NBC News anchor Brian Williams apologized on air Wednesday evening for what he described as “a mistake” in claiming he had been aboard a helicopter that was shot down in 2003 during the Iraq War.
Williams admitted the story was bogus earlier in the day in a comment on Facebook, and blamed the flub on “the fog of memory.” Instead, Williams acknowledged he was in a different helicopter that was never shot down.
“I want to apologize,” he said. “I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”
In fact, Williams told the story of his Iraq experience in a far different way as recently as 2007, writing on a blog post that it was “the chopper flying in front of ours” that was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. He also said during his original 2003 televised report on the incident that the “Chinook (helicopter) in front of us was almost blown out of the sky.” NBC News apparently added video of that report to its website late Wednesday after Williams apologized.
As part of his on-air apology, Williams said he made the mistake during an effort to give praise to the members of the military he spent time with in Iraq.
“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” Williams said. “It did not take long to hear from some brave men and women in the air crews who were also in that desert.”
Watch the video below:
h/t Brian Stelter
This post has been updated.