COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - For network and local news anchors, credibility is their most important asset.
So when NBC's Brian Williams recently repeated a story that he was in a helicopter that came under fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, soldiers and airmen who knew better, because they were there when it didn't happen, called Williams on his lie.
Star and Stripes reports Williams' war story didn't sit well with soldiers aboard the formation of Chinook helicopters of the 159th Aviation Regiment that did get hit by enemy fire 12 years ago.
Williams was safe on another one, flying an hour away from the action.
Williams' lie is not the first by journalists or politicians eager to embellish their standing with the troops and the public. Remember when Hillary Clinton falsely claimed she was under sniper fire in Bosnia?
A story in Variety magazine now suggests NBC cautioned him not to repeat the story, but he did and the story will haunt his career. Williams should know better.
The news is no place for exaggeration or lies. Journalists aren't perfect and mistakes do get made, which is bad enough, even when those mistakes come from unintentional ignorance.
But Williams is no inexperienced newsman, and the men and women who live the life of warriors deserve respect and the truth, not a tall tale of stolen valor from a self-serving network anchorman.
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