Brian Williams' description of images of U.S. strikes in Syria late Thursday as "beautiful" has landed the broadcaster in hot water (again) on social media.
The MSNBC anchor attempted to quote the late singer Leonard Cohen's 1988 song "First We Take Manhattan" during an interview, calling the U.S. Navy strike on a Syria airbase with Tomahawk missiles "beautiful."
"We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean," Williams said during the interview. "I am tempted to quote the late Leonard Cohen, 'I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.'
"And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making for them a brief flight over this airfield," Williams continued.
SPIN magazine found a quote in the book "Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters," which described how the singer saw the song and the lyrics.
"I find in my own mind that I have to resist these extremist positions when I find myself drifting into a mystical fascism in regards to myself," Cohen said in the book. "So this song, 'First We Take Manhattan,' what is it? Is he serious? And who is 'we?' And what is this constituency that he's addressing? Well, it's that constituency that shares this sense of titillation with extremist positions. I'd rather do that with an appetite for extremism than blow up a bus full of schoolchildren."
Social media ripped Williams for quoting the song in connection with the U.S. missile strike, done in response to Syria allegedly using chemical weapons against its citizens earlier in the week. Some brought up Williams' past exaggerations about his reporting during the Iraq War in their criticism.
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