Famed NBC journalist Tom Brokaw thinks that Nightly News anchor Brian Williams should be fired, according to a report from the New York Post's Page Six, which cited NBC insiders. Brokaw's ire was prompted by Williams' admission that a story he has often repeated about being in a helicopter, which was shot down during the 2003 Iraq war, was untrue.
“Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter,” the source told the paper. “He is making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.”
The source also said that both Brokaw and former NBC News President Steve Capus were aware that the story was untrue "for a long time and have been extremely uncomfortable with it."
Williams had repeatedly claimed that he had been traveling on a U.S. military helicopter that was downed by RPG fire during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, most recently on a Jan. 30 broadcast. He also told the story during an appearance on David Letterman's show.
NBC shared a clip of Williams recounting the story on Facebook, “Sorry dude, I don't remember you being on my aircraft. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened,” Lance Reynolds, the flight engineer for the helicopter that was struck, wrote in response, prompting Williams' on-air apology Thursday.
Speculation has been rife about whether Williams will, or should, lose his job or face some kind of sanction for the misrepresentation. Williams argued that it did not represent dishonesty, saying rather that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.”
Thus far, NBC News has made no official statement about the incident, and has announced no investigations or possible disciplinary measures, suggesting that the company is supporting the anchor, and hopes to ride out the wave of criticism he is currently attracting, the Washington Post reported.
“You could say it’s business as usual,” an anonymous NBC executive told the paper. “He has the whole support of NBC.”
In addition to the apparent support of NBC, Williams also has the support of his esteemed colleague Dan Rather, who defended Williams Thursday.
"I don't know the particulars about that day in Iraq. I do know Brian," Rather said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post. "He's a longtime friend and we have been in a number of war zones and on the same battlefields, competing but together. Brian is an honest, decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor -- and a brave one. I can attest that -- like his predecessor Tom Brokaw -- he is a superb pro, and a gutsy one."