Williams: Hey, my bad on that whole my-helicopter-was-hit-by-an-RPG thing, y’all

posted at 8:59 pm on February 4, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Well, it happens. Who hasn’t been in a helicopter hit by an RPG a few times? Er … Brian Williams, even though the anchor of NBC News has been telling that story for more than a decade.

But hey, Williams was telling the story to “honor and thank a veteran.” By lying about being under fire?

On this broadcast last week in an effort to honor and thank a veteran who had protected me and so many others after a ground fire incident in the desert during the Iraq invasion I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago, it did not take long to hear from some brave men and women and the aircrews who were also in that desert. I want to apologize, I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft. We all landed after the ground fire incident and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the Iraq desert. This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not. I hope they know they have my greatest respect and also now my apology.

So why apologize about it now? Turns out Stars and Stripes had found out the real story, from the veterans who were there:

Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.

That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.

“No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft,” he said Wednesday.

The helicopters, along with the NBC crew, remained on the ground at a forward operating base west of Baghdad for two or three days, where they were surrounded by an Army unit with Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams M-1 tanks.

Miller said he never saw any direct fire on the position from Iraqi forces.

The initial claim from Williams came almost immediately, but the veterans said they were shocked to hear him tell the same lie last week:

Miller, Reynolds and Mike O’Keeffe, who was a door gunner on the damaged Chinook, said they all recall NBC reporting that Williams was aboard the aircraft that was attacked, despite it being false. The NBC online archive shows the network broadcast a news story on March 26, 2003, with the headline, “Target Iraq: Helicopter NBC’s Brian Williams Was Riding In Comes Under Fire.”

Williams disputed Wednesday claims the initial reports were inaccurate, saying he originally reported he was in another helicopter but later confused the events. In a 2008 NBC blog post with his byline, he wrote that the “Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor.”

O’Keeffe said the incident has bothered him since he and others first saw the original report after returning to Kuwait.

“Over the years it faded,” he said, “and then to see it last week it was — I can’t believe he is still telling this false narrative.”

The real story began coming out last week on Facebook, and the follow-up from Stars and Stripes appears to have forced Williams’ hand. Let’s not forget that Williams and NBC News have been retelling this story for a dozen years. Matt Vespa points out in his Townhall post that Williams recounted it two years ago on Late Night with David Letterman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS3NAwZ4hGk

This isn’t “misremembering.” It’s a lie, coming from a man whose network has made him the face of their credibility. He took the experience of veterans who came under fire and appropriated it for himself. NBC News can certainly hire who it wants for its top newsreader and managing editor, but this will color every single report that Williams fronts from now on. Of course, this is the same news organization that runs MSNBC, so don’t hold your breath waiting for NBC execs to come to the rescue of their credibility.

By the way, as I mentioned on Twitter when this story broke, Robert Redford is currently making a movie that will argue that we should have trusted Dan Rather all along rather than ask questions about the stories he tells. Great timing, Robert.

Update: Williams’ Twitter account has no tweets, but Jeryl Bier says it’s not because he deleted them:

It is a verified Twitter account, but he only follows four others. Not sure why he bothers.

Update: The Hollywood Reporter notes the same 2008 blog post as Stars and Stripes found, with a similarly false story:

Five years before David Letterman, in 2008, Williams penned another account of the false story on the Nightly News blog: “Wayne and I were riding along as part of an Army mission to deliver bridge components to the Euphrates River, so that the invading forces of the 3rd Infantry could cross the river on their way to Bagdhad. We came under fire by what appeared to be Iraqi farmers with RPG’s and AK-47’s. The Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”

Update: A handy timeline of the lie, from T. Becket Adams:

https://twitter.com/BecketAdams/status/563162763392843777

Note too the extensive details that Williams “misremembers” in that Letterman appearance.

Update: TV Newser says that Williams’ story had become rather embellished over the years:

In Williams’ original telling of the story, his helicopter lands without drama–or danger. “Suddenly, without knowing why, we learn we’ve been ordered to land in the desert,” Williams says. “On the ground, we learn the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky.” The crew aboard that helicopter, Williams reported, were took shaken to talk about the incident on camera.

