Twitter mocks Brian Williams’ coverage of the Pope with ‘misremembered’ stories

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brian Williams Quietly Returns to Anchor Desk After Scandal to Cover the Pope’s U.S. Visit: Watch Now.

As Brian Williams returned to TV Tuesday with coverage of Pope Francis’ first U.S. visit, Twitter poked fun of the lying anchor’s history of “misremembering” stories. Meanwhile, Williams kept his real coverage on MSNBC strictly focused on the Pope’s visit, failing to mention the lies that kept him off the air for six months. I’m Brian Williams at MSNBC headquarters here in New York,” the network’s new “breaking news anchor” said. “In a short time, Pope Francis will arrive in this country for the first time…” He was polished and smooth with his delivery — as would be expected by a network news anchor who was at the top of his field before he was suspended for lying last winter. Without any pomp and circumstance, former NBC Nightly News anchor made his return to television news on Tuesday, Sept. 22, more than seven months after his suspension.

He nearly fired after an internal investigation found at least 11 instances in which Williams embellished details of stories involving himself — but was instead punished with a suspension. Despite the spiritual theme of the unfolding papal story, Williams never acknowledged the transgressions that led to his absence from television and reassignment to MSNBC from the anchor of the NBC’s flagship news telecast “Nightly News.” An NBC News source said Williams did not need to mention his troubles on air, given that he apologized in June during a sweat-soaked interview with Matt Lauer. Williams was joined for the occasion by a small army of NBC News personnel, including Chris Jansing, NBC’s senior White House correspondent; Maria Shriver at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd; and Kate Snow. “He made a mistake and he’s paid a heavy price but at the same time I wouldn’t be comfortable working here if he hadn’t been given a second opportunity,” Todd said. “A lot of people here feel that way.”There were a few minor hiccups. At one point in the telecast, Williams tried to question correspondent Anne Thompson — but she was already on NBC’s parallel coverage talking to “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt.

Williams anchored the broadcast from MSNBC’s main news desk but is expected to move to a far smaller, newly constructed “phone booth” studio as the cable channel’s new direction calls for much more breaking news during the day than in the past. It got turned around in my mind,” Williams told Today’s Matt Lauer in June. “I own up to this.” At the time he also talked about his new role at MSNBC, saying, “I’m very happy to be coming back. In the investigation, many questionable comments came to light: he claimed he saw rockets passing “just beneath” the Israeli helicopter in which he was traveling in Lebanon in 2006.; he offered different people — including Jon Stewart during an appearance on “The Daily Show” — different accounts of where he was reporting from during the Arab Spring uprisings in early 2011; he even made a claim that he was “fortunate” to have stood at the Brandenburg Gate the night the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

Another alleged subject investigators looked at were claims Williams had changed his account of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Catholic University in the late 1970s while he was a student there. The Twittersphere didn’t take long to start mocking Williams’ lengthy papal coverage, creating the #brianwilliamspopestories hashtag to have some fun with his past penchant for tall tales.

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