A review of NBC anchorman Brian Williams’ journalistic exploits has put a number to his fibs. So far, the tally stands at 11 different occasions he fell short of telling the whole truth, and the investigation isn’t done.
In an interesting twist, it appears that the NBC News staff was aware of Williams’ fibbing — they even pointed out specific incidents for in-house investigators to look deeper into, the New York Times reported.
These include the lie that first unraveled Williams’ position as NBC anchorman and led to his suspension — a 2003 incident in Iraq in which Brian claimed he was in a helicopter damaged by rocket fire.
But now, the public can add these lies to their laundry list: a missile attack on a different helicopter in Iraq in 2006; the story about how he got a piece of the helicopter that crashed during the assassination of Osama bin Laden; and one during his reporting of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon in 2006.
That last lie also centered around a helicopter; Brian apparently told a student-run TV station in Connecticut that rockets passed “just beneath” one he was riding in during the conflict. However, he told a different account in a blog, the Washington Post added.
But the investigation has also turned up a brand-new fib, and this one involved his reports from Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. By Williams’ account, which he told to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show in February of 2011, he was right in the thick of things. Turns out, he was most likely watching from a balcony overlooking the square.
As Brian’s on-air fabrication went, he was amid the violent clashes between protestors and a pro-government group, riding on horses and camels. He claimed he made eye contact with one of these men on a horse, and then said the man used a whip on protestors.
“Yeah, he went around the corner after I saw him, they pulled out whips and started beating human beings on the way.”
So what does all this mean for Brian Williams? So far, no one is really giving any details about potential repercussions for the beleaguered anchorman. According to CNN, these 11 instances were discussed at a meeting Thursday, which may suggest a decision is imminent, although their probe into Williams’ reporting isn’t yet finished. His suspension ends in August.
The review of Brian’s body of work “may be a form of leverage — to either say that Williams has been cleared of further embellishing, or that he’s too damaged to return to the Nightly News,” CNN added.
The public may never known the depth to which the anchorman they trusted for 10 years lied during his reporting of crucial world events: The findings may remain secret as part of a severance agreement with the journalist.
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