Tag Archives: Anchor

NBC Removes Brian Williams From ‘Nightly News,’ Sends Him To MSNBC

Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor who was suspended from the network for six months after revealing that he had lied about his coverage of the Iraq War, will not return to the “Nightly News” after his suspension ends.

Instead, he will appear on NBC’s sister-network, MSNBC.

Williams admitted that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on Feb. 4, and from there his overall credibility as a journalist was called into question.

Related: Brian Williams Admits Lying For 12 Years About Iraq War 

NBC launched an internal investigation into the accuracy of Williams’ reporting on Feb. 6. After he revealed that he had lied about his time in Iraq, questions were also raised about Williams’ reporting of other events, such as his claim that he had seen a dead body float by his hotel during Hurricane Katrina and his claim that Katyusha rockets had passed directly underneath his helicopter while he was covering the Israel-Hezbollah war.

NBC News suspended Williams for six months, without pay on Feb. 11. Deborah Turness, the President of NBC News, released a statement saying that Williams’ actions “jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News” and that because “his actions are inexcusable,” his suspension is “severe and appropriate.”

Related: NBC Suspends Brian Williams For 6 Months Without Pay

NBC News chairman Andy Lack released a statement confirming that Lester Holt will be the new anchor for NBC Nightly News. Lack also said that Williams’ “excellent work” has earned him a second chance “to earn back everyone’s trust.”

Holt, who has filled in as the temporary anchor on the “Nightly News” while Williams has been suspended, makes history as the first African American to become a solo anchor of a nightly broadcast network evening newscast.

CNN reported that after Williams’ six-month suspension ends in August, he will have two jobs: an “anchor of breaking news and special reports on MSNBC” and a “breaking news anchor for NBC News live special reports when Holt is not available.”

The Los Angeles Times noted that at MSNBC, Williams be paid “significantly less than the $10-million-a-year” he earned at NBC, and he will have a much smaller audience, with approximately 301,000 viewers instead of about 7.5 million.

Following the announcement, Williams began what CNN referred to as an “apology tour,” where he “met with NBC staffers in both New York and Washington D.C.,” and was “deeply apologetic.”

Williams released a statement saying that he was sorry, and he “said things that weren’t true.”

“I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I’m determined to earn back their trust,” Williams said. “I will greatly miss working with the team on ‘Nightly News,’ but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it.

BREAKING: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay

Deborah Turness, the President of NBC News, released a statement Tuesday night, announcing that the network has chosen to suspend Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for six months, without pay, after he admitted last week that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

According to a report from Politico, the memo from Turness stated that Williams had been notified of his suspension, and that Lester Holt will be his replacement during the suspension:

“We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately.  We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.

Turness then went on to explain that NBC chose to suspend Williams, even though  the internal investigation NBC launched on Friday is still ongoing:

Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.

While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.

In addition, we have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field.

As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times.

Steve Burke, Pat Fili and I came to this decision together. We felt it would have been wrong to disregard the good work Brian has done and the special relationship he has forged with our viewers over 22 years.  Millions of Americans have turned to him every day, and he has been an important and well-respected part of our organization.

As I’m sure you understand, this was a very hard decision. Certainly there will be those who disagree.  But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.

This has been a difficult time. But NBC News is bigger than this moment. You work so hard and dedicate yourselves each and every day to the important work of bringing trusted, credible news to our audience. Because of you, your loyalty, your dedication, NBC News is an organization we can – and should – all be proud of. We will get through this together.”

Turness concluded the memo by saying that Steve Burke, the President of NBCUniversal had asked her to share this message:

This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.

SCANDAL Continues: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Following NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ revelation that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, multiple instances have surfaced that raise questions about his credibility as a journalist and his accuracy when reporting ranging from his coverage of Hurricane Katrina to his coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war.

The latest report that is drawing criticism stems from 2007, when Williams was interviewed by Emily Fitzmaurice at Fairfield University:

When asked about which stories he had covered that have had the biggest impact on his life, Williams responded:

I’ve been very, very lucky the way my life has turned out. I’ve been very lucky to have survived a few things that I’ve been involved in. At a reception a few minutes ago, I was remembering something I tend to forget: the war with Hezbollah in Israel a few years back, where there were Katyusha rockets passing just underneath the helicopter I was riding in. A few years before that, we go back to Iraq, and I look down the tube of an RPG that had been fired at us, and it hit the chopper in front of ours.

While he did mention that he had covered the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, the 2007 interview was the first time Williams mentioned Katyusha rockets “passing just underneath” the helicopter he was riding in.

