NBC News confirmed Friday that it’s investigating chief anchor Brian Williams over his now-retracted statement that he was in a helicopter in Iraq that was hit by enemy fire and forced to land.
“This has been a difficult few days for all of us at NBC News,” NBC News President Deborah Turness said in a staff memo circulated Friday. “Yesterday, Brian and I spoke to the Nightly News team. And this morning at the Editorial Exchange, we both addressed the wider group. 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.
“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 – and when we have something to communicate we will of course share it with you,” she said.
The internal probe is being led by Richard Esposito, who heads the network’s investigative unit and was formerly an editor at The Daily News of New York, according to The Daily News. The Daily News was the first news outlet to disclose the NBC investigation.
Meanwhile, further scrutiny of Williams’ past statements surfaced Friday amid a challenge to his account of his experiences in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
In a 2006 interview with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Williams said he witnessed a body floating in the French Quarter area of the city.
“When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country,” Williams told Eisner, who suggested in the interview that Williams emerged from former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s shadow with his Katrina coverage.
“There were bodies in other parts (of the city), but there were no bodies in the Quarter,” Brobson Lutz, a former city health director for New Orleans, told USA TODAY, adding that the only body he retrieved from the neighborhood at the time was a restaurateur who died of a heart attack.
NBC News didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Roger Yu