In February, Brian Williams was suspended from his role as anchor of NBC's "Nightly News" after it was revealed that he's spun tales about his time in Iraq that weren't true. Now, four months later, Williams has broken his silence in an interview with "The Today Show's" Matt Lauer.
In the interview, which aired on Friday, Williams "owned up" to telling stories that weren't true, but maintains it wasn't intentional.
"I told stories that were not true over the years. Looking back, it is clear that I never intended to. It got mixed up. It got turned around in my mind," Williams said. He added that he told the story correctly for years before telling it incorrectly.
Although the suspension has been "torture," it was "absolutely necessary," Williams told Lauer in the interview that was held without conditions or guidelines. The NBC News veteran says that he spent the time looking over the "black box" of his 20 year career to figure out how this happened.
"Looking back, it had to have been ego that made think I needed to be sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else," Williams said. He explained that this was the result of a sloppy choice of words. "It wasn't from a place that I was trying to use my job and title to mislead."
In the wake of the revelation that Williams' story about riding in a helicopter that crashed due to enemy fire when he was in Iraq wasn't true, NBC conducted an internal review of his stories. The network announced Thursday that the review "found that Williams made a number of inaccurate statements about his own role and experiences covering events in the field." Furthermore, Williams will not be returning NBC "Nightly News." Instead, he is being reassigned to MSNBC as an anchor of breaking news and special reports when his unpaid suspension ends in August.
"What has happened in the past has been identified and torn apart by me and has been fixed and has been dealt with," Williams said when Lauer gave him the opportunity to correct the record on other instances when he didn't tell the truth. "Going forward, there will be a different set of rules."
Although many applauded the fact that Lauer didn't hold anything back in the interview, there were still some who weren't satisfied with what Williams said.
Brian Williams calling his suspension "torture" does not suggest that lessons about the danger of hyperbole have been learned.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) June 19, 2015
Brian Williams completely bungled his interview with Matt Lauer. He's not ready to be back in the news.
— Samuel Richard (@samuelisaac) June 19, 2015
This interview is not making Brian Williams look any better.
— Brett (@Brosner85) June 19, 2015
Watching the Brian Williams interview. I don't think he's helping himself. Seems apologetic but I'm not feeling the 100% accountability.
— Chris Brathwaite (@ChrisBrathw8) June 19, 2015
Here's the first part of his interview with Lauer: