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Brian Williams currently has his tail between his legs, and it’s not because people are asking him about his daughter’s recent ass-eating scene on Girls. This week, the longtime NBC news anchor has been dealing with a controversy related to Williams’ oft-repeated claims that he was under enemy fire while in Iraq in 2003. The validity of Williams’ story came into question recently, and now Williams is taking some time off of NBC Nightly News.
The NBC News nightly manager and anchor stepped down, albeit temporarily, in a statement to the press. In the note, he basically states he is taking some time off as he has become the news instead of reporting the news.
In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.
Williams goes on to state that while he is off of the air, NBC Nightly News, Today and Dateline NBC news anchorman Lester Holt will be filling in for Brian Williams during his leave of absence.
We’ve been hearing about the Brian Williams' story for quite some time, but this week, the outlet Stars and Stripes wrote reports claiming the tale Williams has been telling for some time is inaccurate. Williams has also stated on NBC and on David Letterman’s Late Show that in 2003 he was on a Chinook helicopter when it was hit by ground fire. On Wednesday of this week, Williams apologized on the air for the story, noting that some of the details were not correct, including which helicopter he was actually on.
I want to apologize. I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.
Brian Williams has told his story more than once over the years and during that time, the story has changed, but it's hard to say whether the story has changed in a lying sort of way or a fog of war sort of way. Some members of the military claim his helicopter was hit by small fire and the one in front of him was hit with an RPG, while others claim Williams never came under fire at all. Regardless of where the truth is, the majority of stories people tell tend to change a bit over the years. Sometimes people embellish to make stories more interesting and sometimes emotions make events seem a little crazier in retrospect. Unfortunately, Brian Williams is a man in the business of facts, and the facts haven't been very clear recently.
Williams is known for being a witty and culturally savvy news anchor, who occasionally raps on air and has even bolstered his popularity by appearing on 30 Rock. NBC has enough ratings troubles without losing one of the network's key news players. Here's hoping the brouhaha related to the helicopter controversy will die down over the next few days and Williams can move forward, reputation (mostly) intact.