Ed Driscoll

Brian Williams' Lies Didn't Happen in a Corporate Vacuum

“Over a Decade, a Reporter’s War Story Grew Ever More Dramatic,” Ad Week reports:

In Williams’ original telling of the story, his helicopter lands without drama–or danger. “Suddenly, without knowing why, we learn we’ve been ordered to land in the desert,” Williams says. “On the ground, we learn the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky.” The crew aboard that helicopter, Williams reported, were took shaken to talk about the incident on camera.

But years later, Williams told a far more dramatic version of the story to David Letterman. “Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one that I was in,” Williams said. “RPG and AK-47.” Letterman asks Williams “what happens the minute everyone realizes you’ve been hit,” and Williams–whose grasp of detail despite a decade having passed includes the elevation and airspeed of the Chinook–describes a nervy emergency landing in the desert. “We landed very quickly, and hard…We got hit, we set down, everyone was okay. Our captain took a Purple Heart injury to his ear in the cockpit.”

It was that harrowing version of the story that led some veterans to post comments to the “Nightly News” Facebook page, openly–and pointedly–questioning Williams. “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. Then I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your ‘war story’ to the Nightly News.”

The Hollywood Reporter adds another telling of the story:

Fox News also points out that Williams penned an account of the false story on the Nightly News blog back in 2008: “We came under fire by what appeared to be Iraqi farmers with RPG’s and AK-47’s. The Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”

Both links via John Nolte of Big Journalism, who adds that Williams’ lies didn’t happen in a corporate vacuum:

Williams’ 12 year lie is a disaster for the anchor and for the network that made him the face of its news division. Obviously no one at NBC News bothered to check a story that was just too good to check. Worse, this will only compound the credibility and ratings issues that have damaged the NBC News brand for a few years now.

Just a few months ago, NBC News Chief Medical Correspondent Nancy Snyderman was caught violating her Ebola quarantine. During the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman uproar NBC News was caught editing a 9-1-1 call to make Zimmerman look racist. During the 2012 presidential election Andrea Mitchell was caught fabricating a Mitt Romney gaffe.

For the last few years, NBC News has perpetrated one fraud after another on the American people.

If CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, who has a huge credibility issue of his own, is any indication of how the left-wing intelligentsia will react to Williams’ 12 year lie, the wagons are already being circled:

To follow-up on our initial post about Williams, would Stelter write anything similar if a GOP congressman or Fox News anchor had been caught lying, particularly about a wartime attack? But then, Stelter works for a network whose former CEO Eason Jordan was also a serial Iraq War fabulist, resigning in 2005 after being caught at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland claiming that “he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted.” The previous year, the London Guardian quoted Jordan as saying, “The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the U.S. military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by U.S. forces.”

After quoting Stelter and a Politico journalist both immediately circling the wagons to protect Williams (ala Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings defending Dan Rather a month after Rathergate broke in 2004), “Democrats sure got it good,” Nolte adds. “But if you think about it, it makes sense for NBC to keep a serial stolen valor liar like Brian Williams as the face of its dishonest, fraudulent news division. Perfect sense.”

Exit quotes:

And speaking of NBC’s corporate culture, these links further place Williams into context: