Embattled NBC anchor Brian Williams claimed in a 2006 interview with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner that someone he had met during Katrina later died. Williams also claims that a body was floating by his hotel room in the French quarter.
“When you look out of your hotel room — window, in the French Quarter, and watch a–a man float–float by face-down, when–when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country, I beat the storm,” Williams said.
Williams returned to it at the conclusion of his Eisner interview to stress his connection to the audience. “These are Americans. These are my brothers and sisters and one of them was floating by,” he said with emphasis and pathos.
This claim was hard to believe. In fact, there wasn’t much flooding at all in the French quarter, according to the New York Times.
Next Williams claimed that he rode it out with people who later died in the Superdome. In fact, there were only six people who died — four from natural causes, one from drug overdose, and one from suicide. Many of the media reports of mass rapes were vastly overstated.
Sooper Mexican also addressed the Katrina story for which Williams and his team won an Emmy.
Towards the end of this video about the four minute mark, he starts the story:
My week, two weeks there, was not helped by the fact that I accidentally ingested some of the floodwater. I became very sick with dysentery, our hotel was overrun with gangs, I was rescued from the stairwell of a five star hotel in New Orleans by a young police officer we are friends to this day.
But in the Dateline special where he recounts his experiences 5 years later, there’s no mention of the story. He says that the police were in the Sheraton in New Orleans, and that his camera crew were allowed to film outside. But that’s it, he doesn’t even mention being in any other hotel. How could a hotel used as a staging area for policemen be “overrun with gangs”?
This is definitely not conclusive evidence that he lied about the attack, but it had many elements that are the same as his Iraq RPG story, which should cast doubt on any other story he speaks to that isn’t corroborated by someone else.
Brian Williams also said that when he was in Katrina he was told not to drink bottled water in downtown New Orleans because we would be killed for it.
Watch for yourself.