Williams was providing coverage of the Trump administration’s missile strike on Syria when he suddenly went off on a bizarre tangent.
Williams, 57, began waxing poetic about the death and destruction raining down on the Syrian military base as if it were a Fourth of July fireworks display.
“We see these beautiful pictures at night, from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” he began.
I can't wait to hear Brian Williams, years from now, boast about riding astride a Tomahawk missile as it flew through the Syrian sky.
— Nima Shirazi (@WideAsleepNima) April 7, 2017
If Brian Williams thinks missiles are beautiful, just wait until he sees a giant, blooming mushroom cloud.
— Warren Holstein (@WarrenHolstein) April 7, 2017
Brian williams actually rode on the cruise missile pic.twitter.com/AoI2jyxIut
— Export Fit (@FitExport) April 7, 2017
“I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons,’ and they are beautiful pictures of our fearsome armaments, making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield.”
He then asked his guest, “What did they hit?” Um… people?
Williams was describing the 59 Tomahawk missiles that slammed into the airbase, killing at least six people, including possibly women and children, according to the Syrian Armed Forces General Command.
The line is from Cohen’s 1987 song, “First We Take Manhattan.” The verse goes like this:
I’m guided by a signal in the heavens (guided, guided)
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin (guided, guided by)
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons (guided)
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin
Cohen was actually singing in praise of terrorists, according to a 1988 Washington Post interview
“I think it means exactly what it says,” he said.
“It is a terrorist song. I think it’s a response to terrorism. There’s something about terrorism that I’ve always admired. The fact that there are no alibis or no compromises. That position is always very attractive,” he added.
So basically, Williams was equating the U.S. missile strike to a terrorist act.
What’s shocking about this is that Williams was once considered the most prestigious and trusted news anchor on television.
His career came tumbling down in 2015.
He’d repeated a story dozens, if not hundreds of times, about how the Chinook helicopter he was riding in took a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) in 2003 during the Iraq War.
The chopper, he said, was forced to land with the crew and passengers in peril.
It’s the kind of derring-do that won him praise for his courage and commitment to journalism. It put him head-and-shoulders above other news anchors.
But the military newspaper Stars & Stripes published an interview with chopper crew members who said he was nowhere near the fight. Williams was forced to issue a humiliating apology and admit the story was not true.
His reporting on Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was also called into question over a report that he saw a dead body floating in the street outside his hotel.
It turned out Williams’ hotel was no where near the flood.
After that, he was booted over to MSNBC.
Needless to say, Twitter erupted in a torrent of criticism over the latest faux pas.
The rap on Williams from NBC News insiders is that he’s a great reader with great on-air presence, but dumb as a plank. Now add to that tone deaf about events he covers.
There may have been some hope that he could rehabilitate his career by rebuilding his credibility on the cable news network. But now even that is in doubt.
It’s unknown, at the moment, whether he was merely reading words scripted for him or he was ad-libbing.
Either way, he owns the words, and he owes his viewers another apology.
Check out the video below.
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