Ed Driscoll

NBC's Brian Williams Admits He 'Misremembered' Being in Helicopter Shot Down in Iraq

“And now, NBC Nighty News with your hosts, Brian Williams and Baron Munchausen,” John Hayward quips on Twitter. “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,” Stars & Stripes reports today:

Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

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.”

Williams made the claim while presenting NBC coverage of the tribute to the retired command sergeant major at the Rangers game, and the fans giving the soldier a standing ovation.

No word yet if Sinbad, Sheryl Crow and Hillary Clinton were also onboard when the attack didn’t occur:

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When Williams replaced Tom Brokaw on the NBC Nightly News, he was sold to the American public in 2004 by his then boss, Jeff Zucker (now in charge at CNN) with a lie: “No one understands this NASCAR nation more than Brian,” Zucker told USA Today, despite knowing that Williams was a cast-in-the-mold reactionary “liberal.” The following year, Williams compared America’s Founding Fathers to terrorists; in 2010 he would have a severe case of the vapors over the Tea Party while praising “the Clinton economy.”

So it’s not surprising that Williams himself is fabulist; it comes with the territory at NBC, its subsidiary networks, and the politicians they fawn over nightly.

Update: “‘Even lying in his apology’: Brian Williams slammed after recanting personal story about RPG attack in Iraq,” Twitchy reports:

Williams tells Stars & Stripes, “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.” Blogger Ace of Spades assists the befuddled anchorman in understanding what happened:

Let me help you out here, Brian. You conflated one aircraft — one you were in — with another aircraft — one you were not in — not due to a “mistake” but due to an age-old reportorial practice called lying to advance an agenda.

The agenda here was dressing up a soft, delicate little boy into a the sort of iron-stubbled man who looks like he belongs on a battlefield.

So you lied. You claimed you were on one of the helicopters that took fire; no human being could ever confuse “Me” or “Not Me.”

Steven Wright makes just that joke — “The other day I was — wait, no, that was someone else.”

See, Brian, it’s funny because we know that confusion about “Me” versus “Not Me” is not possible, except in the insane.

So you lied, and over the years you’ve lied and lied again.

Trust us, they lied.

I was curious if there were any photos of Williams on the battlefield, Dan Rather-style, so I typed in the words Brian Williams and Helmet into Google Images. Look what came up near the top:


That’s from Time magazine’s ten questions for “Newsman Brian Williams” piece from 2010, which appears to no longer be online, except for the above photo. But it seems like Williams was evidently still playing on his helicopter adventures seven years after they didn’t occur, and Time-Warner-CNN-HBO was more than happy to play along, much like Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings helped Dan Rather keep up the charade.

Update: In 2007 at a Newsweek forum, Williams sounded like the second coming of Lee Ermey when asked about his adventures in Iraq:

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And here’s video of Williams lying about the helicopter attack with David Letterman in 2013.

Mediaite has the video of Williams “apologizing” tonight on his NBC news program about his repeatedly-told lie – and his apology itself contains a lie; Williams acts as if he was following directly behind the helicopter hit by an RPG, when Star & Stripes reports “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.”

As Mediaite notes, Williams described his serial fabulism as a “bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran,” a variation on the “botched joke” get out of jail free card that the left have employed for years. But as at least one person asked on Twitter tonight, how would Williams react if a politician attempted this same defense?

A Republican politician*, that is. (“Or a Fox anchor,” Noah Pollak of Commentary adds.)

By the way, a reminder from Iowahawk that Williams is far from the worst serial fabulist that NBC has on their payroll. Given MSNBC’s ratings woes, perhaps the two could swap channels:

* When confronted by a fellow Democrat fabulist, Williams merely bows in his exulted presence.