But years later, Williams told a far more dramatic version of the story to David Letterman. …

It was that harrowing version of the story that led some veterans to post comments to the “Nightly News” Facebook page, openly–and pointedly–questioning Williams. “Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened. Then I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your ‘war story’ to the Nightly News.”

How did being ordered to land–without knowing why–grow into a tale of gunfire, a hard landing, and a wounded pilot? Williams has only said “the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area–and the fog of memory over 12 years–made me conflate the two, and I apologize.”

Well, maybe. The veterans interviewed by Stars and Stripes make it pretty clear that they thought Williams and NBC News was lying from the start, though, and they were surprised that he was “still telling this false narrative.”

Update: In September 2004, Williams got introduced at an event with a description of the event similar to the earlier version — still false — noted by THR. It’s in all-caps at C-SPAN, so …

BRIAN BECAME THE FIRST NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT TO REACH BAGHDAD AFTER THE U.S. MILITARY INVASION OF THE CITY. HE WAS TRAVELING ON A U.S. ARMY CHINOOK HELICOPTER MISSION WHEN THE LEAD HELICOPTER WAS SHOT DOWN BY ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADES FIRE. HE SPENT TWO DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE IRAQI DESERT SOUTH OF NAJAF WITH AN ARMORED TANK PLATOON OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION THAT WAS PROVIDING PROTECTION FOR THEM.

Again, Williams showed up an hour after the helicopters hit by fire landed, and was not among them in flight. Tonight Williams admitted, “No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft.” He sat there and didn’t correct the record when he had the chance. (via Roland Blunt in the comments)


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Comments

Resist We Much on February 4, 2015 at 10:42 PM

May be too soon to tell, there was this tweet:

No. Explosion is from Rafah,pic of king from October 2014 #GoogleImageSearch

John the Libertarian on February 4, 2015 at 10:53 PM

Did you also know Brian Williams was the only one who survived at the Alamo..:):)

Dire Straits on February 4, 2015 at 10:48 PM

.
I’m also pretty sure he led TR up San Juan hill to break the backs of the Spaniards in Cuba… yessir, I remember that story!

ExpressoBold on February 4, 2015 at 11:00 PM

I like Brian but wow. I think this might end his career. We haven’t seen the end of this story methinks.

triple on February 4, 2015 at 11:06 PM

Sadly, it will likely all be smoothed over by another Jimmy Fallon video edited to make Williams look like he’s rapping a Snoop Dogg song. Along with Jimmy dropping a little extra slobber on Lyin’ Brian for good measure.

If not, then Williams will be able to spend a lot more time admiring the footage of his daughter bending over to get her deuce chute sucked on “Girls.” Wallow in that pride, Brian.

86 on February 4, 2015 at 11:16 PM

Resist We Much on February 4, 2015 at 9:50 PM

rotfl,I’m having an assma attack. I love you so much. No wonder Axe is twitterpated.

arnold ziffel on February 4, 2015 at 11:19 PM

“So after a few hours of sparring, I told George I’d take it easy on him from now on if he’d endorse this product I invented………………..
..and the Foreman Grill was born.”

Brian Williams

StubbornGreenBurros on February 4, 2015 at 11:19 PM

I once met Wolf Blitzer in the DFAC in Balad, Iraq and was interviewed by him wit h my commander. The weird thing is years later … I honestly remembered having my own nightly news show on CNN.

hawkdriver on February 4, 2015 at 11:19 PM

Epilogue: Hillary was flying his chopper and should get a Silver Star.

NoPain on February 4, 2015 at 11:24 PM

If he loses his job, can we somehow turn that into his daughter’s show getting canceled also?

Calas on February 4, 2015 at 11:28 PM

The American elite media is busy circling its wagons……

d1carter on February 4, 2015 at 11:30 PM

First his daughter simulates analingus on GIRLS, now this.

The guys havin’ a bad year…

Bruno Strozek on February 5, 2015 at 12:02 AM

It’s as real as most stuff NBC News spews.

