NBC News presenter, Brian Williams, has today announced he is stepping away from hosting the Nightly News for a few days.
“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,” said Williams.
“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.”
This comes days after Williams recanted a story he had told about being aboard a helicopter hit by RPG fire and forced to land on 24th March 2003, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
His initial and subsequent reporting of the incident indicated that a helicopter in front of his was hit by the RPG. However, during the NBC Nightly News broadcast on 30th January 2015, Williams inaccurately recounted the incident, stating that it was the helicopter he was on that was “hit and crippled by enemy fire”.
His story was soon criticised by Lance Reynolds, a flight engineer who was on board one of the three helicopters that had been attacked. Reynolds and other crew members said they were forced to make an emergency landing, and that it was a half hour to an hour later that Williams’ Chinook helicopter arrived on the scene. Williams investigated the damage and interviewed crew members about the attack.
On the February 4th broadcast of Nightly News, Williams apologised, stating that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” and extended his respect and apology to the “brave men and women in the air crews who were also in the desert.”