Before NBC’s Brian Williams apologized this week for making false claims about his coverage of the Iraq war in 2003, NBC was running promotional television ads about the “trust” the anchor had built up with his audience over the years.
That’s how NBC has branded Williams — as someone who speaks with authority and who viewers have come to trust over time — and that’s why this week’s revelation about the newsman’s discredited claims about his time in Iraq could be so damaging.
In recent weeks — before Williams’ public apology for wrongly claiming to have been aboard a military helicopter shot down over Iraq — the network has been running a number of different promotional ads marking “10 Years with Brian Williams.”
One ad, uploaded on NBC’s YouTube account in December, is titled, “Trust.”
Narrated by actor Michael Douglas, the ad goes: “It’s a thing that you build slowly, over time. It can happen during big moments. More often, it’s the day-to-day things. And what you build if you work hard enough, if you respect it, is a powerful thing called trust.”
Earlier this week, Stars and Stripes first reported that Williams admitted that he was not on a helicopter hit by an RPG, despite having made that claim in multiple instances over the years. In his public apology, Williams said he simply misremembered the details of his experience, and that it was another helicopter that had been fired upon.
“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” Williams said. “I want to apologize.”