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By Andrea Peyser
February 9, 2015

Don't count Brian Williams out just yet

Brian Williams, you conflate me.

I’ve got a dirty, little secret, and it’s got nothing to do with my former love interest and Twitter stalker, the maniacal actor Alec Baldwin. (Who?)

I have a thing for Brian Williams.

Dear, sweet, pompous, arrogant, narcissistic, overpaid, underworked and misunderstood Brian.

I get him.

At age 55, the TV anchorman is a macho superhero in his own mind, capable of surviving an attack by a rocket-propelled grenade and AK-47 rifle fire while keeping his hair in place, his smile intact and a $5 word at the ready.

Whether reading a story about measles on the “NBC Nightly News” with the smooth delivery of a Cialis pitchman, making me laugh until I snort through my nose while hosting TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” yapping on air ad nauseam about his knee-replacement surgery or boasting about his harrowing journey aboard a helicopter forced from the sky by enemy fire, I melt into Jell-O.

Brian is bulletproof.

He’s Spider-Man to my Mary Jane!

But on Saturday, Brian issued a statement with the gusto of a bulimic diving into a buffet.

He announced that “for the next several days’,’ he’s leaving his job as managing editor and anchorman for the nightly news broadcast, a gig for which he signed a five-year contract with the network in December that’s reportedly worth a mind-boggling $10 million per year.

Studly weekend anchorman and “Dateline NBC” host Lester Holt, 55 — he’s hot, but no match for Brian — read his tarnished colleague’s words on the air.

He’s set to fill in for Brian, who did not say when he might be coming back.

“Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us,’’ were Brian’s words.

As Kate said to Leo in the 1997 flick “Titanic,’’ “I trust you.’’

Um, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are movie stars.

Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson don’t even exist!

Maybe poor Brian, the king of the world (sorry), has innocently confused (conflated?) fact with fiction?

So what if this guy wants you to believe that he has trouble discerning real-life humans like himself from fantasy figures and comic-book characters?

Hey, Hillary Rodham Clinton played a badass in 2008 while running as a Democrat for president. She claimed that 12 years earlier, while serving as first lady, she and daughter Chelsea came under sniper fire after arriving in Bosnia.


The most threatening thing that Hillary received upon landing in that country was a hug from a little girl. (She said she had a “different memory’’ of that day.)

“So I made a mistake,’’ she said.

“That happens. It proves I’m human, which, you know, for some people, is a revelation.”

While serving as the attorney general of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal spoke wistfully about serving in the military during the Vietnam War. He didn’t.

Blumenthal received several military service deferments before enlisting with the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1970, ensuring that the closest he ever got to combat was traveling to Washington, DC. In 2010, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate.

He’s in the Senate now.

Last week, Brian was forced into coming clean.

“Sorry, dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft,’’ Lance Reynolds, the flight engineer on another chopper that actually took enemy fire, wrote on the “Nightly News’” Facebook page.

“I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened.”


Truth is, Brian was aboard a Chinook helicopter that landed safely that day in 2003 — well behind another chopper that actually took RPG fire.

Brian apologized to underpaid soldiers, whose real-life heroics he usurped.

“I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another,” he told Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that covers the US military, which first reported the story.

“In fact, I spent much of the weekend thinking I’d gone crazy.

“I feel terrible about making this mistake,’’ he posted on Facebook, channeling Hillary.

A mistake is binge-drinking the night before taking a college exam, not repeatedly, publicly inflating the details of a life-changing event.

Is Brian done?

Before you stick a fork in him, listen to more of his mea culpa:

“I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.’’

This, and the excuse-riddled apology that Brian aloud read Wednesday on the “Nightly News,” had me scrambling for an online dictionary to help me figure out what the devil he was talking about.

According to, to “conflate’’ is to bring together, fuse, confuse or combine things. Has Brian suffered from a series of senior moments?

I’ll let others say that my Brian lied.

Now, Tom Brokaw, 74, who occupied the anchorman’s chair when Brian traveled to Iraq, is pushing to have him fired, The Post reported.

(Brokaw denied this in an e-mail he sent to The New York Times.)

Meanwhile, NBC News has assigned a “truth squad’’ of producers and reporters to investigate the validity of Williams’ oft-told stories, including one that he rescued puppies as a volunteer firefighter in New Jersey, and another that he saw a body floating in the street from his window in the deluxe Ritz-Carlton hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

But the French Quarter, which sits on higher ground than other areas of the Louisiana city, was largely spared flooding.

(The Post reported that Brian threw diva-like fits to hotel employees, whining when he could not get his own room and nearly crying when a lack of running water prevented staffers from serving him coffee.)

Oh, Brian. Maybe it’s time to hang up your microphone permanently and pitch medicine that treats jock itch on TV.

I’ll even buy some.

The world may have turned against you, but I still believe that under that swaggering exterior lurks the trustworthy news babe whom I’ve come to adore.

Just don’t tell Alec.

©2007-2024 Andrea Peyser and; No Reuse without permission.
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