me is the degree to which he’s internalized his fictional heroism. He read a question about the media’s performance and its effect on public trust. He answered it with a lengthy non-sequitur of their courage and sacrifice. He actually believes he and other journalists are courageous beyond the soldiers they talk about, and deserve special consideration for their nobility.

    That is a stunning consideration. Imagine the world Williams must inhabit, that permits one with such delusion to function at a high level.

    • #20
    • February 4, 2015, at 9:03 PM PST
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  21. James Lileks Contributor

    Meh. Bush. Plastic turkey. So it’s all equal now.

    • #21
    • February 4, 2015, at 9:03 PM PST
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  22. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    “Thanks Brian Williams for going 1st. Now I’d like to recant my 1990-1994 marriage to Roseanne. Never happened but war messes with your head.” — Tom Arnold

    • #22
    • February 4, 2015, at 9:05 PM PST
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  23. KC Mulville Inactive

    The person who imagines that he delivers the news objectively, without bias, has just been forced to admit that he told an inaccurate story because of his own involvement and desire to burnish his credentials with tales of heroism.

    Sometimes with an addict, you have to hold a mirror to his decrepit reality, and force him to see what he really looks like, and not the fantasy he imagines himself to be.

    • #23
    • February 4, 2015, at 9:16 PM PST
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  24. Totus Porcus Inactive

    I would love to see EJ Hill do a photoshop of Hillary reaching her hand out of a circling C-130 to pull Brian Williams from a flaming helicopter.

    • #24
    • February 4, 2015, at 9:27 PM PST
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  25. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Did I ever tell you about the time I “almost died in a plane crash”?

    My future brother-in-law was at the San Francisco airport waiting to board his outbound flight when the inbound Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed into the sea wall. We drove to the terminal about an hour later to pick him up because all flights were canceled. Nobody understands what it’s like to be a survivor until you’ve lived through what I’ve lived through.

    • #25
    • February 4, 2015, at 9:51 PM PST
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  26. Tommy De Seno Contributor

    I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. I might mix that up with lunch from the day prior.

    But whether my helicopter was shot down or I saw some other guy’s helicopter an hour after it was shot down – I couldn’t confuse those even 12 years later.

    Brian Williams High School, Matre Dei recently announced that it is closing the end of this semester.

    Brian is noted as the High School’s most prominent alumnus. Now I have to check if he really went there.

    http://www.app.com/story/news/local/monmouth-county/2015/02/04/mater-dei-prep-brian-williams-save-seraphs/22844601/

    • #26
    • February 4, 2015, at 10:30 PM PST
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  27. Profile Photo Member

    I’m interested in the crew. Williams doesn’t merely say he was on that copter. He says he and his news crew were on that copter. Who was on that crew? What have they been saying about this story all this time? Seems to me that there’s a whole lot of codependency there to go around. Shouldn’t be too hard to determine the names of the individuals — they would, at any rate, be on the flight manifest.

    • #27
    • February 4, 2015, at 11:05 PM PST
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  28. Scott Abel Inactive

    Another tale to check out?

    Brian Williams Told Similar Story in Katrina About Cop ‘Rescuing’ Him From Gangs

    • #28
    • February 5, 2015, at 12:14 AM PST
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  29. Neva Inactive

    But his voice is so earnest and truthy on those g—amn Nightly News ads.

    I’ve almost broken my TV several times!

    • #29
    • February 5, 2015, at 1:04 AM PST
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  30. Profile Photo Member

    I also hear that- after a terrible and arduous journey- he dropped the Ring of Power into Mount Doom, saving us all from Sauron and an eternity of horror and tyranny.

    We should be thankful to him for that at least, even if all his other claims are false.

    • #30
    • February 5, 2015, at 1:30 AM PST
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