NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has been under scrutiny this week for lying about being in a helicopter that was attacked in Iraq in 2003. Looking to get in on the media firestorm, the WWE had Paul Heyman go on the air Friday night on the WWE Network to cut a promo on Williams.
It came as a surprise on Friday afternoon when WWE announced on their WWE Network Twitter feed that Heyman would be cutting in to the Network’s programming live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern to weigh in on the Williams situation.
Heyman appeared live in WWE Studios and spoke directly to the camera. He proceeded to belittle the successful news anchor for just over four minutes, calling him a liar and an entertainer.
Williams originally came under scrutiny while remembering a story from the early days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It is a story that Williams has recalled more than once over the years, but the accounts have seemed to differ several times. Williams claimed that while traveling to Iraq for NBC, he was aboard a U.S. helicopter that was attacked by rocket-propelled grenade fire on March 24, 2003. Williams went on to remember that the helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing. It was quickly pointed out that while telling the story earlier in his career, Williams had said he was in a helicopter behind the one that was attacked.
Brian Williams officially re-canted his story on February 4, and he issued an apology to crew members that were part of the attacks this week on his NBC Nightly News broadcast. Williams claimed that he made an innocent mistake in trying to recall an event that was 12 years ago, but many people in the media have been critical of whether or not the mistake was an innocent one or deliberate. Williams still maintains that he was indeed part of the group of helicopters that was attacked, but he acknowledges it was not his chopper that was fired upon.
It turns out that crew members from the helicopters that were attacked that day remembered a much different story. They recalled that Brian Williams was not part of the helicopter envoy in question, and they went on to state that Williams arrived on the scene at least 30 minutes after the incident. Williams then went on to interview the men about what they had just been through.
In stepped Heyman. He started out the WWE Network segment talking about how everyone on earth is a liar, and he went on to mockingly say that lying isn’t always a bad thing. He said that Brian Williams has probably been lying for 53 years.
“Just because Brian Williams is a news caster doesn’t mean he should not be allowed to lie.”
Next, the WWE Network feed showed the footage of Williams recanting his story on NBC Nightly News. Heyman came back to note that Williams is an entertainer, and he said that anyone that is on television is an entertainer. Heyman said that Williams is a very successful liar, and he went on to patronize Williams by saying that Williams adheres to the old saying, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
The WWE motive in getting involved with this story is not clear. It could be that the company is looking to get some publicity while they story is still hot in the media, after all it is WrestleMania season. However, there is also a possibility that the move is politically motivated. Brian Williams has been accused by prominent Republicans of pushing a Democratic agenda. It’s no secret that Vince McMahon is a staunch Republican, so he could be using his WWE Network platform to take a punch at Williams during a moment of weakness.
[Image via Twitter]