Flange on February 5, 2015 at 12:04 AM

stolen valor…..

clandestine on February 5, 2015 at 12:13 AM

I struggled to remain above water with what little space remained on the rapidly sinking vessel.
I remember when the beast had cornered me in the boat earlier, I had fought the monster off by jamming a scuba tank into it’s mouth.
I can only hope the tank is still there and what bullets remain in my rifle are dry. I did not want to be swallowed whole like Quint.
Then I saw the beast’s mammoth dorsal fin approaching from the distance and closing fast, waiting for it to show me it’s menacing grin.
I finally saw an opening and the tank was still firmly in it’s mouth as I had hoped. I took the shot, but it glanced far off to the right.
Closer and closer it came, making ground rapidly and staying just slightly below the surface as if it knew I was aiming for the wedged tank. I knew I would have to wait until the last moment before I could take the final shot.
My heart raced, but I steadied myself upon the sinking mast and took aim. The beast rose up with the tank in clear view. I said “smile you son-of-a-b**ch” and fired my last shot miraculously hitting the target.
A small explosion ensued and shark chunks flew through the air.

– Brian Williams –
Memoirs from an Amity Island charter fishing expedition

StubbornGreenBurros on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM

Headline: Lying douche bag lies!

If he doesn’t resign, NBC should fire him. I won’t hold my breath for either.

SouthernGent on February 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM

Brian Williams has no degree.

Imagine him reporting on Walker not having one.

Schadenfreude on February 5, 2015 at 12:26 AM

Well, to be fair, it couldn’t have happened to a bigger douche.

John the Libertarian on February 5, 2015 at 12:32 AM

The sad part is that ALL of NBC’s talking heads (from Lauer to Maddow) will be required to repeat BW’s fake apology for the rest of the week… more lies to cover BWs lies.

More so, other MSM news outlets will circle and protect him as well. (CNN, ABC, etc)

EXIT QUESTION: Imagine if this had been Hannity. The MSM would crucify him. He’d be run off the planet.

Gartrip on February 5, 2015 at 12:38 AM

Oh yeah! RPG fire… hate it when that happens!

virgo on February 5, 2015 at 12:41 AM

Robert Redford is going to play Brian Williams in the new movie called “Under Fire”. Its a story about the heroism and credibility of Williams and his news team during the invasion of Fallujah. Dan Rather is the movie’s veracity enforcer!

inspectorudy on February 5, 2015 at 12:48 AM

In a 2008 NBC blog post with his byline, he wrote that the “Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor.”

Brian, do you really think “flying in front of ours” is accurate? Your chopper didn’t arrive until AN HOUR LATER.

And I have to admit, I have never heard the “I forgot that I was lying” rationale. At least it’s original.

IndieDogg on February 5, 2015 at 12:55 AM

I don’t mean to be a jerk, but people should really be pissed off about this. Williams should go the way of Rather. Yet, his smiling face will be on TV tomorrow and everyone is joking.

Christ in a kayak, doesn’t this matter? Someone help me out here.

Ag80 on February 5, 2015 at 12:59 AM

Williams: Hey, my bad on that whole my-helicopter-was-hit-by-an-RPG thing, y’all

That’s just Williams “Leaning Forward” and solidifying his liberal credentials. He didn’t really came under enemy fire just like Hillary really didn’t, he bowed on camera to Obama.

Someone needs to tell Williams that it’s not necessary to work so hard, we know how liberal he is, it’s obvious.

RJL on February 5, 2015 at 1:07 AM

William’s story was false but accurate.

Mallard T. Drake on February 5, 2015 at 1:08 AM

Someone help me out here.

Ag80 on February 5, 2015 at 12:59 AM

Give it a few weeks. Remember that Rather wriggled like a worm for a long time before getting the boot.

John the Libertarian on February 5, 2015 at 1:09 AM

Wasn’t he with a full news crew who could have alerted him that he was lying? That’s the joke.

A leftist hearing this story will only have one question: why did he do it when there were so many witnesses outside of the control zone for the lie?

Buddahpundit on February 5, 2015 at 1:18 AM

A composite reporter under composite rpg fire in a composite helicopter. Too bad the valor he stole was real.

stout77 on February 5, 2015 at 2:27 AM

Okay, who wouldn’t remember coming under fire in a war? His explaination makes no sense.

Dollayo on February 5, 2015 at 3:57 AM

He’s a high profile member of the liberal press that spent thirty five years destroying the character of Vietnam combat soldiers. But now that it’s “cool” they all want to be a war hero.

bluesdoc70 on February 5, 2015 at 4:23 AM

He needs to go to work for the Rolling Stone Magazine ……………… sweeping their floors.

