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Hannity

Did NBC make the right choice to suspend Brian Williams?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 10, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: This is a Fox News Alert. Brian Williams of NBC News suspended without pay for six months over his reporting about his experiences in Iraq back in 2003. Now, that's not the only reporting that is being called into question.

Joining us now is the president of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson. And the editor for Hotair.com, Noah Rothman, is with us.

Brent, let me start with you. And this was bigger than just an RPG that did not hit his helicopter. For example, he told a story about Katrina, being outside (sic) of a five-star hotel, looking out and seeing a dead body floating. Manager of the motel has said, No, we didn't have that kind of flood water, claiming dysentery -- and we talked to a health official last night who said that didn't happen. And then an issue of Israel. Let's go to Katrina first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNBC, NOV. 2006)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": ... 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 Ace, 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, I'll get to the issue later of the Katyusha rockets. But that's issue number two for them, Brent. What do you think of NBC's decision?

BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Well, if you read the letters, the statements made by the NBC executives, they never brought up Katrina.  They only focused on Iraq, which I found really puzzling because then you have the Katyusha rockets as the third scandal that's arisen.

This whole six month thing is very strange, Sean. You can't say, on the one hand, "We will not stand for this affront at (ph) our credibility, our credibility is the most important thing..."

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: They did kind of address it.

BOZELL: ... but in six months, it's OK.

HANNITY: They said, "We have concerns about comments that occurred outside of NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field." I assume that they were referencing Katrina there, but maybe I'm reading too much into it.

BOZELL: Well, I'm just saying, they referenced Iraq. They didn't reference Katrina or the Katyusha rockets.

HANNITY: What do you think of the decision, then?

BOZELL: I think it's a very unfortunate decision. Even people defending him tonight seem to feel that it's distasteful. Look, you either keep him or you let him go. But this six month bloodletting -- it's just going to be awful.

HANNITY: Yes.

BOZELL: It's going to be ugly. There will be lawsuits, as your last guest said. There's going to be recriminations. This thing is not going to go away. And if it comes -- if he comes back, it'll be NBC, comma, the network whose chief newscast has been caught lying while reporting news!

HANNITY: Noah.

NOAH ROTHMAN, HOTAIR.COM: Yes, and that's why I'd be shocked to see him come back, actually, after that long a recess. I like Lester Holt, who's going to be filling in for some time, but I have no illusion that he's going to be in that seat for another six months. They're in the middle of a ratings crisis. They're going to have to get a personality in there. And once they do, they've moved on from the Brian Williams era.  And I think that's what they want, frankly. If Variety's reporting is accurate, if other reports are accurate that NBC...

HANNITY: So you don't believe Steve Burke's comment.

ROTHMAN: If they knew that this was an issue, they knew he was a serial embellisher and they did nothing about it, then they would like to see him go away and make this whole crisis go away on top of it.

HANNITY: Yes. Sharyl, you know, you have an interesting perspective on this, more than, say, anybody else, Sharyl Attkisson, and that is that we talk about Brian Williams. He was an anchor, prestigious position, "NBC Nightly News." But we have a presidential candidate, or we expect we'll have a presidential candidate, you were on the trip with Hillary Clinton when she was in Bosnia and claimed, as I understand it, multiple times -- we have a tape -- that she came up sniper fire, which was not true. Let's roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN-SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-N.Y.: I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, and Sharyl, you were there. We even have -- we'll show a B-roll video when she got off the plane. She's hugging a little girl. You -- you actually think this might be more important.

SHARYL ATTKISSON, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, I would just argue that one is very much like the other. So however you feel about one incident you should logically probably feel about the other. If you don't care in either case, you don't think it's a very important breach, then you shouldn't care -- if you didn't care the first lady, the former secretary of state, made such a statement, then maybe you shouldn't care too much about Brian Williams. If you think Brian Williams made a huge breach, then so did, logically, the former secretary of state and the woman who wants to be a presidential candidate.

HANNITY: Yes. I mean, that's really an interesting question. Brent, do you think now, that this makes a difference -- Hillary's answer was, "Oh, I was sleep-deprived. Oh, I already addressed that." Does this get new scrutiny based on the Brian Williams story?

BOZELL: Sure it does because had she said it once, we could all agree that sometimes, when you're sleep-deprived, you will say something, especially when someone speaks as often as Secretary Clinton does.  However, she repeated this canard over and over. So yes, this will become part of a conversation. By the way, this is a good thing. It's a good thing we start having a serious conversation about our leaders across the board and the things that they misrepresent.

HANNITY: You know, I just can't help, Noah, but think if a conservative did this, there'd be calls for blood immediately!

ROTHMAN: Absolutely. If this fortuitously happens on the same day that we learn that President Obama was lying to the nation for a long time about his stance on gay marriage and this has been lauded in the press as something clever and actually something to celebrate that a politician would so deftly maneuver around this issue and mislead the public for his own political gain, that's cancerous! That's...

HANNITY: Yes.

ROTHMAN: That's dangerous to the state of the nation's moral center.

HANNITY: Sharyl, I'm interested from your perspective because here you are, you're on the trip with Hillary, you know what she said is absolutely false -- as it relates, do you think there's new scrutiny to the story with Hillary, based on what now has happened with Brian Williams, and do you think what NBC did was right?

ATTKISSON: Well, there's certainly new scrutiny. It just remains to be seen what the conclusion is. She's already served since then as secretary of state. It didn't seem to bother people or her supporters that she had made that wild misstatement, or mistake, at the time. We'll have to see if it matters now.

As for what NBC did, I think that's up for others to decide. But you'd have to check this out with NBC. It's my understanding there's a potential sale pending, which may explain the six-month time period, that they may need to feel like they want to get through a sale period, and perhaps the whole resolution of this would eventually fall into somebody else's hands.

HANNITY: All right. I want to thank you all for being with us.  Noah, good to see you. Thank you. Brent Bozell, thank you. Sharyl Attkisson, thank you so much for being with us.

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