Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

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.

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

Texas Lawmakers Criticize Obama’s Neglect of Border Crisis

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the United States’ Gulf Coast. President George W. Bush’s response to the natural disaster was disastrous in itself, and was viewed by many as one of the lowest points in his presidency.

In addition to being criticized for taking a photograph on Air Force One, in which he was seen looking out at the wreckage from the hurricane, Bush was also under fire for the fact that he did not personally visit the site of the damage in the proximate aftermath of the tragedy.

In 2014, President Barack Obama is facing his own major catastrophe. Despite the recent influx of undocumented children at the U.S.-Mexico border, and a pre-planned trip to Texas this week, Obama has announced that he will not make a visit to the border.

Obama’s decision has raised criticism from U.S. Representatives like Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, who told CNN’s State of the Union, “With all due respect to the administration, they were one step behind. They should have seen this coming a long time ago.”

I’m sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after a long time,” Cuellar said, comparing Obama’s decision to steer clear of a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border to Bush’s decision to neglect a visit to the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He went on to say that this incident could become Obama’s “Katrina moment.”

Texas Governor, Rick Perry, is also criticizing Obama, saying his actions regarding the mass entrance of illegal children through the country’s southern border shows that he is either “inept” or has an “ulterior motive.”

I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure,” Perry told ABC’s This Week. “And that’s the reason there’s been this lack of effort, this lack of focus, this lack of resources.”

Perry went on to say, “Some might think allowing them to stay is a more humane option, I assure you, it is not. Nobody is doing any of these children the slightest favor by delaying a rapid return to their countries of origin, which in many cases is not Mexico. Allowing them to remain here will only encourage the next group of individuals to undertake the same life-threatening journey.”

If the President of the United States is really serious about securing that border, we can show him how to do that,” said Perry, who claimed that he hasn’t received so much as a phone call from the President, regarding the crisis.

What has to be addressed is the security of the border. You know that. I know that. The President of the United States knows that.”