NBC’s internal investigation into reporter Brian Williams is said to be expanding after a new tall-tale involving events in Egypt during the Arab Spring was uncovered.
Two sources with inside knowledge of the investigation told the New York Times that NBC’s panel of five journalists have discovered new discrepancies in accounts Mr. Williams gave of protesting in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
It is not clear which parts of Mr. Williams’ reporting from Tahrir Square are under scrutiny but the sources said that discrepancies are evident in the accounts given by Mr. Williams in February 2011.
The investigation was commissioned earlier this year after Mr. Williams was forced to apologize when it was revealed that he had embellished an account of a helicopter episode in Iraq in 2003. Mr. Williams said that his chopper took enemy fire when it did not.
Shortly after, it was revealed that Mr. Williams had also exaggerated his reporting during Hurricane Katrina, saying he had seen dead bodies floating past his hotel window in the French Quarter in New Orleans, but the French Quarter never flooded.
Mr. Williams has been suspended from NBC for six months.
In an interview with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” following Mr. Williams’ reporting in Tahrir Square, Mr. Williams said that he witnessed clashes between protestors seeking to overthrow the Egyptian government and a pro-government group on horses and camels, and said he had “actually made eye contact with the man on the lead horse,” The Times reported.
Mr. Stewart then asked Mr. Williams about reports that the pro-government group had whipped protestors.
“Yeah,” Mr. Williams replied, “He went around the corner after I saw him, they pulled out whips and started beating human beings on the way.”
NBC news reports on the protests that day, however, did not show Mr. Williams in Tahrir Square during the clash. Subsequent reports said that Mr. Williams was reporting “from a balcony overlooking Tahrir Square,” rather than from inside the square itself.
The investigation into Mr. Williams reporting is not finished and no final conclusions have been reached. The final results of the inquiry are expected to form the network’s decision on whether to bring Mr. Williams back, but it is not clear when that decision will be made.