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Brian Williams’ Katrina reporting under scrutiny

The Hill logo The Hill 2/6/2015 David McCabe
Medal of Honor group has no comment on if Williams will stay on board © Provided by The Hill Medal of Honor group has no comment on if Williams will stay on board

Critics are questioning stories NBC News anchor Brian Williams told about his experience reporting on Hurricane Katrina, just days after he admitted that he told an untrue story for years about his time reporting from Iraq.

In particular, bloggers have honed in on a story Williams has told about seeing a body float by his hotel in the French Quarter, the New Orleans Advocate reported Friday.

“When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country,” Williams said in a 2006 interview.

The Advocate reported that the French Quarter — a historic neighborhood popular with tourists — was never flooded in the way other districts of the city were. A Federal Emergency Management Agency document says that flood levels in the French Quarter were low or nonexistent.

The paper also scrutinized Williams' claim that he had contracted dysentery after accidentally drinking floodwater. The paper quoted a man who had provided medical assistance to people during the storm as saying he hadn’t seen a single case of dysentery in the month after the storm.

Williams’ award-winning coverage of the hurricane was a milestone for him, and cemented his credibility as he took over the anchor chair from Tom Brokaw.

A spokeswoman for NBC News did not respond to a request for comment on the Advocate's story.

The scrutiny of his Katrina story originated on conservative blogs after he admitted to telling the incorrect story about Iraq.

This week, the longtime NBC anchor admitted that a story he had told in various forms for years about being on a helicopter in Iraq that was hit by a rocket propelled grenade has been untrue.

“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” he said during an on-air apology on Wednesday.


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