The pilot of the helicopter that was hit by an RPG back in 2003 said he complained to MSNBC at the time that Brian Williams reported incorrect information about the incident.
As iMediaEthics has written, Williams came under fire this month for his reporting over the years, and specifically on Jan. 31’s NBC Nightly News, that he was on the helicopter shot by an RPG during the Iraq invasion.
However, veterans who were there called him out for fabricating the story and Williams apologized on air Feb. 4. His apology didn’t resolve the controversy and Williams announced he would take “several days” off air last weekend. NBC News is also conducting an internal investigation into Williams’ accounting of events.
The pilot, Don Helus, told CNN’s Brian Stelter this weekend that he contacted MSNBC via e-mail in 2003 about Williams’ story being wrong.
“When I returned back to Kuwait for repairs…a friend of mine had alerted me of the story…asked me if we had Brian Williams on our flight, which I told him we did not. Then he showed me a video of it on the Internet,” Helus said.
See the interview below.
This was around April 2003, Helus told Stelter. Stelter noted CNN hadn’t yet found the video to which Helus is referring.
“I wrote MSNBC at the time,” Helus said. Stelter pointed out that at the time that was the website for NBC News.
Helus said he contacted them “to alert them that the facts were incorrect,” and to let them know “Mr. Williams was not part of our flight, he was in a different flight.”
iMediaEthics e-mailed MSNBC to ask for comment on Helus’ remarks and if the network received Helus’s e-mail complaint 12 years ago. An MSNBC spokesperson responded to iMediaEthics’ query by pointing us to the CNN interview with Helus. We followed up again, asking if MSNBC received Helus’s e-mail but haven’t had any response yet.
In a separate news story, Helus told CNN that he “talked for a few minutes” with Richard Esposito, who is running the NBC internal investigation into Williams.
iMediaEthics has attempted to reach, through social media, several of the veterans who have called out Williams’ story as false. We’ll update with any additional information.
Meanwhile, Williams canceled an appearance on CBS with Dave Letterman scheduled for this week.
Hat Tip: USA Today