Originally published February 6 2015
NBC sets up 'Truth Squad' to maintain illusion of credibility after Brian Williams exposed as a liar
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The saga surrounding disgraced NBC News reader Brian Williams is continuing to unfold, as the network brass has announced an all-out probe into the anchor's overall body of reporting.
NBC's decision follows Williams' announcement that he is voluntarily stepping away from his nightly news anchor desk, following a Stars and Stripes exclusive about how he lied about being in a Chinook helicopter that was shot at by enemy forces during the early days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has since been suspended without pay for six months, other reports noted.
Since the initial report, several other instances of Williams telling tall tales have emerged, and now the network execs want to determine the extent of those in a bid to regain some of the nightly broadcast's shattered integrity.
As reported by the New York Post:
A special team of producers and news reporters has been assigned to investigate the network's big-bucks journalist after he claimed he was on a helicopter forced down by enemy fire while covering the Iraq war in 2003 -- when he was actually traveling safely on another chopper.
Now Williams is also on the hot seat over claims over his work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, when he said he watched dead bodies floating near his French Quarter hotel.
Williams wanted to spread the blame
After years of covering up the lie for Williams, NBC execs finally had to give in to public pressure and agree to the investigation when the anchorman admitted on the air that he had fabricated the incident. Williams was forced to cop to the fib after enough former U.S. military personnel who were either flying in choppers that were actually shot at that day or in the chopper with Williams (which was 30-60 minutes behind the flight of choppers under fire) contacted the network to complain.
The Post noted that Williams at first did not want to take sole blame for the Iraq "misremembering." The paper's Page Six noted that sources said in the original on-air apology script, Williams wanted to say his bogus story was "a bungled attempt by us [my emphasis] to thank one special veteran."
However, some of Williams' co-workers balked at that just before the broadcast, insisting he take full credit by changing that line to "a bungled attempt by me [my emphasis]." And the co-workers won the day.
In the days following the admission and Williams' departure from the broadcast, NBC News president Deborah Turness sent an email to employees announcing that the news division would be further scrutinizing Williams' other reporting.
"As you would expect, we have a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired," she wrote, according to the Post, which gained a copy of the email. "We're working on what the best next steps are."
No guarantee he will return to anchor's chair
The paper said that network sources commented that Williams' serial lies should never have come as a surprise to network news executives; they knew he was grossly overstating his Baghdad experiences and even advised him to tone down discussing them in public, but he refused.
"The top NBC executives knew the story was false and told him to stop telling it," an inside source told the Post. "They spent nearly a decade trying to protect Brian from himself. It was a constant battle."
The Washington Post reported Feb. 11 that senior NBC executives considered firing Williams:
The ultimate decision to suspend Williams for six months was made after an internal investigation unearthed other "instances of exaggeration," according to a person familiar with intense behind-the-scenes discussions between network officials and Williams.
Sources told WaPo that Williams has been unable to secure a guarantee from network execs that he can return to his anchor chair after his six-month sabbatical.
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