Embattled news anchor Brian Williams couldn’t bring himself to admit he lied about coming under fire on a chopper in Iraq — so he instead wondered aloud if he had a brain tumor, a new report claims.
Several NBC News insiders told Vanity Fair that the fact-challenged Williams — who was suspended without pay for six months from his “Nightly News” gig — had trouble explaining what had happened.
“(He said,) ‘Did something happen to (my) head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head,’” a source told the magazine in its upcoming piece. “He just didn’t know. We just didn’t know. We had no clear sense what had happened. We got the best (apology) we could get.”
In the aftermath of the scandal, people at NBC News have repeatedly cited Williams’ penchant for bureaucratic infighting and his limited interest in “heavy” news, the piece says.
“Brian has very little interest in politics,” one insider told the magazine. “It’s not in his blood. What Brian cares about is logistics, the weather, and planes and trains and helicopters.”
Williams was described as very insecure because he had never been a foreign or war correspondent. The insiders said his gussied-up accounts of seeing bodies floating in post-hurricane New Orleans were his way of trying to prove his journalistic chops.
“He didn’t want to leave New York,” a onetime NBC exec told the magazine. “Getting him to war zones was real tough . . . but when he did go, he came back with these great stories that kind of put himself at the center of things.”
When the boom was finally lowered on him, he seemed shell-shocked.
“He was having a tough enough time coming to grips with the idea that he had gotten it wrong in the first place, slash misrepresented it, slash lied,” an insider said. “He wasn’t anywhere in the ballpark of being helpful about what had happened 12 years ago.”