SC.Charlie on February 5, 2015 at 4:40 AM

I blame Bush.

LagunaDave on February 5, 2015 at 4:49 AM

Compulsive liars actually start to believe their own lies. If they didn’t, they would have to admit they were liars. He has lost all credibility.

lea on February 5, 2015 at 6:23 AM

Is anyone really surprised that a TV anchorman who bows to Obama, would lie about being in a helicopter hit by a RPG?

Flora Duh on February 5, 2015 at 6:32 AM

That lying piece of crap needs to take a hike and never return. Somebody tell these slimy liberals they can’t just lie their butts off then say they’re sorry and it all goes away. If you were ever in a helicopter that was brought down by fire . . . you would never forget. Williams is a self serving, lying media jackass.

rplat on February 5, 2015 at 6:33 AM

The Tommy Flanagan of Jouralism.

“Our chopper got hit by an RPG in a ….. sandstorm! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

n8dawg on February 5, 2015 at 6:50 AM

How in heaven’s name do you “misremember” getting hit with the RPG? How? Would be like me saying, “Yea, I dated Jennifer Lawrence” and only a few years confess, “Know what? I misremembered that entire Jennifer Lawrence story. I only saw her in the pages of a magazine.” And I’m supposed to trust him with news? What a schmuck.

stop2think on February 5, 2015 at 7:07 AM

Maybe Robert Redford can make a movie about how we all should have listened to Brian Williams…

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 7:08 AM

You are right..It is sad..Brian need to resign and join Dan Rather..But we are talking NBC..:)

Dire Straits on February 4, 2015 at 9:36 PM

He’ll likely just go to work for MSNBC, where they hire personalities that facilitate rape hoaxes.

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 7:14 AM

I will just deposit this here:

http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2015/01/jane-fonda-regrets-hanoi-jane

Apologies from the likes of these people have a hollow ring to them. Pretty much like any story they tell. They are not real.

Oilypablo on February 5, 2015 at 7:18 AM

#BrianWilliamsMisRemembers his first date pic.twitter.com/Rm0NewQCM0

ericbolling @ericbolling
Whew, on my way to work my car was hit by an RPG. made it to the rest area w/ the help from NJStatePolice…wait. I misremembered my commute

Flora Duh on February 5, 2015 at 7:22 AM

Compulsive liars actually start to believe their own lies. If they didn’t, they would have to admit they were liars. He has lost all credibility.

He’s never had any credibility, I’ve always hated that smug SOB. This couldn’t happened to a nicer POS.

Kat_man on February 5, 2015 at 7:49 AM

A looser and a liar, just like so many of his Lame Stream Media buds.

casaler on February 5, 2015 at 7:53 AM

Dear Mr. Williams,

Please pick up your burnt pants on your way out.

And never come back.

Thank you.

ajacksonian on February 5, 2015 at 7:56 AM

I wonder if Brian Williams ever reported on Hillary Clinton’s sniper fire in Kosovo.

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM

How much ya wanna bet that the brass at nbc news told him to embellish the story in the first place. It’s gotta help ratings. Look how far it’s gotten Killary.

Kissmygrits on February 5, 2015 at 8:09 AM

Brian’s Allison Williams stars with Lena Dunham on Girls. Recently, she received a rim job on camera. Her father said – not kidding – he is very proud of her.

Resist We Much on February 4, 2015 at 9:50 PM

From playing the lead in the family-oriented Peter Pan Live! to a pretty graphic and prolonged session of anilingus on camera, …….. wholesome, …… traditional American values. Integrity seems to run in the family …..

