“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams will be taking some time away from his anchor's chair. In an email obtained by Mediaite Saturday and later posted on the NBC News website, Williams said he will be stepping away from the primetime news program's cameras “for the next several days.” NBC posted the email in what it called "a personal note" from the anchor.
Williams faced criticism this week over statements he made about being shot at in a helicopter in Iraq in 2003 and seeing dead bodies floating in New Orleans while reporting from the city during Hurricane Katrina. He apologized online and on-air Wednesday, but did not mention either claim or challenges to them on the Thursday or Friday editions of the newscast.
Mediaite reported Saturday that a new video surfaced from 2007 of Williams saying he looked into the tube of the RPG that fired at another one of the helicopters.
The longtime face of NBC's primetime news coverage became the subject of an investigation by journalists at NBC this week, and the network announced Saturday it would be looking into Williams' claims. “As you would expect, we have a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired,” NBC News President Deborah Turness said in an internal memo distributed to NBC staff, according to the Associated Press. “We’re working on what the best next steps are.”
Lester Holt, who currently anchors “NBC Nightly News” on the weekends, will step in for Williams, according to the email.
Below is the full correspondence from Williams.
In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.
As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.