The Brian Williams Apology Tour has begun—and who knows where it will end?
The NBC Nightly News anchor publicly apologized three times Wednesday—during his regular broadcast, in a Facebook post, and in Stars and Stripes—after the military-focused newspaper published a damning story that Williams and NBC have been claiming falsely “for years” that during the 2003 Iraq invasion, he was aboard a U.S. Army helicopter that was hit and forced down by rocket-propelled grenades.
“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq,” Williams told viewers during last Friday’s broadcast of the top-rated NBC Nightly News, “when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.” Video accompanying the story showed a severely damaged helicopter, its skin pierced by an RPG, and strongly suggested that Williams had been a passenger on the combat-hobbled aircraft.
Williams has told the story of being hit by enemy fire at least twice on national television, most recently during Friday’s Nightly News segment about a retired Army sergeant who protected him and his NBC colleagues in the war zone. ButStars and Stripes reported that contrary to Williams’s tall tale, his Chinook helicopter was miles away when an entirely different chopper took enemy fire.
Unfortunately for Williams, this is not the first time he has made “this mistake” on network television. On the March, 26, 2013 episode of CBS’s Late Show With David Letterman, he told the host (at the 3-minute, 50-second mark): “Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in.”