Tags: brian williams | apology | helicopter | hurricane katrina

Brian Williams' Katrina Tales Under Scrutiny After Helicopter Lie

By    |   Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 08:10 AM

NBC anchor Brian Williams apologized on Wednesday for falsely claiming his helicopter was downed by an RPG during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and now many are actively fact-checking other extraordinary claims from over the years, including a notable one regarding Hurricane Katrina.

On Wednesday's "Nightly News," Williams publicly apologized for his "bungled attempt" at thanking soldiers for protecting him in Iraq.

"I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago," he said. "I want to apologize."

Under heavy scrutiny less than 24 hours after Williams' admission are his tales from Hurricane Katrina.

In one story, he claims he saw a body float by his hotel room window in New Orleans. In another, he claims his five-star hotel was overrun with gangs while he was sick with floodwater dysentery, and was rescued from a stairwell by a police officer.

Williams recounted the first story about the floating corpse in a 2006 interview with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, The New Orleans Advocate reported.

"When you look out of your hotel room window in the French Quarter, and watch a man float by face-down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country . . ." Williams said, recounting the 2005 hurricane. "These are Americans. These are my brothers and sisters and one of them was floating by."

The likelihood that a body would be "floating by" in the French Quarter neighborhood is highly unlikely, as several news outlets noted that there was no flooding there — it sits at one of the highest elevations in the city. The New York Times reported just days after the storm that, "the Quarter's elegant 150-year-old buildings look relatively unruffled, except for some loosened bricks, having been spared the worst of Hurricane Katrina's winds and sitting high enough to have avoided the flooding."

Another blogger noticed a story Williams told not long after the storm.

"My week — two weeks there — was not helped by the fact that I accidentally ingested some of the floodwater. I became very sick with dysentery. Our hotel was overrun with gangs," Williams said in an interview with Tom Brokaw. "I was rescued from the stairwell of a five-star hotel in New Orleans by a young police officer. We are friends to this day."

Williams doesn't appear to have told the story ever again, but did say in a subsequent Dateline special that the police in New Orleans used the Sheraton hotel as a staging ground for their operations, and that they allowed his film crew to film outside.





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NBC anchor Brian Williams apologized on Wednesday for falsely claiming his helicopter was downed by an RPG during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and now many are actively fact-checking other extraordinary claims from over the years, including a notable one regarding Hurricane Katrina.
brian williams, apology, helicopter, hurricane katrina
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2015-10-05
Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 08:10 AM
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