RandallinHerndon on February 5, 2015 at 8:23 AM

Flora Duh—that link was too rich especially this part. A lyin hypocrite in the MSM, go figure

After years of experience in the news business, Williams said he has developed his own “strong BS meter” — he can watch the local news in any city in this country and tell you which anchors went out to dinner that night instead of staying and writing between the 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news. Williams also said he can tell which anchors write their own copy and who’s just reading whatever pops up on the teleprompter. On The Nightly News, Williams reviews every word of the copy before it goes on the teleprompter. “Any time I’ve kicked a word, it’s because I’ve never seen it before,” Williams said.
The Nightly News attracts between 10 and 11 million viewers each night. But the playing field for prime-time nightly news is in constant motion, with NBC, CBS, and ABC jockeying for the top slot in the ratings game. The tremendous growth of online media — especially blogs — in recent years has altered the face of journalism.
“You’re going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe,” said Williams. “All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years.”
He added that it’s often difficult to judge the credibility of a blogger. “On the Internet, no one knows if you’ve been to Ramadi or you’ve just been to Brooklyn and have an opinion about Ramadi,” said Williams.

cthemfly on February 5, 2015 at 8:25 AM

Liberals lie like we breathe oxygen.

crrr6 on February 5, 2015 at 8:31 AM

Shocked that a liberal elitist lied…not so much…

crosshugger on February 5, 2015 at 8:46 AM

“All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years.”

And who hasn’t lied about it…

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 8:48 AM

“All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years.”

And who hasn’t lied about it…

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 8:48 AM

Yeh, at least Vinny doesn’t sell his soul to the false god of celebrity. Williams is an elitist fraud, but I repeat myself.

cthemfly on February 5, 2015 at 8:55 AM

Isn’t this like driving upon a bad wreck on the highway and then saying you were in the wreck?

tj4osu on February 5, 2015 at 8:56 AM

Yeh, at least Vinny doesn’t sell his soul to the false god of celebrity. Williams is an elitist fraud, but I repeat myself.

cthemfly on February 5, 2015 at 8:55 AM

Nor did Vinny bow to the national leader that he’s reporting on.

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 9:15 AM

What do you expect from a creeper who likes watching his daughter’s TV sex scenes? What a degenerate.

Ward Cleaver on February 5, 2015 at 9:24 AM

I made a mistake

Wrong. A lie is not a mistake, it’s an act of the will. I’m sure it’s the only one he ever told.

Akzed on February 5, 2015 at 9:29 AM

This just in: Brian Williams nominated for the Dan Rather Prize for Integrity in Journalism.

Akzed on February 5, 2015 at 9:31 AM

I hear Brian Williams is going to star in the new Hollywood blockbuster, “12 Years a Liar”

Bevan on February 5, 2015 at 9:32 AM

So now BW is lying about the original lie that he’s been lying about for years…elitist dick…

PatriotRider on February 5, 2015 at 9:50 AM

Well Brian, one way in which bloggers differ from the mainstream media, is that they’re sometimes truthful.

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 10:09 AM

First his daughter simulates analingus on GIRLS, now this.

The guys havin’ a bad year…

Bruno Strozek on February 5, 2015 at 12:02 AM

NO!

Its not a bad year, its the culmination of his life and ideology that has finally caught up with him. When you ever start lying, you have maintain that one and add to it to keep up the facade.

This is nothing more that the facade failing and the true contents showing through.

We need more to show from him and all the other liars in the media.

That is all!

belad on February 5, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Kat_ Couric, David Gregory, Brian Williams, Bob Costless, MS…

NBC… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Willys on February 5, 2015 at 10:36 AM

Has Noah defended Williams yet….?

d1carter on February 5, 2015 at 10:47 AM

He really should resign so NBC could replace him with someone who has a little more integrity. Paging Al Sharpton, your anchor seat is ready.

deimos on February 5, 2015 at 10:48 AM

I listened to that portion of the Letterman interview in which Williams told a big bunch of lies. Sickening.

BillCarson on February 5, 2015 at 10:57 AM

Is anyone of us really surprised by this revelation?

That’s what I thought.

There is NO credibility left in the media, NONE!

What once was our fourth estate providing protection against tyranny has become the fifth pillar of the state.

D-fusit on February 5, 2015 at 11:04 AM

He and Hillary share the same faulty memory synapses. They both dishonor our military personnel who do not need to embellish their service.

Xyz22 on February 5, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Don’t know if this link was already referenced but I saw that Ace just posted that Brian Williams was told by NBC execs to stop telling this RPG/Chopper story and didn’t.

Kim Priestap on February 5, 2015 at 4:04 PM

I wonder if Brian Williams ever reported on Hillary Clinton’s sniper fire in Kosovo.

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM

He did.

Star Bird on February 5, 2015 at 10:27 PM