Brian Williams, it turns out, may be the poster boy for “misremembering.” When this is all over, assuming it ever is all over, Brian may just write a book about Barack Obama. Given his history of “misremembering” and spinning stuff he may be the only man qualified to actually write Obama’s history.
We all know about the helicopter he was in that got hit by an RPG.
Turns out he was in New Orleans reporting on hurricane Katrina and saw some dead bodies floating by his French Quarter hotel.
He’s wearing waders. Apparently he’s never been outside of a secure room in the rain. Waders?
Williams’ account of seeing a body float by in the French Quarter — which remained largely dry — and even a claim of catching dysentery from drinking Katrina floodwaters have raised eyebrows among bloggers and elsewhere since he took it on the chin this week over a claim that he rode in a helicopter that was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq.
And last year, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, the man he replaced in the anchor chair at NBC, Williams said:
“My week, two weeks there was not helped by the fact that I accidentally ingested some of the floodwater. I became very sick with dysentery, our hotel was overrun with gangs, I was rescued in the stairwell of a five-star hotel in New Orleans by a young police officer. We are friends to this day. And uh, it just was uh, I look back at total agony.”
But the French Quarter, the original high ground of New Orleans, was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.
A spokesman for NBC did not immediately respond Thursday to questions about those comments…
Dr. Brobson Lutz, a former city health director who manned an EMS trailer that was set up in the 900 block of Dumaine Street, a block from his house in the French Quarter, said he was a fan of Williams but dubious of his claims.
“We were never wet. It was never wet,” he remarked of the conditions in the city’s most historic neighborhood.
As for dysentery, “I saw a lot of people with cuts and bruises and such, but I don’t recall a single, solitary case of gastroenteritis during Katrina or in the whole month afterward,” Lutz said.
As for Williams saying he accidentally drank floodwaters, Lutz added, “I don’t know anybody that’s tried that to see, but my dogs drank it, and they didn’t have any problems.”
Oh my. But, as they say in the infomercials, THERE’S MORE!!
Then there was the time when the young Mr. Williams was a volunteer fireman.
Fighting fires isn’t for everybody, but for me, it was the most pleasing act of volunteerism. It was tactile, tangible, and it paid huge dividends. It ties directly to your community and your neighbors.
My firehouse was a modest engine company — three engines, three garage doors and about 30 of the best men I’ve ever known. We fought all the usual fires that break out in the suburbs: brush fires, car fires, dumpsters, dryers, light fixtures — and worst of all, the occasional house, already in flames when we arrived. I remember one such house fire — the structure was fully involved with flames and smoke. I was wearing a breathing apparatus, conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet. I instinctively tucked it in my coat. When I got outside, I saw two small eyes staring up at me, and I returned the 3-week-old (and very scared) puppy to its grateful owners.
Now we’re not a firefighter. We don’t even know any firefighters. We do, however, have a hard time believing that real firefighters crawl around active fires poking around for things and putting squishy, furry things in their pockets. Smells like more smoke to us.
Oh, and then there’s the question as to whether it was one or two puppies. Sheesh, we thought our memory was bad.
Williams could be in trouble. The New York Times, who we are sure was happy to bury this story, had the original story on page B-7. The next day it was on Page 1, above the fold.
Who do you think will be his replacement? The woman who destroyed CBS News is available.