Report: NBC Warned Brian Williams To Stop Telling Chopper Whopper

By now, you’ve surely heard about the Brian Williams’ “Chopper Whopper” story which has been dominating the news for the past 24 hours.

I think I may be the only blogger who hasn’t written about it, yet.

NBC Anchor Brian Williams has been telling people his helicopter was shot down in Iraq for several years and now he’s recanting, saying he “misremembered” the event.

Here is his original Dateline report from 2003 – which is apparently the accurate version. Some of the soldiers who were there, claim they didn’t see Williams during the “two harrowing nights” he claims he and his crew were stranded during the sand storm – but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

Somewhere along the line, his story morphed into something altogether else.

CNN has a timeline of how the story has changed over the years.

Stars and Stripes reporter Travis Tritten  broke the story after being contacted by annoyed soldiers who were there and know the truth.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.

Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

Ace tried to explain Williams’ confusion:

Let me help you out here, Brian. You conflated one aircraft — one you were in — with another aircraft — one you were not in — not due to a “mistake” but due to an age-old reportorial practice called lying to advance an agenda.

The agenda here was dressing up a soft, delicate little boy into a the sort of iron-stubbled man who looks like he belongs on a battlefield.

So you lied. You claimed you were on one of the helicopters that took fire; no human being could ever confuse “Me” or “Not Me.”

Steven Wright makes just that joke — “The other day I was — wait, no, that was someone else.”

See, Brian, it’s funny because we know that confusion about “Me” versus “Not Me” is not possible, except in the insane.

So you lied, and over the years you’ve lied and lied again

Via Variety – it gets even worse for Williams.

“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams said in the interview with the military newspaper.  “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.” He also posted an apology on his Facebook page and offered similar sentiments during Wednesday night’s broadcast of “Nightly News.” The Iraqi incident took place before Williams took over the “Nightly News” anchor desk from Tom Brokaw in 2004.

What makes Williams’ admission worse, according to one person familiar with the situation, is that he had been counseled in the past by senior NBC News executives to stop telling the story in public. The advice, this person said, was not heeded.  One person familiar with current NBC News operations disputed that information.

Williams’ version of the story has never been allowed in NBC News programs, according to three people familiar with the unit. Indeed, in a March, 2003, episode of “Dateline,” Williams described the helicopter trip accurately. “On the ground, we learned the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky,” he said while narrating a report.

Even sympathetic reporters admit that this story has done major damage to Williams’ credibility and his one minute, totally inadequate apology last night did little to repair the damage. Will Brian Williams still have a job at NBC after this weekend?

One thought on “Report: NBC Warned Brian Williams To Stop Telling Chopper Whopper

  1. I recognize this. This is not a one-off “mistake” by Williams, and Williams was NOT lying. This is a particular trait, or symptom, of individuals with a particular psychiatric “personality disorder”, usually designated as narcissistic personality disorder, malignant narcissism, or now-outdated definitions of a psychopath.

    I am not a psychiatrist. That said, I have had the misfortune of close relationships with two certifiable psychopaths (or whatever diagnosis or description you prefer). The trait/symptom evidenced by Williams is not listed among the diagnostic criteria of the personality disorders I mentioned. I know of this trait/symptom only from long-term and repeated personal experience.

    Whatever this personality disorder is called, one of its major symptoms is “misremembering” past events in the way that reflects best on the individual. That is, event “X” happens and event “Y” does NOT happen; but the individual “remembers” event “Y” as having happened, because event “Y” is what the individual would prefer had happened. Event “X” is incompatible with the individual’s delusional self-conception; therefore it did not happen. Conversely, IF event “Y” had happened, it would have made the individual appear to have been in line with his own self-image. So, even if event “Y” is complete fantasy and provable fabrication — to the individual with this personality disorder, it nevertheless happened.

    This is a psychological delusion. There is no intention to “misremember” events, and it is not a conscious choice to do so. It is entirely subconscious.

    This is not the same as two or more individuals each remembering an event in slightly different ways, or with different perspectives. Nor is it failing to remember an event accurately or with precision (e.g. “the witness claimed the car was red when, in fact, it was black”). This is the total mental re-creation of an event that did not happen or, alternately, the omission of an event which provably did happen.

    In addition, the individual is NOT lying when he “misremembers”. Whatever goes on inside each of our brains to create memories, that process is distorted in individuals with this trait/symptom. The affected individual would easily pass a polygraph test as he related the event not as it happened, but as he wishes it had happened. It is less like a foggy or imprecise memory of an event, and more akin to the memory of an “alien abduction” implanted in the mind of a subject by an unscrupulous hypnotist. The “abductee” not only believes, but “knows” that he was anally probed on the alien mothership by the “Grey” aliens. This, despite all rational evidence and proof against it.

    I can tell you that what Brian Williams is feeling right now is not remorse or shame at being caught having made up a story. What he is feeling right now is confusion, because he cannot understand how what he truly remembered happening did not actually happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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