NBC’s longtime respected nightly news anchor Brian Williams is getting buried under the avalanche of public criticism for falsely reporting that the helicopter he was flying in (and reporting from) came under heavy artillery fire during the Iraq War in 2003.
Back then, Williams, 55, told the public that his helicopter was hit by surface-to-air gunfire that forced the chopper to land. In truth, Williams was safe in another helicopter that was behind it and was never hit.
The problem is that Williams repeated that lie for the past decade and even appeared on the likes of “David Letterman” to recount that story.
“We were in some helicopters. What we didn’t know was, we were north of the invasion. We were the northernmost Americans in Iraq,” he told the late night host back in 2003. “We were going to drop some bridge portions across the Euphrates so the Third Infantry could cross on them. Two of the four helicopters were hit, by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47.”
With egg splattered on his face, Williams was forced to recant that story, but only after being exposed and blasted by Army flight crews who transported Williams that fateful day in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
“I want to apologize,” Williams said on Wednesday night’s broadcast of NBC Nightly News. “I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”
Complicating matters, and exacerbating the scandal for Williams, after he finally issued a mea culpa for falsely reporting the story for 12 years,the apology seemed just as disingenuous as the original story he originally told of his experience of the war in the Middle Eastern desert, according to the Army flight crew and other military servicemen.
Social media users stampeded onto Twitter and Instagram and trampled the embattled veteran journalist and award-winning anchor.
Take a look at what they had to say.