Brian Williams, the $10 million-per-year NBC News anchor, has already been placed on a six-month unpaid suspension for apparently fibbing about his experiences while covering the Iraq War in 2003. Now, a series of newly discovered exaggerations and seeming fabrications by Williams are coming to light, the latest revealed Thursday in a report by CNN Money.
Williams also canceled an appearance on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman on February 12, and has reportedly been banned by his employer from speaking publicly.
The new revelations concern Williams supposed experiences at the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and his supposed meeting with Pope John Paul II 10 years before that, when Williams was still an undergraduate.
If verified, the new revelations would show that Williams’ pattern of making up tall tales about his own supposedly extraordinary experiences extends back farther than previously believed.
According to the CNN Money report, Williams has repeatedly told a story of being present “at the Brandenburg Gate the night the wall came down.” He told the story during a 2008 forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
As recently as November of last year, Williams — who was a reporter for WCBS TV in New York in 1989 — said that “25 years ago tonight, Tom Brokaw and I were at the Berlin Wall.”
But Brokaw was widely known to be the only anchor from an American network on the scene November 9, 1989, when the 28-year-old wall that divided democratic west Berlin from Communist East Germany — perhaps the most stark and identifiable symbol of the Cold War — was demolished.
While Williams and other American reporters are known to have arrived at least 12 hours later, by that time most of the wall had already come down, though Williams likely saw at least some of the dismantling.
CNN Money spoke to an NBC source, who told the site that “Brian arrived the day after the wall came down.”
On other occasions, Williams has acknowledged that Brokaw beat him to the Berlin Wall by about 12 hours.
The site also uncovered a story told repeatedly by Brian Williams in which he claimed to have shaken the hand of Pope John Paul II in 1979 during a papal visit to Catholic University in Washington D.C.
But in Williams’ original telling of the tale, from 2002, he claimed only to have helped with preparations for the pope’s visit, and was simply “there” when Pope John Paul II arrived on campus.
But in 2004, Brian Williams changed that story, too. He delivered a commencement address at his alma mater, and told students that 25 years earlier he “was in this very doorway, shaking hands with the Holy Father during his visit to this campus.”
[Image: Monica Schipper/Getty Images]