NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams is in hot water after he apologized for telling a false Iraq war story, claiming he was simply confused. But The New Orleans Advocate reports that Williams’ reporting is raising some eyebrows among Hurricane Katrina survivors, who describe much of his reporting at the time as confused or impossible. (VIDEO: NBC’s Brian Williams Recants, Apologizes For Telling False War Story)
The biggest contradiction is that Williams claims he saw a dead, floating body in the French Quarter:
“When you look out of your hotel room window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh in Indonesia and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country. I beat that storm. I was there before it arrived. I rode it out with people who later died in the Superdome.”
Hot Air’s Noah Rothman points out another, similar claim by Williams:
“I will remember all of the dead for the rest of my life. When you come around the corner and see a body face down within sight of the Superdome on a city street with children and adults walking by it, you know something has come unraveled.”
The problem, the Advocate points out, is that “the French Quarter, the original high ground of New Orleans, was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.” Indeed, the reason the Superdome was chosen as an evacuation point was because the French Quarter was considered safe from flooding.
“We were never wet,” says Dr. Brobson Lutz, a former city health director who lives in the French Quarter, “It was never wet.” Dr. Lutz is also very dubious of another of Williams’ claims: that he managed to contract dysentery through contact with the floodwaters. “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.”
And while not exactly impossible, many of Williams’ claims seem incredible. He claims, for example, that while suffering from dysentery in a stairwell, his five-star hotel was overrun by gangs and he had to be rescued by a police office. (VIDEO: NBC Promo Paid Tribute To Brian Williams’ ‘Battle Scars’)
“We had to have men with guns behind me one night because I was the only source of light downtown, was the lights that were illuminating the broadcast,” Williams said at another point. “We were told not to drink our bottled water in front of people because we could get killed for it.”
“I saw fear, I saw death, I saw depravity, I saw firearms being brandished, I saw looting,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
[h/t New Orleans Advocate]