11 Brian Williams Quotes From His 'Today' Show Interview That Suggest His "Stories" Go Back Years
On Friday, the Today show broadcast an interview between disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams and Matt Lauer — a segment that marked Williams' first public interview since allegations that he'd lied on-air about his past experiences surfaced. The interviews, filmed in New York late this week, likely took place after Williams had learned that he would not be returning to his Nightly News job — now helmed by Lester Holt — and instead would become an anchor on MSNBC. (NBC said publicly Thursday that this would be the case.) In the interview, Williams made a series of statements implying that, as had been widely reported by the New York Times and other outlets, Williams' exaggerated or false stories went further than his notorious claim about being in an Iraq helicopter that came under fire.
Although Williams was clearly vulnerable and apparently open in the interview, in which Lauer pushed Williams on what he'd learned in the months since his suspension, he's been criticized for not simply apologizing for his actions — instead, he offered a long-winded and somewhat vague explanation of his experience — and for being interviewed by another member of his own network. Lauer and Today, after all, may be more reluctant to ask Williams the hard questions and condemn him for actions in the way that many feel he deserves.
Here are a few instances in which Williams implied that his lies went further than the Iraq helicopter tale that got him in trouble in the first place.
On What He's Learned
"Looking back, it has been absolutely necessary."
On Evaluating Past Statements
"I have been listening to and watching the... what amount to the black box recordings from my career. I've gone through everything. Basically 20 years of public utterances."
On The "Statements" That He'd Made On-Air
"These statements I made — I own this. I own up to this."
On What Had Prompted Him To Do So
"I had to... figure out how it happened. It has been a time of realization , trying to find out in me what changed."
On What Had Changed Before He Started Making These
"I used a double standard. Something changed."
On The "Sloppiness" That Contributed
"I was sloppier. And I said things that weren't true. Looking back, that's plain."
On The Main Reason He Fabricated Or Exaggerated
"It had to be ego that made me think I had to be sharper, funnier, quicker, than anybody else."
On What Exactly Happened
"It came from a bad place. It came from a sloppy choice of words. I told stories that were not true, over the years, looking back. It is very clear."
On The "Things" He Said That Were Wrong
"I said things that were wrong. One is too much. Any number north of zero is too many. We can't have it."
On What He Blames
"What happened is the fault of the whole host of other sins. What happened is clearly part of my ego getting the better of me."
On His Not Making The Same Mistakes
"I would like to take this opportunity to say that what has happened in the past has been identified and torn apart by me. And has been fixed. And has been dealt with."