With an overnight NBC News special report carried on most NBC stations, Brian Williams returned to his former role as network anchor, breaking in (on the East Coast) to NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers to report the latest on the shooting of police officers in Dallas. It was Williams’ third time on the network since being taken off NBC Nightly News more than a year ago for exaggerating his own resume in his reporting and in interviews.
“We are covering something of a national emergency that is unfolding in the city of Dallas, Texas,” Williams began. “And Americans of a certain age won’t need help to grasp the irony of a situation that happened within distance of Dealey Plaza, where many of the dead and wounded in this mass shooting tonight have been taken to Parkland Hospital.”
It was only after Williams’ nod to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that Williams got to the actual story unfolding in Texas–the shooting at a peaceful protest of 11 police officers.
Williams described the blocks around the shooting area as “something of a kill zone.” He said the shootings happened “in the C.B.D., the central business district, not far from Dealey Plaza, from the famed Book Depository building … as we’ve been saying to our live audience on MSNBC, the fog of war rules now apply.”
Some journalists and others watching were quick to criticize Williams:
He’s doing an exceptionally awful job tonight, though shouldn’t be on the air in the first place. https://t.co/rv573qfifu
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) July 8, 2016
TV One anchor Roland Martin took to Twitter to ask, “can Brian Williams pleasing (sic) stop with the damn references to JFK’s assassination?! He’s driving me nuts!!!”
If you played a drinking game tonight, taking a shot every time Brian Williams mentions JFK tonight, you would have died hours ago.
— Jaret (@fog_warning) July 8, 2016