Kurtz: Williams Hasn't Explained Fabricated Iraq Helicopter Story
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is embroiled in controversy this morning after he recanted a story he'd told numerous times about being on a helicopter that was attacked in Iraq in 2003.
Williams had claimed over the years that he was in an aircraft that was shot down by RPG fire.
He apologized last night on his show, saying “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.”
Williams said he "misremembered" the events after service members spoke out to Stars & Stripes, disputing the news anchor's version.
They said Williams was not on the chopper that was hit and arrived after the attack occurred.
Veterans, however, aren't buying his explanation, accusing him of deliberately fabricating the tale and equating his actions with stolen valor.
“Brian knew what he was saying. He didn't forget what chopper he was on. It took the soldiers that were there to make him finally admit he lied about the incident,” SSG of the U.S. Army Anthony Anderson, who operates the Guardian of Valor website and Stolen Valor Facebook page, told FOX411. “Although it doesn't meet the definition [of] ‘Stolen Valor,’ it's still along the same lines, as he claimed to be in an incident involving combat that he wasn't in. I believe he only apologized because the soldiers protested. Had they not spoken up, would he have ever apologized for it?”
Kris “Tanto” Paronto, a former Army Ranger from 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and a survivor in the 2012 Benghazi Consulate attack, was outraged.
"This is one of, if not the most despicable acts of lying to those who have served and the United States Citizens. He is stealing valor from those that have actually seen combat, been shot at with RPG's and small arms fire," he said. "I can tell you from firsthand experience that you do not misremember being shot at. This lie and continual lying to cover up the first lie says a lot about Mr. Williams’ character, or lack thereof. This is a serious offense."
Howard Kurtz reacted this morning on "America's Newsroom," saying it's "hard to fathom" how someone could misremember an incident like this.
"If you're on a helicopter that is hit with a rocket-propelled grenade and is forced to land, I would think you would never forget that," said Kurtz.
Kurtz pointed out that Williams has repeated the story multiple times, with the details evolving over the years. He said this is a "credibility crisis" for NBC News.
"I don't think he has fully explained it. He's gonna need to address this more fully because so many questions are being raised," said Kurtz, adding that the bosses at NBC cannot ignore the issue and "hope it goes away."
Watch the segment above and see more from Howard this Sunday at 11a/5p ET on "Media Buzz."