Brian Williams is “an honest decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor–and a brave one,” the veteran newsman Dan Rather told POLITICO on Thursday.
Rather’s note of support comes after the revelation that Williams falsely claimed to have been aboard a helicopter that was shot down during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Williams admitted Wednesday that he was on a different helicopter, and apologized to viewers and crew members of the 159th Aviation Regiment.
Like Williams, Rather has been the subject of public controversy. In 2004, he was forced to retract a report on George W. Bush’s National Guard service after the authenticity of his source documents were called into question. Rather retired from CBS News the following year, ending a 24-year run as anchor of the Evening News. He now anchors ‘Dan Rather Reports’ on the cable channel AXS.
“I don’t know the particulars about that day in Iraq,” Rather told POLITICO. “I do know Brian. He’s a longtime friend and we have been in a number of war zones and on the same battlefields, competing but together. Brian is an honest decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor–and a brave one. I can attest that — like his predecessor Tom Brokaw — he is a superb pro, and a gutsy one.”