Now that NBC Anchor Brian Williams has been caught in a lie, other stories that Williams covered become suspect as well.
In an interview with Michael Eisner, Williams talk ed about his experience covering Katrina.
“When you look out of your hotel room window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh in Indonesia and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country,” Williams said. “I beat that storm. I was there before it arrived. I rode it out with people who later died in the Superdome.”
Hot Air writes it’s a harrowing, traumatic tale, and it might be true. No doubt, bodies did float down the streets of New Orleans. People did die while awaiting help from local, state, and federal authorities in the Superdome.
But did Williams actually see bodies floating down the street from his hotel in the French Quarter? Well, it’s possible, but reports from the period shed some doubt on this claim.
Reporting from The Times-Picayune, Fox News, and The New York Times all state clearly that the French Quarter was not flooded in the same way that other areas of the city, like the Lower Ninth Ward, were inundated.
Even during the height of the crisis, The Times described the French Quarter as an “oasis of wary calm” amid an escalating crisis. “Outside, the Quarter’s elegant 150-year-old buildings look relatively unruffled, except for some loosened bricks, having been spared the worst of Hurricane Katrina’s winds and sitting high enough to have avoided the flooding,” the report read.
Now, perhaps Williams was thinking of another area of the city that was more heavily flooded when he recalled bodies floating down the streets. Maybe there is no discrepancy here at all, and Williams recalled seeing more flooding than was officially recorded. Who knows? But the fact that these and perhaps more episodes from Williams’ past are now suspect and will be revisited is an indication of the scope of the credibility problem with which NBC and the Nightly News are now contending.
Here is Williams talking about his Katrina experience: