The NBC 'Nightly News' anchor is in hot water over his claims last week that he was shot down in a military helicopter in 2003, which prompted several angry social media responses from veterans.
Following a week of controversy, NBC has announced that it will be starting an internal investigation into the actions of Brian Williams, the ‘Nightly News’ anchor who has admitted and apologised for misleading the public about his time reporting in Iraq in 2003.
The New York Daily News reported that the inquiry will be led by NBC’s investigative unit head Richard Esposito. The network’s president of news Deborah Turness has also sent an internal e-mail to NBC staff on Friday following an editorial meeting.
Embattled NBC news anchor Brian Williams
“Brian apologized once again, and specifically expressed how sorry he is for the impact this has had on all of you and on this proud organization,” she wrote, announcing that NBC had assembled “a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired. We’re working on what the best next steps are – and when we have something to communicate we will of course share it with you.”
On Wednesday’s edition of ‘Nightly News’, Williams came clean and admitted that he had inaccurately claimed that he was on board a U.S. military helicopter that was shot down in the Iraq desert during the 2003 invasion. He was in fact on a helicopter flying the same mission but one hour behind, and said that he had “conflated” the two episodes in his mind.
This incident appears to have triggered another controversy. On Thursday, the New Orleans Advocate raised questions about Williams’ coverage of Hurricane Katrina, when he described seeing dead bodies floating down the street from his hotel window in the French Quarter of the distressed city. At that time, many news outlets were reporting that that area was not flooded.
Tom Brokaw, who was Williams’ predecessor in the anchor chair, has also denied reports that he wants him to be fired over the incident. In an e-mail, he said that he “neither suggested nor demanded Brian be fired. His future is up to Brian and the executives of NBC News.”