February 9, 2015

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. So, a professional will look at this differently.

Williams insists he was “on the aircraft behind the one that was hit.”:

Also, remember, adding to the fear of the moment was the fact that we unhooked, our load master let loose a huge, our cargo, so you go through this over-torque where you rise in the air before you settle, despite what was some dandy piloting by the crews of all three aircraft. It was like landing on the surface of the moon.

On whether NBC intends to issue a correction to its earlier report featuring Tim Terpak:

I don’t know; I’ll talk to my boss. I am certainly willing. I did not, again … It’s very basic I would not have chosen to make this mistake. I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft from the other. The fact is, I remember three aircraft going down. I was on one of them.

The full interview is here.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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