Brian Williams Criticizes Fake News After Losing NBC Job for Exaggerating Iraq Story

December 8, 2016

MSNBC host Brian Williams called out President-elect Donald Trump and members of his transition team on Tuesday night for their history of sharing fake news on Twitter, despite Williams being fired from NBC Nightly News for exaggerating details of his time reporting in Iraq.

"Another former general in the Trump circle is receiving new attention: his National Security Advisor-designate Mike Flynn," Williams reported Tuesday. "Flynn's son was fired by the Trump transition team today for passing on fake news stories via Twitter."

Williams noted that the elder Flynn had also passed along some fake news on his own Twitter account.

"Here are a few [examples of fake news]: [Hillary Clinton] is involved with child sex-trafficking and has secretly waged war on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that [President Obama] is a jihadi who laundered money for Muslim terrorists," Williams said.

The MSNBC host then talked about how fake news had played a role in the 2016 election and that it continues to find a wide audience in spreading misinformation.

Williams did not mention his own history of exaggerating details of his own reporting. In February 2015, Williams was suspended as the anchor of NBC's Nightly News and eventually removed from the position after it was discovered that he falsely claimed he was on a helicopter under enemy fire in Iraq in 2003, Stars and Stripes reported on Feb. 4, 2015.

"The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG," Williams said on the broadcast. "Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry."


Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.

That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.

"No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft," he said Wednesday.

"I don't know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another," Williams said after crew members from the damaged helicopter came forward.

Williams is now hosting his own nightly show on the MSNBC network at 11:00 p.m.