If Williams will lie about his exploits in Iraq, he will lie about anything. The latest focus of investigation is on his fantastic stories about Hurricane Katrina. His tales of seeing a dead body float by his French Quarter hotel room in New Orleans after the storm are being questioned by many people who were in city during the storm.
Reports indicate that Williams stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Canal Street, bordering the French Quarter. NOPD Captain James Scott, who, during Katrina, led the 1st District of New Orleans right outside of the French Quarter, told the local media that he could not recall seeing a body near the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Of course, the French Quarter is the oldest and highest area of the New Orleans and it did not flood during the hurricane.
To make his story even more dramatic, Williams said he drank flood waters and contracted dysentery, however, the city’s former Health Director Brobson Lutz doubts the veracity of the anchor’s claim. According to Lutz, “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.”
Williams also stated that he was trapped inside a stairwell and rescued from roaming gangs by a rookie police officer that he remains friendly with even today. Of course, none of his statements can be verified, but due to his lies about his reporting during the Iraq War, nothing that he says can be believed without proof.
This is a crisis for NBC News, which already receives ample criticism for its management of the cable network MSNBC, which is suffering from historically low ratings. Williams just signed a multi-year contract paying his $10 million, so the network will be reluctant to completely sever ties with him. However, this scandal is doing tremendous harm to the network’s reputation and the longer this goes on without disciplinary action; the worse it will be for NBC.
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In the meantime, the whole “lying Brian” story will only give viewers another reason to turn off television news and get their news from other sources such as the Internet and talk radio.