The poor boy. We should excuse everything he did because he was insecure and sensitive.
Brian Williams started embellishing his stories because he felt insecure following in Tom Brokaw’s very large footsteps at NBC, according to a new report.
The network handed Williams a six-month suspension in February after he acknowledged he had lied about being on board a helicopter that came under fire while reporting from Iraq in 2003.
But according to a report in Vanity Fair, Williams started exaggerating his stories because he felt insecure about Brokaw, whom he succeeded at Nightly News in 2004.
‘I always felt he needed to jack up his stories because he was trying so hard to overcome his insecurities,’ one executive told the publication.
‘And he had to follow Tom, which brought its own set of insecurities. He likes to sort of tell these grandiose tales… I just saw it as one of the quirks of his personality.’
But according to former correspondents who spoke to Vanity Fair, Brokaw wasn’t so accepting of the ‘quirks’. The stories left him ‘incensed’, the publication reported.
On one occasion, Williams implied they had both been in Berlin together on the day the wall fell in 1989 – but he actually joined the veteran newscaster there the following day.
On hearing the tale, Brokaw went into ‘spasms of anger’, one former exec told Vanity Fair.
‘Tom treated that anchor chair as a public trust,’ a former employee said. ‘He really was our Walter Cronkite.’
Others said that the two men had a troubled relationship after Williams took over the role because even though Brokaw pushed for him to get the job, Williams never ’embraced’ him.
‘I don’t know why,’ a source said. ‘[Williams] knows the rank and file will never love him like they did Tom, so he never tries. That’s the reason there’s not a lot of support for Brian over there.’
It also meant that when Williams found himself in hot water over his claim he had been in a downed Chinook – when he had actually been in a separate aircraft – Brokaw didn’t have his back.
A friend told the publication that while Brokaw – who was ‘livid’ about the scandal – didn’t call for Williams to be punished, he ‘didn’t try to save him either.’
Following the suspension, Williams reportedly declared to a friend: ‘Chalk one up for Brokaw.’
The article also claimed that when he was called out for lying in his reports and conversations following the 2003 helicopter incident, Williams couldn’t bring himself to admit he had made it up – and instead, he suggested he might have a brain tumor.
‘(He said,) ‘Did something happen to (my) head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head’,’ a source said.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk