Brian Williams recently found himself on the other side of the table when he sat down to be interviewed by Matt Lauer. The longtime journalist, who is usually the one asking the questions, spoke to Lauer for his first interview since he was suspended from NBC.
Williams, 56, spoke about his highly publicized fall from grace this past February, when inconsistencies began to appear in a war reporting story he told. The journalist was then suspended for six months by NBC, and has since been replaced on Nightly News by Lester Holt. The network announced on Thursday, June 18, that Williams will be moving to MSNBC.
"It has been torture," Williams told Lauer, 57, of his suspension, in a segment that aired on the Today show on Friday, June 19. "Looking back, it has been absolutely necessary. I have discovered a lot of things. I have been listening to and watching what amount to the black box recordings from my career. I've gone back through everything, basically 20 years of public utterances."
Williams then admitted that those many utterances over the years have not always been 100 percent accurate.
"I was sloppier and I said things that weren't true," he said. "Looking back, that's plain… Looking back, it had to have been ego that made me think I had to be sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else, put myself closer to the action, having been at the action in the beginning."
Williams began his career with NBC in the early 1990s, quickly rising in the ranks until reaching the anchor desk of Nightly News in 2004. In his capacity with the network, he covered world events from Hurricane Katrina to presidential elections to the war in Iraq.
"I told the story correctly for years before I told it incorrectly," Williams continued to Lauer about the now-infamous tale of his involvement with an attack on a helicopter in Iraq. "I was not trying to mislead people — that to me is a huge difference here. After that incident, I tried and failed, as others have tried and failed — why is it when we're trying to say, 'I'm sorry' that we can't come out and say, 'I'm sorry'?"
"I told stories that were not true over the years," he added. "Looking back, it is very clear. I never intended to. It got mixed up, it got turned around in my mind… I get this, I'm responsible for this, I am sorry. I'm different as a result and I expect to be held to a different standard."
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