Brian Williams and the Fog of War

Our panel discusses Brian Williams and the fog of war. Can the NBC Nightly News anchor survive revelations that he "misremembered" being on a helicopter hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq? What’s next for NBC News and the man once heralded as "the most trusted newsman in America?" Jackie Spinner, an assistant professor at Columbia College Chicago and former Washington Post staff writer covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Timothy McNulty, lecturer and co-director of the National Security Journalism Initiative at Medill and who has experience as a war correspondent, and Thom Serafin, founder and CEO of Serafin & Associates which is a public relations firm that specializes in crisis management, join us.

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Watch Dateline Special: Operation Iraqi Freedom, which was Williams’ original report from Kuwait City and aired March 26, 2003.

Watch Williams’ March 26, 2013 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in which he talks about two of the four helicopters coming under fire, including the helicopter he was in a decade earlier in Iraq. The story starts about 2:45 into the clip.

Watch Williams’ Feb. 2, 2015 report on the 2003 incident in Iraq and New York Rangers game he attended with Sgt. Major Tim Terpak, who was responsible for Williams’ safety while in Iraq and recently retired from the Army.

Listen to the Stars and Stripes Feb. 4 interview with Williams in which Williams admits the helicopter he rode on was not hit by fire during his time in Iraq in 2003.

Watch Williams’ Feb. 4, 2015 retraction and apology for incorrectly stating the helicopter he rode on came under fire in Iraq in 2003.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, Williams issued “a personal note,” detailing his decision to remove himself from the air. Read the note:

A Personal Note from Brian Williams


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 actions.

As 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.

Since the news broke about Williams’ changing account of what happened in Iraq in 2003, #BrianWilliams and #BrianWilliamsMemories have been trending on Twitter. Read a selection of tweets below.

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