In an interview aired Friday, former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams insisted he did not know he was misleading people when telling an inaccurate story about his helicopter being shot down in Iraq a dozen years ago.
Speaking to Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today in his first television interview since being handed a six month suspension, Williams attributed selfish reasons for allowing him to tell the story when appearing on live night shows and other venues. “It had to have been ego that made me think I had to be sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else,” Williams said. “Put myself closer to the action having been at the action in the beginning.” Lauer asked Williams if he knew the inaccurate story he told was not true; here’s his response:
I told the story correctly for years, before I told it incorrectly. I was not trying to mislead people, that to me is a huge difference. After that incident, I tried and failed as others have tried and failed and why is it when we’re trying to say ‘sorry,’ we can’t come out and say ‘I’m sorry.’
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Lauer pressed Williams further: “I need to make sure we understand each other here. Did you know that when you went on Nightly News that you were telling a story that was not true?”
“No,” Williams immediately answered. “It came from a bad place. It came from a sloppy choice of words. I told stories that were not true. Over the years, looking back, it is very clear I never intended to. It got mixed up, it got turned around, in my mind.”
When asked how military groups on social media would react to Williams’ remarks, the anchor acknowledged there would be some skepticism. “I understand it,” Williams answered. “This came from clearly a bad place, a bad urge inside me. This was clearly ego-driven, a desire to better my role in a story I was already in. That’s what I’ve been tearing apart and unpacking and analyzing.”
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After Williams’ suspension ends in August, he will be taking a new role with MSNBC and NBC. Lester Holt, who has been filling in for Williams during his absence, was named the permanent host of NBC Nightly News.
h/t: The Daily Mail
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