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Choppergate

A scandal involving NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for falsely claiming that he was in a helicopter struck by an RPG during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Over the years, Williams told differing versions of his story: In 2003, immediately after the incident, he said that he was on a helicopter behind the one hit by an RPG. “The Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky," he said on NBC. In 2013, Williams told David Letterman that he was in the chopper that was hit by the RPG. Then in 2015, he told viewers about "a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an R.P.G."

On February 4, 2015, Williams apologized publicly for having misremembered exactly which helicopter he was on but insisted he was in a helicopter directly behind it. "I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp," Williams wrote. However, it was this version of the story that backed fired on him. His apology was called into question when two of the pilots on his helicopter said that they did not recall their convoy of helicopters coming under fire.

It is one thing to make a mistake and apologize for it. It is a far graver offense to mislead people and then mislead them again while claiming to come clean -- especially for the anchor of the NBC Nightly News. On February 7, 2015, Williams announced that he would temporarily step down from his news anchor role to remove a distraction from NBC's news coverage and to enable the network to investigate the issue.

On December 2, 2004, Brian Douglas Williams assumed the position of anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News on. In 2005, NBC News was awarded the Peabody Award for its coverage of the Hurricane Katrina story, the award committee stating that Williams and the NBC staff displayed the "highest levels of journalistic excellence" in their reporting.

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