It looks like NBC anchor will attempt to run out the clock on anger among the unwashed Internet efficiency-apartment dwellers named Vinny, and NBC doesn’t look to be moving to punish him in any way. Williams’ debunked story about taking RPG fire in a Chinook over Iraq did not come up tonight on the NBC Nightly News.
Brian Williams opening: measles, hackers, storms, and learning an instrument. Nothing about how he caught an RPG with his teeth. @NBCNews
— Anthony Bialy (@AnthonyBialy) February 5, 2015
The headline on the lead story at Poynter, a media-industry organ, is telling:
Shouldn’t NBC News have made Williams apologize? Or, perhaps Williams should have been compelled by his own conscience? Instead, this news organization and venerable newsman must be “forced” to apologize for a blatant, decade-long lie by the veterans whose experience Williams cribbed for his own war stories. There are plenty of pieces floating around in defense of Williams today, about the unreliability of human memory. Sure, the human memory is fallible. But reporters in war zones, especially anchors, are accompanied by notebooks, pens, copious amounts of recording equipment, and an obligation to keep close track of their experiences and verify them. If Williams believes he is so much better than your average Vinny, as he does, then he has a special obligation not to make memory mistakes people who aren’t very official members of the Fourth Estate sometimes make.
That being said, come on. I’ve been on a helicopter over Iraq before. I am quite, crystal clear that it was not hit by an RPG.
Video of a 2006 interview with Williams has surfaced, and in the video, Williams said he saw a man floating by face down from his French Quarter hotel. The comment is drawing attention because the French Quarter was largely spared from Katrina’s flooding as pointed out by multiple news outlets such as the New York Times.
“When you look out of your hotel room window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down … when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country … I beat that storm. I was there before it arrived. I rode it out with people who later died in the Superdome,” Williams said in the interview.
Curiously, Media Matters is not covering this story.