New York, NY — Former NBC Nightly News host and current MSNBC anchor Brian Williams said today to the New York Times that he’s uniquely qualified to spot fake news given that he was so good at crafting it in the past.
“Well, you know how the old saying goes,” said Mr. Williams in the 90 minute interview, “‘it takes one to know one.’ And there is no one more qualified to report on the current fake news scourge than myself. I mean when you think about it, it’s like how Al Gore invented the Internet, except I invented fake news.”
On February 4, 2015 Williams apologized for and recanted an Iraq War story he had told on the January 30 Nightly News broadcast, that a military helicopter he was traveling in had been “forced down after being hit by an RPG.” Crew members of the other helicopters in the escort said they were forced to make an emergency landing, and that Williams’s Chinook arrived a half-hour to an hour later. Other incidents include Mr. Williams assertion that he witnessed the fall of the Berlin wall, when in fact he didn’t arrive until days later.
“It’s like the suicide I reported during Hurricane Katrina,” said Mr. Williams referring to a suicide incident inside the New Orleans Superdome that he said he witnessed, but in fact did not witness. “We watched, all of us watched, as one man committed suicide.”
More recently, Mr. Williams has run a series of reports on his daily MSNBC news programming noting how “fake news played a role in this election and continues to find a wide audience.”
“Let’s be clear here,” said Mr. Williams 45 minutes into his interview, “these fake news stories can be entertaining, but none of them rise to the level of what I was able to create. And of course that was wrong of me, but now I know and now I can use my platform to atone for my past transgressions. I mean, who would you trust to uncover these outlets? Facebook? The answer is I’m the most qualified.”
It’s unclear how his latest attacked on Fake News sites will be received by the public, but given their relatively short attention spans, Mr. Williams’ assault on this genre should be well received. And according to sources close to MSNBC, after he wins this battle, he plans on investigating harmful song lyrics and their influence on young people, which will carry on the tradition started by Tripper Gore in the 1980s.