In an article for NBC News that was published just days after the incident occurred in 2006, Williams wrote that he was “in a Blackhawk helicopter at 1,500 feet,” and that he did witness a rocket launch, but it was “from a distance of six miles.

Williams’ comments from the 2007 interview about looking “down the tube” of the RPG that had been fired at the helicopter in front of the one he was in also raised questions. His report on the helicopter that was grounded by RPG fire in 2003, changed in 2013, during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman when Williams claimed he was on board the helicopter that was hit.

Williams repeated the same claim during a broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Jan 30. Following backlash from soldiers who were on board the helicopter, Williams issued a public apology on Wednesday, and claimed that he had “misremembered” the exact details of which helicopter he was on.

Questions have also been raised over Williams’ coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While the reports originally won him a Peabody Award, speculation has been raised by citizens of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Advocate reported that the claim Williams made of watching a dead body “float by face down” from his hotel room window in the French Quarter is not possible, due to the fact that the French Quarter is the “original high ground of New Orleans,” and “was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.”

The Washington Post noted that another story Williams “likes to tell,” which he emphasized during an interview with Tom Brokaw, but has “never reported” to his viewers, is the story of the time he was “overrun” by gangs while staying at a Ritz-Carlton during Hurricane Katrina.

On Friday, NBC News announced that it will be conducting an internal investigation regarding Williams’ reporting in Iraq. The network released a statement from Williams’ on Saturday announcing that he has decided to take a leave of absence for “the next several days” and that NBC News anchor Lester Holt will take his place.

On Sunday, NBC announced that Williams has cancelled another appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, which was scheduled for Thursday.

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay

Brian Williams Announces Hiatus as NBC News Launches Internal Investigation

NBC News anchor Brian Williams has announced that he will take a leave of absence from the network, as NBC launches an internal investigation, which stemmed from Williams’ revelation that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during invasion of Iraq in 2003.

On Saturday, NBC News released Williams’ announcement regarding his hiatus. In the statement, Williams said he has decided to take a leave of absence for “the next several days” and that NBC News anchor Lester Holt will take his place:

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 actionsAs Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

Williams’ news comes after NBC announced on Friday that it will be conducting an internal investigation regarding a report Williams gave about his time spent covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Associated Press reported that the probe will be led by Richard Esposito, who worked at ABC, the New York Daily News and New York Newsday prior to coming to NBC.

NBC News President Deborah Turness announced the investigation in an internal memo on Friday:

As you would expect, we have 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.”

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote an editorial on Saturday claiming, “NBC executives were warned a year ago that Brian Williams was constantly inflating his biography.”

THIS was a bomb that had been ticking for a while,” wrote Dowd. “But the caustic media big shots who once roamed the land were gone, and ‘there was no one around to pull his chain when he got too over-the-top,’ as one NBC News reporter put it.”

Williams issued a public apology on Wednesday, for a report he gave on Jan. 30, in which he claimed that he was onboard a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In the original report, Williams stated that he was in the helicopter behind the one that was “almost blown out of the sky” by an RPG.

In 2007, during an interview with Emily Fitzmaurice at Fairfield University, Williams listed his coverage of Iraq as one of the stories that has had the biggest impact on his life. He claimed that he “looked down the tube of an RPG that had been fired,” and had hit the chopper in front of the one he was in.

Williams’ story changed in 2013, during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman, when he said, “two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in.”

Although the 2013 version of the story was false, Williams repeated it again on a broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Jan 30. Williams stated that the helicopter he was flying in was “forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

Williams admitted his mistake after being called out on Facebook by soldiers who were on board the Chinook helicopter that was hit. He responded to one of the comments, and admitted that he “was in fact on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.” Williams then issued a public apology on Wednesday, claiming that he had “misremembered” the exact details of what had occurred during his time in Iraq.

The claim that Williams was in a helicopter that was in the same formation as the one that was shot down has been contested by crew members on board the helicopter, who told Stars and Stripes that Williams arrived at the scene an hour after the helicopter made its emergency landing, and only stayed for a few minutes to take pictures and to talk to the crew members.

With Williams’ credibility as a journalist being called into question, there is speculation he also lied about his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Advocate reported that the claim Williams made of watching a dead body “float by face down” from his hotel room window in the French Quarter is not possible, due to the fact that the French Quarter is the “original high ground of New Orleans,” and “was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.”

According to the Associated Press, NBC News “refused to comment Saturday on when or whether Williams would return and who would decide his future.”

Feb. 9, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay