Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes publishes transcript of Brian Williams interview

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes Monday made public a full accounting of its earlier interview with embattled TV anchor Brian Williams, providing context for the story that has developed into a scandal in recent days.

In the interview, which includes audio, Williams discusses with Stars and Stripes reporter Travis Tritten in detail how he might have misremembered his now-disputed war story:

On how he confused which helicopter he was in:

It was my first engagement of the war and remember I was — we were all I think scared, I have yet to meet the veteran who doesn’t admit to cinching [sic] up a little bit when it starts, and it all became a fog of getting down on the ground, what do we do now, taking our direction from the air crews — I’m traveling with a retired four-star general — and then the arrival of the armored ‘mech’ platoon.

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Veterans force NBC’s Brian Williams to apologize

NBC News anchor Brian Williams said on the evening broadcast Wednesday that he made a mistake when he said on air last week that he had been in a military helicopter that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in the early days of the American invasion of Iraq 12 years ago.

On Friday, Williams had told a story on air about a veteran he met in Iraq. They stayed in touch over the years and Williams invited the soldier to a hockey game. At the game, they were surprised that the game announcer told the crowd about the chance encounter after Williams’ chopper was shot down.

Williams said on the air:

“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG. Read more

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Ferguson makes national and international front pages again

News from Ferguson, Missouri through the night told a markedly different story than it had since Saturday, when a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. The change in the police force covering crowds of protesters, that crowd’s response and several vigils and protests around the country made news in and out of the U.S. Here are some of those front pages, courtesy, as always, Newsuem: Read more


Stars and Stripes fears move to Fort Meade will erode editorial independence

The Washington Post | Poynter
Stars and Stripes is moving from the National Press Building in Washington, D.C., to Fort Meade. The relocation to a godforsaken Maryland suburb, ordered by the Pentagon, “would place the newspaper in the same facility as one of the military’s main public-affairs operations,” Paul Farhi writes.

“It creates the perception of a lack of independence, that we are doing the bidding of the Pentagon, so to speak,” said Terry Leonard, Stars and Stripes’ top editor. “That’s a huge problem. . . . It’s a step-by-step process. How long will it take before we get absorbed into the great [public affairs] monstrosity that the DoD has?”

Craig Silverman called Mark Prendergast’s recent exit from the paper “one of the most acrimonious departures of an ombudsman in recent memory, if not of all time.” Prendergast’s fiery farewell column last month asserted the paper’s “standing as an independent source of news is threatened by a wrongheaded government response to the WikiLeaks disclosures that raises the specter of censorship.” (Interesting: Last week, Bill Keller opined that “the most palpable legacy of the WikiLeaks campaign for transparency is that the U.S. Read more


Stars and Stripes’ new ombudsman begins work as predecessor’s criticisms reverberate

Last week was Ernie Gates’ first as the new ombudsman of Stars and Stripes, the Defense Department-funded newspaper charged with offering independent coverage of the U.S. military community.

Gates brings with him decades of experience, including a long stint in leadership roles at the Daily Press in Hampton Roads, Va., a place with a strong military connection. Unfortunately for Gates, he also comes to the role with the knowledge that his predecessor’s term was marked by strong disagreements with the paper’s leadership and the Pentagon.

Those disagreements culminated in a scathing farewell column from former ombudsman Mark Prendergast, who completed a three-year term in January. He voiced a litany of criticisms about how he was treated during his tenure, raised concerns that the ombudsman role was being weakened, and warned that “Stars and Stripes’ standing as an independent source of news is threatened by a wrongheaded government response to the WikiLeaks disclosures that raises the specter of censorship.”

Prendergast is an associate professor of journalism at St. Read more

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