Veteran news anchor Tom Brokaw issued a pair of tweets on Christmas apologizing for his reporting on Richard Jewell during the aftermath of the 1996 Atlanta bombing.
“24 hours after the bombing I talked at length with a sr fbi official - who did not wave me off jewel [sic] as a suspect,” Mr. Brokaw, 79, wrote. “I reported that and speculated why, but my last line was for now he’s just a person of interest. When the truth emerged I apologized.
“NBC made a substantial $ payment to the family without going through contentious negotiaton,” he added. “Richard and his mother went through a painful time which I deeply regret. I hope we all learned a lesson, including the FBI which was my principal source.”
Jewell was a security guard during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when he noticed a bomb at Centennial Olympic Park and helped evacuate people before the bomb exploded. Jewell, who died in 2007 of heart failure, was investigated by the FBI until he was ultimately cleared of any connections with the bombing. Jewell later sued multiple media outlets for their reporting on the FBI treating him as a suspect, including NBC News, which later agreed on a $500,000 settlement.
Mr. Brokaw reported for NBC at the time that there were “holes” in the FBI’s case against Jewell, and that while they “probably” had enough evidence to prosecute him, “you always want to have enough to convict him as well,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Jewell’s story made it to the silver screen earlier this month in an eponymous film directed by Clint Eastwood.