Brian Williams hurt his credibility by telling a false story that during the Iraq war, he had been in a helicopter that was hit by a hand grenade. It might be a simple case of “misremembering,” as some people on social media sites have said; but, his story has led many others, like Tom Brokaw, to call for his successor as the news anchorman at NBC to be fired, according to a report by Fox News.
The top executives at NBC News have not come to a decision yet on if Brian Williams should face some type of disciplinary action or if he should possibly be fired over the incident. Overnight, following the breaking of the story that he had either lied or “misremembered,” Williams went from being one of the most popular and trusted newscasters in America to being the subject of jokes, ridicule, and his critics loudly calling for his firing.
One point in Brian Williams’ favor is that he was embellishing a personal story, rather than telling a lie about a big national news story, according to Andrew Tyndall, who monitors the nightly news broadcasts for his site, TyndallReport.com. Also, while Williams apologized for and took back his version of what happened in the helicopter on Wednesday, the pilot of the helicopter, Rich Krell, did say that they had taken fire, according to USA Today.
Some of the most vocal people on social media sites who are calling for Brian Williams to be fired over the incident are war veterans. Also, a hashtag was started, #BrianWilliamsMemories, and many social media users came up with other things or Photoshopped pictures of what Brian Williams “remembered,” having done, like rescuing a person from a polar bear, reporting the nightly news from the moon, and even blowing up the Death Star.
Brian Williams has become a national celebrity in the United States not only for his being the NBC Nightly News anchor, but also for his appearing on hit comedy TV series like 30 Rock with Tina Fey and on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, with Fallon’s staff assembling bits from various newscasts and adding rap music to them, to make it look as if Williams is rapping actual songs. He has come across in these appearances as being a very likable and self-deprecating sort of person, as well as a humble one.
His daughter, Allison Williams, even played the role of Peter Pan in NBC’s Christmas musical special, Peter Pan Live!. Brian Williams might have either “misremembered,” or exaggerated or embellished the story about the helicopter he was in having been forced down due to enemy fire while traveling in Iraq, and he might face some sort of disciplinary action; but, it is probably not very likely that NBC will take the most extreme step of firing him.
For now, NBC News has not made any comments about what sort of disciplinary action that Brian Williams might face. However, there has not been a pattern of lying about news stories shown by Brian Williams, the story did not amount to his having lied about a story of national importance, and he issued an apology, and these factors will also be taken into account by the NBC brass. Williams might have cost both himself and the NBC Nightly News a degree of trust but NBC Nightly News still remains the leader among the three network newscasts in terms of views who tune in, with roughly 9 million people watching it on a nightly basis.
Brian Williams did tell a more accurate version of what happened during a 2003 episode of Dateline. He stated that the Chinook helicopter that was ahead of the helicopter he was in had taken fire and had been forced down, and the helicopter he was flying in had landed near to it. Williams said in his apology that he hoped that “the brave men and women and their crews,” knew that “they have my greatest respect and, now, my apology.”
Brian Williams did, undoubtedly, hurt his credibility by telling a false, or embellished, version of what happened to the helicopter he had been flying in while he was traveling and reporting from Iraq. Executives at NBC Nightly News are still analyzing all of the factors and have not yet reached a decision as to what sort of punishment Williams might face in the matter.
Written By Douglas Cobb