In a lengthy interview with his NBC colleague Matt Lauer, disgraced (and former) NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams blamed his ego for a litany of lies told over many years to NBC News viewers and others. “I was not trying to mislead people,” he said.
This is the first leg of Brian Williams’ apology tour, and he badly bungled it. And I say this as someone who has called for Williams to get a second chance:
“I told the story correctly for years, before I told it incorrectly,” Williams said. “I was not trying to mislead people.”
Williams was then asked why he didn’t simply go on air and admit he lied back when the story first broke.
“I know why people would see it that way. It’s not what happened. What happened is the fault of a whole host of other sins. What happened is clearly part of my ego getting the better of me. To put myself in a better light, to appear better than I was, that’s the process here,” Williams said. …
“I would like to take this opportunity to say that what has happed in the past has been identified and torn apart by me. It has been fixed, has been dealt with. And going forward, there are going to be different rules of the road. I know why people feel the way they do. I get this. I’m responsible for this. I am sorry,” Williams said. “I am different as a result and I expect to be held to a different standard.”
Williams made two big mistakes here — in what was probably his last chance at a second chance.
First, he refused to admit that he lied and lied and lied and lied. His claim that he didn’t try to deliberately mislead people is simply preposterous. His real-time whoppers from Katrina (witnessing suicides that didn’t happen, floating dead bodies, roving gangs) had a devastating effect on then-President Bush. There were real world consequences to Williams’ tall tales. It wasn’t all fodder for late night talk shows.
Secondly, Williams refused an opportunity to correct the record on his lies.
I’ve also read that NBC News will not release the results of their own investigation into Williams’ serial lies.
If Williams is going to get a second chance as a newsman at MSNBC, the only way he can do so with a clean slate is to retract his lies and correct the record.
The bottom line here is that Brian Williams is still lying to us.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC