More claims made by NBC anchorman called into question, network reportedly launches investigation
NEW YORK, New York — If NBC anchorman Brian Williams thought a simply apology would be enough, he was dead wrong.
Williams is now facing a firestorm of criticism as well as new allegations about his credibility after admitting a ‘mistake in recalling’ his time in a helicopter in Iraq in 2003. Despite saying his helicopter had been fired upon, Williams now says that was not what happened.
Friday the New York Daily News cited sources inside NBC reporting that the network had launched an internal investigation.
The probe is being led by Richard Esposito, who heads NBC’s investigative unit, they said.
Esposito previously worked as an investigative correspondent at ABC and before that was an editor at The Daily News.
NBC News President Deborah Turness sent the below memo to her staff Friday
Meanwhile the man Williams replaced behind the anchor desk at NBC Nightly News has declined to publicly defend his predecessor.
Thursday the Post cited a source saying Tom Brokaw wanted Williams’ “head on a platter.”
But Friday the Huffington Post reported a statement sent to them from Brokaw.
“I have neither demanded nor suggested Brian be fired,” Brokaw said in an email to The Huffington Post. “His future is up to Brian and NBC News executives.”
The email notably stopped short of defending Williams or his actions.
Earlier in the week a lone pilot was defending Williams’ account of his time on the helicopter. But Friday that pilot, Rich Krell, told CNN he was “questioning his own memories.”
“In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t shared the story at all.”
Claims about Williams truthfulness also expanded Friday to include stories he shared while covering Hurricane Katrina.
While on the ground in New Orleans Williams recounted seeing a body float by him in the French Quarter as well as claimed to have caught dysentery from drinking flood waters.
The New Orleans Advocate pointed out Friday that the French Quarter was not impacted by flood waters and cited a former health official who raised doubts about the dysentery claim.
Dr. Brobson Lutz, a former city health director who manned an EMS trailer that was set up in the 900 block of Dumaine Street, a block from his house in the French Quarter, said he was a fan of Williams but dubious of his claims.
“We were never wet. It was never wet,” he remarked of the conditions in the city’s most historic neighborhood.
As for dysentery, “I saw a lot of people with cuts and bruises and such, but I don’t recall a single, solitary case of gastroenteritis during Katrina or in the whole month afterward,” Lutz said.
Williams offered an on-air apology Wednesday.