Brian Williams demoted in wake of ‘mis-remember’ incident

It looks like a decision has been made in the case of embattled news anchor Brian Williams months after being forced to leave his anchor desk at NBC Nightly News.

Now, various media outlets are reporting that Williams will take up a spot at MSNBC, the cable news network that has been struggling to reinvent itself as ratings there, in certain prime time slots, have dropped significantly. MSN reports that Williams will contribute across MSNBC programming covering breaking news.

Williams’ career came to a crashing halt in February when it was revealed he misrepresented events about his Iraq war coverage. Williams had exaggerated stories about being in a helicopter shot down in Iraq in 2003 by RPG fire. Turns out the story was bogus, as he was on a trailing chopper that was not hit.

Brian Williams

According to the Washington Post, one of Williams’s questionable accounts is about receiving a piece of the top-secret Black Hawk helicopter that crash-landed during the U.S. military raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.  The Post reports, in a series of appearances on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” after the raid, Williams described his relationship with SEAL Team 6, the elite Navy unit that assassinated bin Laden, and implied that the relationship led to his receiving the gift.

While current and former SEAL members said they doubt Williams embedded with the commandos, one aspect of the story appears to be true.  According to several people at NBC, Williams did receive a piece of the helicopter, but not from the SEALs. The source of the souvenir was an unidentified journalist from another news organization who visited bin Laden’s compound after the raid and collected pieces of the aircraft, they said.

Williams apologized for his error on-air, claiming he made a mistake on recalling what had happened.  But the apology didn’t help.  He was suspended without pay, back in February for six months. An NBC News investigation reportedly found at least 11 instances where Williams had exaggerated or misled while recounting stories he was assigned to.

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