Brian Williams Explains Incorrect Report on Paris Suspects

By Chris Ariens 

WilliamsExplainsNow that we have official French confirmation that the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attack, and subsequent police shooting and hostage-takings are dead, we wanted to share with you NBC News’s explanation for the erroneous report that two of them were killed Wednesday night. Last night on “Nightly News,” following two reports from Paris, Brian Williams said 6 minutes into the show:

Starting overnight and into today we’ve been correcting something we first reported here. We were told by not one but two senior u.s. intelligence officials that this manhunt had ended last night with all three suspects either dead or captured. And while these sources have been reliable in our previous reporting, the intel they passed along to us last night turned out not to be correct.

And some write-ups on the matter:


David Bauder, AP: It’s the latest of a run of embarrassing episodes for NBC News over the past few months, including the brief shelving of medical reporter Nancy Snyderman for violating a quarantine period for Ebola exposure and the firing of an executive overseeing the “Today” show after only two months on the job.

David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: What happened Wednesday, with NBC News reporting bad information on the Paris killings from [Pete] Williams and his sources, is what can happen when you ignore and try to stonewall on a mistake — when you don’t discuss, acknowledge and publicly retract it. You repeat it again. That’s why legacy journalism has the model and system it does for corrections.