In his first interview since the events which forced him to take a leave from NBC, Brian Williams sat down with Matt Lauer to discuss the scandal on the ‘TODAY’ show on June 19. He revealed that he ‘told stories that were wrong’ and admitted his actions came from a ‘bad place.’
On June 19, former Nightly News host Brian Williams, 56, broke his silence on the “misremember” heard ’round the world. Speaking with Today anchor Matt Lauer, Brian apologized and admitted that he “said things that weren’t true.” He confessed that his behaviors were “clearly ego driven,” but he was not intentionally trying to “mislead people.”
“I am sorry for what happened here,” Brian said, discussing the events publicly for the first time. “I am different as a result, and I expect to be held to a different standard.” Brian admitted that the past few months have been “torture” for him as he dealt with the scandal and looked back at his past reporting, but it’s been “absolutely necessary.”
Brian attempted to explain what happened that caused him to say things that weren’t true. “It is clear that after work when I got out of that realm, I used a double standard. Something changed. I was sloppier. I was saying things that weren’t true.” He went on to say that his actions were driven by his ego. “This clearly came from a bad place, a bad urge inside me. This was clearly ego driven to better my role in a story I was already in…I said things that were wrong. I told stories that were wrong.”
Brian’s interview with Matt comes on the heels of the announcement that Brian will return to NBC, after having stepped down back in February. He will not, however, be heading back to Nightly News, but rather, he has been relegated to MSNBC. Lester Holt, who has been filling in for Brian on his hiatus, will take over the post permanently.
After the announcement, which was made on June 18, Brian released a statement expressing his gratitude for the decision. “I’m sorry. I said things that weren’t true,” he said. “I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I’m determined to earn back their trust.”
On Feb. 7, Brian announced that he was stepping down from his Nightly News post, following his admission that he had lied about a near death experience in Iraq. Brian claimed that, back in 2003, the helicopter which he was on had gotten hit by enemy fire. When he admitted on the air that that was not in fact true, he was suspended from the Peacock for six months. His new position with MSNBC will only begin once that six months is complete.
Are you guys glad that Brian will return to television? Do you think his punishment has been fair?
— Casey Mink