- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2015

A blistering op-ed published by the Boston Herald charges that NBC’s “Nightly News” host Brian Williams snubbed his role as master of ceremonies for the 2006 Congressional Medal of Honor Society convention so that he could appear for a “Weekend Update” skit for “Saturday Night Live.”

Neal Santangelo, a Boston firefighter and veteran of the Navy submarine service, said he served on a committee that brought the convention to Boston that year, and Mr. Williams agreed about six months prior to the event that he would serve as master of ceremonies, Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis wrote.

Mr. Santangelo said that when Mr. Williams arrived in Boston on Sept. 30, 2006, he told committee members that a “pressing engagement” back in New York would prevent him from fulfilling his duties.

Mr. Santangelo said he and committee member Tom Lyons then arranged for a police escort to rush Mr. Williams through the tunnel to catch his plane back to New York, Mr. Gelzinis wrote.

“After the banquet, as Santangelo, Lyons and other committee members relaxed in a lounge at the Colonnade Hotel, Neal Santangelo’s wife phoned from their room to say she knew why Brian Williams had to bail out of a Medal of Honor banquet,” Mr. Gelzinis wrote. “She was watching the chiseled face of ‘NBC Nightly News’ ham it up with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler in a Weekend Update sketch on ‘Saturday Night Live.’”

At the time, Mr. Santangelo wrote a three-page letter to Mr. Williams expressing his disappointment. He never sent the letter, out of fear he would come off as a “loose cannon,” but provided it to the Herald over the weekend after the embattled NBC anchor admitted to “conflating” a story about being aboard a helicopter that was fired upon in 2003 Iraq.

SEE ALSO: Too good to be true: Brian Williams FINALLY admits he wasn’t on chopper shot at in Iraq

“You need to apologize to America’s veterans, and to the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces defending freedom around the globe,” Mr. Santangelo wrote on Oct. 5, 2006. “Anything less is unacceptable.”

Mr. Williams still sits on several advisory boards of the Medal of Honor Foundation, an adjunct of the MOH society. They declined to provide any comment to the Herald.

“Well, it took eight years and the apology wasn’t all it should have been,” Mr. Gelzinis wrote. “But now the whole country knows what Neal Santangelo came to discover. Brian Williams is just another TV showman.”

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