Brian Williams holds a certain fascination. How can a person lie so easily, so enthusiastically, so deftly?
He apparently lies at the drop of a hat – or should I say at the drop of a mention of any event someone puts in his path. It can be as mundane as a puppy – he said he rescued one, no, two from a burning building. Someone brings up the Berlin Wall and he inserts himself at its fall, right next to Tom Brokaw. Or maybe it’s the Iraq War and then he claims to have been on a chopper that was shot down. They called Fed Chairman Ben Bernancke “helicopter Ben” because he was ready to sweep in and insert himself into a financial mess. Maybe Williams should be “Helicopter Brian” because whatever occurrence there was, Williams choppers himself into the thick of it, like Hurricane Katrina when he says he saw a body float down the French Quarter.
Now add another to his raconteur greatest hits. According to the New York Post, this time it was his coverage of the riots in Cairo during the Arab Spring:
Williams – serving a six-month suspension from the anchor desk at “NBC Nightly News” – gave conflicting accounts in February 2011 of his actions in Tahrir Square, where pro- and anti-government forces engaged in violent clashes, the New York Times reported.
Appearing on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” Williams said he “actually made eye contact with the man on the lead horse,” referring to camel- and horse-riding pro-government troops.
Stewart asked about reports that the pro-government forces were using whips, and Williams said about the leader he claimed to have encountered: “Yeah, he went around the corner after I saw him, they pulled out whips and started beating human beings on the way.”
But the network’s reports on the clashes said Williams was working from a balcony overlooking Tahrir Square — not on the ground from the chaotic square itself.
Williams, 55, was suspended on Feb. 10 after being accused of lying about coming under fire while flying in a military chopper in Iraq.
The Times said the investigation is continuing and that no decisions had been made about Williams’ fate.
When you see someone self immolate, it’s hard not to look away. His ego is a towering inferno. It’s hard to imagine someone thinking he can get away with it, but he did for a long time, amassing millions along the way.
Bet there are even more stories to come. Stay tuned.