NBC’s Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted on his February 4th newscast that, contrary to what he’s previously said, he and his news crew were never on a helicopter shot down in Iraq in 2003 while covering the invasion of Iraq.
Williams’ original story, told several times on national television shows since 2003, described being aboard a 159th Aviation Regiment Chinook military helicopter when it came under enemy fire in Iraq. Most notably, in 2013 Williams appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and retold the false story. He clearly states that he was in an American Chinook military helicopter over northern Iraq when it came under attack. In this harrowing account, he describes the bravery of the troops involved and the emotions he experienced after the event.
More recently, Williams told his story on his own television show, the Nightly News, after he appeared at a hockey game with an Iraq war veteran. The hockey team was honoring the vet’s service at the game, which Williams also noted in his coverage of the event. The veteran was supposedly present at the time the Chinook carrying Williams allegedly went down.
However, after this was aired on the Nightly News, service members who were with Williams and in Iraq at the time of the supposed incident took to his show’s Facebook page to say that the story is inaccurate. Williams, they said, was on another helicopter in Iraq that flew in after the damaged Chinook landed. Williams and his news crew viewed the incident’s aftermath and saw the attack on a video later, but their helicopter was unharmed and landed safely.
Recognizing the error, Williams responded on the Facebook post thread where at least five separate veterans contradicted Williams’ story.
The news anchor retracted the story and apologized to everyone involved, saying “I feel terrible about making the mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08… I think the constant viewing of the video showing us [the news crew] inspecting the area — and the fog of my memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.”
Williams then publicly apologized during his Nightly News show for the misinformation, claiming that he “misremembered” the events surrounding the attack on the Chinook military helicopter.
This statement has started the trending Twitter hashtag #BrianWilliamsMisremembers, where Twitter users are poking fun at Williams’ questionable mea culpa. What do you think? Do you believe Williams’ apology?