“It has been torture,” the former Nightly News anchor told Lauer. “Looking back it has been absolutely necessary. I have discovered a lot of things. I have been listening to and watching the, what amount to, the black box recordings of my career.”
Williams, the newly assigned breaking news anchor for MSNBC, seemingly took ownership of his fictions during the first part of the interview, telling Lauer: “These statements I made. I own this, I own up to this.”
Trying to make sense of his exaggerations during late night talk show appearances, Williams explained, “it had to have been ego that made me think I had to be sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else.”
“I told the story correctly for years, before I told it incorrectly,” he continued. “I was not trying to mislead people.”
Lauer did not relent, however, asking him whether he was aware that he was telling an untrue story while on Nightly News.
“No, it came from a bad place,” he replied. “It came from a sloppy choice of words. I told stories that were not true. Over the years, looking back, it is very clear. I never intended to. It got mixed up. It got turned around.”
“We live in a world right now, Brian, where people are not gonna let this just rest,” Lauer said later in the interview. “So, if there are other circumstances and other situation where you didn’t tell the whole truth, would you like to take this opportunity now to correct the record on those?”
“I would like to take this opportunity to say that what has happened in the past has been identified and torn apart by me. It has been fixed, has been dealt with. And going forward, there are going to be different rules of the road. I know why people feel the way they do. I get this. I’m responsible for this. I am sorry,” said an emotional Williams. “I am different as a result and I expect to be held to a different standard.”
Watch Williams discuss his suspension, courtesy of NBC.
Watch Williams discuss his new role, courtesy of NBC.