NBC News is investigating anchor Brian Williams’ lie that he was in a helicopter hit by RPG fire in Iraq in 2003.
“This has been a difficult few days for all of us at NBC News,” NBC News President Deborah Turness is quoted by USA Today as saying in a staff memo. “Yesterday, Brian and I spoke to the Nightly News team. And this morning at the Editorial Exchange, we both addressed the wider group. Brian apologized once again, and specifically expressed how sorry he is for the impact this has had on all of you and on this proud organization.”
“As you would expect, we have a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired. We’re working on what the best next steps are – and when we have something to communicate we will of course share it with you,” she added.
As iMediaEthics previously reported, Williams apologized Wednesday after veterans busted him on Facebook for the helicopter tale. Williams apologized on Facebook and on air for saying he was in the helicopter shot down, and said that he was in the following helicopter.
Williams said he mistakenly thought he had been shot down but realized after being confronted by the veterans that he wasn’t. “I think 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,” he wrote on Facebook.
NBC News’ Richard Esposito is running the internal investigation, according to the New York Daily News, which reported the news based on anonymous sources earlier this afternoon.
iMediaEthics has written to NBC News for confirmation.
In light of the helicopter story being busted as false, Williams’ previous reports concerning what he saw in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina have been questioned, USA Today reported. More on that at the New Orleans Advocate.
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Brokaw denies anonymous source claims
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw denied an anonymously-sourced claim by the New York Post that he thought Williams should be fired, Fox News reported.
The Post‘s Feb. 5 story was titled, “Tom Brokaw wants Brian Williams fired.”
The Post reported: “’Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter,’ an NBC source said. ‘He is making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.'”
Despite that story, Brokaw e-mailed the Huffington Post that he “neither demanded nor suggested Brian be fired.”
The New York Post featured Williams on its front page this morning. See below the cover:
UPDATED: 4:01 PM, 4:19 M EST with more information