8 Ways Brian Williams Said He Lied In His First Interview With NBC... Without Actually Saying Those Words
Though he's spent months on suspension, Brian Williams just gave his first interview to TODAY about his ordeal with NBC Nightly News, and you guys — you're gonna want to check it out. As you probably recall, his suspension was put in place after it was discovered that Williams had been inflating and exaggerating details of his time in the field, and then presenting them as fact, like when he stated he was in a helicopter. Which is really just a nice way of saying that he lied. Williams spent ten years in the anchor chair, during which he was responsible to deliver up-to-date, informative, and most of all accurate news to his audience, and by embellishing his past, he failed in that duty. For that reason, NBC not only suspended him without pay through August, but has also announced that Williams will not be reinstated in his former position upon his return; instead giving it to Lester Holt, whose been filling in since Williams left in February.
So, this interview. It was of course with NBC, because they wouldn't want to let another network scoop an interview their own story, and also presumably so they could help cushion the blow for Williams, as he is staying at with NBC. And they actually did a pretty good job of handling the sensitive issue.
In his interview with Matt Lauer, Williams looks like he's taking responsibility and sounds like he's taking responsibility, but never quite does. In the same way that I hedged around saying that Williams told an outright falsehood earlier by saying he'd "inflated" and "exaggerated" facts, he never quite gets around to saying "I lied" either. He got very close, but he always found a nice, anchor-y way of making it sound like it was just a big ol' mix-up, by gawsh. Take a look at all the ways he implied that he lied without using those exact words.
1. "I said things that weren't true."
Shoot, if only we had another word for that. You're so close, dude.
2. "This was clearly ego driven, the desire to better my role in a story I was already in."
You guys, he was just making the stories better. He's a teller of tall tales, like Paul Bunyan.
3. "I wasn't trying to mislead people."
Oh whoops. Guess you shouldn't have lied to their faces then.
4. "I have always treated words very carefully."
5. "I own this."
Would have loved "this is my fault," but sure.
6. "A chastened and grateful man, mindful of his blessings, mindful of his mistakes, returns hoping for forgiveness and acceptance."
This one is Williams writing the headline for his (hopeful — in his mind, anyway) return to a position of authority at NBC. Listen, he's made mistakes. Is it just me, or is this super reminiscent of a Justin Bieber-style apology?
7. "I am sorry for what happened here. I am different as a result."
I think I love this one most of all. Something didn't happen here, like you had no control over it. You did something. You lied. You happened here.
8. "There are going to be different rules of the road."
Hi I'm Brian Williams, and I will try very hard not to make up the news from now on, without giving you any specifics about how I might do that.
I'm really sorry that you "happened" this to yourself, Brian Williams. Best of luck with your decision whether or not to lie about stuff going forward.
Images: Getty (8)