Brian Williams: Scam News Man - The Complete Story

Brian Williams: Scam News Man
Did he also help raise the flag at Iwo Jima?

You count on the news programs to be honest and accurate in reporting the news, so you can make decisions that affect your families life, both daily and long term. But can we trust the news media? Increasingly the answer seems to be no, as learn and more newsmen making up the news.

In this case, the subject is Brian Williams, NBC News anchor.

What was the original story?

Williams and NBC have been claiming falsely for years that, during the 2003 Iraq invasion, Williams was aboard a U.S. Army helicopter that was hit and forced down by rocket-propelled grenades.

Williams told viewers �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.� The accompanying video showed a severely damaged helicopter, and implied that Williams had been on the helicopter when it was shot. Mr. Williams also told the same story in detail to David Letterman in 2013.

The truth

Unfortunately, this story simply wasn't true. Appreantly, both Williams and those present on the aircraft agree that his helicopter wasn't hit.

The apology

Brian Williams apologized (see video here) on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, for claiming he had been on a helicopter that was shot down by ground fire in Iraq in 2003.

While Mr. Williams was with a soldier at a New York Rangers game. The PA announcer at the stadium explained to the crowd that �U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Tim Terpak was responsible for the safety of Brian Williams and his NBC News team after their Chinook helicopter was hit and crippled by enemy fire� during the invasion of Iraq.

The soldier received a standing ovation from the crowd. However, on Facebook, where NBC posted a video of the story, one commenter, Lance Reynolds, posted "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.� The military newspaper Stars and Stripes  identified Mr. Reynolds as the flight engineer on the helicopter. He and other crew members told Stars and Stripes that Mr. Williams was not in their helicopter that had been shot down, but in one that arrived an hour later.

On Wednesday, Mr. Williams, the news anchor, replied on Facebook and admitted that he had made a mistake, ad,itting that he was not in an aircraft hit by ground fire, but instead was in a following aircraft. On the evening news, he said, �This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not. I hope they know they have my greatest respect and also now my apology.�

But the apology raises more questions

What else did Brian Williams exaggerate, like his reporting after Hurricane Katrina. In a 2006 interview with Michael Eisner, Williams said, �When you look out of your hotel room window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh in Indonesia and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country. I beat that storm. I was there before it arrived. I rode it out with people who later died in the Superdome.�
But several news outlets reporting from the French Quarter have noted that the neighborhood saw little flooding.
So that raises more questions, like, did Williams actually see a body float by from the window of his five-star hotel room? What can you believe, when he is speaking?

Bottom Line: Can you trust Brian Williams?

No, especially since his "apology" is very half-hearted, still seems like an exaggeration, and military personel who were present say there are lies even within his apology. Other journalis are critical of Williams:

  • Fox News analyst, Howard Kurtz, "The admission raises serious questions about his credibility in a business that values that quality above all else."
  • CNN's �New Day,� host Chris Cuomo: "the fog of war" isn't an acceptible excuse
  • USA Today, Rem Rieder, "It's hard to see how Williams gets past this, and how he survives as the face of NBC News.�

Additional References:

  1. NBC News - Brian Williams Apology (video)
  2. The New York Times; With an Apology, Brian Williams Digs Himself Deeper in Copter Tale
  3. Fox News's Bill O�Reilly: Brian Williams �not a bad man�
  4. Brian Williams Exaggerates About What Actually Happened in Katrina



For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.