Tags: Iraq | brian williams | helicopter | under | fire | lie | media

Baltimore Sun Critic: Brian Williams 'Lied,' Should Be Removed

By    |   Thursday, 05 February 2015 05:59 PM

NBC News anchor Brian Williams didn't simply "misremember" events that led him to believe he was in a helicopter hit by RPG fire, he lied, says David Zurawik, media critic for The Baltimore Sun.

"If credibility means anything to NBC News, Brian Williams will no longer be managing editor and anchor of the evening newscast by the end of the day Friday," Zurawik wrote in a column published online Wednesday night.

"This is a story that he's told over those 12 years in differing versions, but in all of them he was in danger and took fire," Zurawik said Thursday on "CNN Newsroom."

"It's not just that he lied for 12 years, it's the kind of lie that he told," Zurawik added, saying that there are millions of military families suffering diminished lives because of the injuries and deaths suffered by members of the armed forces.

Williams came under intense scrutiny after telling the story again on Friday's newscast after publicly honoring one of the men he credits with saving his life.

Williams has said for years that he was on a Chinook helicopter in 2003 that was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire over Iraq and was forced to land. He said an Armored Mechanized Platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry was on the scene quickly and kept everyone safe for two nights and three days.

Williams was called out on the story when soldiers who were with him in 2003 told Stars and Stripes that Williams was actually on a Chinook that was not hit, but landed on the scene of the one that was hit about an hour later. A sandstorm kept him stranded and not a damaged helicopter.

Williams apologized on his newscast Wednesday and also wrote an apology to Star and Stripes.

But The Sun's Zurawik said that nowhere in his "admission" did Williams admit he lied.

"Instead he says something 'screwed up' in his 'mind.' And it 'caused' him to 'conflate one aircraft with another,'" Zurawik wrote.

Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz on Wednesday told "The Kelly File's" Megyn Kelly that he found it "inexplicable" that Williams could have conflated the two helicopters.

"When your helicopter gets shot down, that's a life-changing event," Kurtz said. "It happened or it didn't happen."

Kurtz called the story a major blow to the credibility of Williams and NBC News.

Zurawik told CNN that Williams is the face of NBC's news division and should be taken off the air.

Rich Krell, who piloted the Chinook Williams was in, told CNN's Jake Tapper Thursday that their chopper did take small arms fire, but that it was not hit by an RPG as Williams has claimed.

Meanwhile, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather came to Williams' defense, telling Politico, "I don't know the particulars about that day in Iraq. I do know Brian. He's a longtime friend and we have been in a number of war zones and on the same battlefields, competing but together."

Rather called Williams "an honest, decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor – and a brave one. I can attest that – like his predecessor Tom Brokaw -- he is a superb pro, and a gutsy one."

Rather is familiar with criticism. In 2004, he had to retract a report that used phony documents on then-President George W. Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam era. Rather retired a year later.

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Thursday that liberal journalists will "circle the wagons" to protect Williams as they did Rather.

"They protect themselves. In this case, they're gonna be protecting the news. They're gonna be protecting liberalism," he said.

Zurawik told CNN there is a fraternity in the press and that they don't call each other out.

"That's why the public hates us," he said.

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NBC News anchor Brian Williams didn't simply "misremember" events that led him to believe he was in a helicopter hit by RPG fire, he lied, says David Zurawik, media critic for The Baltimore Sun.
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2015-59-05
Thursday, 05 February 2015 05:59 PM
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