Saturday, February 7, 2015

Brian Williams: Hero Fire Fighter

He survived being shot down in the Middle east, as well as a throng of gangs at his hotel, where he suffered dysentery from drinking flood waters, but he is not done there:

He was a hero firefighter who saved a puppy's life!


Here is the statement attributed to him as a volunteer fire fighter:

"My firehouse was a modest engine company — three engines, three garage doors and about 30 of the best men I’ve ever known. We fought all the usual fires that break out in the suburbs: brush fires, car fires, dumpsters, dryers, light fixtures — and worst of all, the occasional house, already in flames when we arrived. I remember one such house fire — the structure was fully involved with flames and smoke. I was wearing a breathing apparatus, conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet. I instinctively tucked it in my coat. When I got outside, I saw two small eyes staring up at me, and I returned the 3-week-old (and very scared) puppy to its grateful owners."

let's look at the statement again, with emphasis added:

"My firehouse was a modest engine company — three engines, three garage doors and about 30 of the best men I’ve ever known. 

Analyst Mark McClish noted that over his years, he found that the number three was often chosen by liars, as something they were comfortable with.  He then asked other investigators and other analysts to send him any references where the subject was deceptive and employed the number three, in some manner. 
Charlie Rogers had "three men" break into her house....fabrication.
Tiffany Hartley had "three boats" chasing her and her husband...fabrication. 

Although not part of the SCAN technique, we look at any use of the number three and note it for possible deception.  By itself, it is not something to conclude deception, but it just means that we have a reason to doubt.  

It was a "modest" engine company, in the language of story telling, bringing the sense of humble to us.  
"three" engines
"three" garage doors and 
"three-zero" of the "best men I've ever known" (in the language of story telling, noting that although the firehouse was "modest", these were the "best" men.  Note his association with the "life long police officer" in Katrina, and his association with the brave soldiers from the middle east assault.  This may suggest pattern to some.  

It is possible that three men can rob someone at 3 o'clock on Third Street, robbing him of $300 dollars.  

We like to check, however.  

We fought all the usual fires that break out in the suburbs: brush fires, car fires, dumpsters, dryers, light fixtures — and worst of all, the occasional house, already in flames when we arrived. I remember one such house fire — the structure was fully involved with flames and smoke.

a. In an open statement, a person can only tell us what they remember.  Therefore, this word is not necessary and it is, therefore, important. 

b.  Note "involved with" is standard firefighter phrase; verified.  (update)  

 I was wearing a breathing apparatus, conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet. I instinctively tucked it in my coat. When I got outside, I saw two small eyes staring up at me, and I returned the 3-week-old (and very scared) puppy to its grateful owners."

Due to the unusual usage of the number three in his account, verification of the "3 week old puppy" saving would need verification. 
Note that a 3 week old puppy needs it mother and nothing is mentioned of her...not being dead, nor being in attack mode at such a young pup in distress.  

It is not likely that the "grateful owners" would have a three week old puppy away from its litter.  


tania cadogan said...

Firefighters when attending a fire will be wearing gloves.
how did he know it was warm and furry?

I agree regarding the 3 week old puppy, what about the mother and any other puppies?

There are way too many 3's in this story to make it credible.

I suspect that everytime he reports on anything he will have to p[rovide signed independant witness statements.

I also suspect that every story he has reported on where he was involved will now be scrutinised.

Any bets on how long before he resigns/is sacked?

CathieD said...

"My firehouse was a modest engine company...." He takes ownership of the entire firehouse with the word "My". I would expect his report to include the location and to identify the firehouse as well as the men he spoke to or fought the fires with. He fails to give specifics. Presumably, he was on assignment and had a film crew with him that captured him fighting "brush fires, car fires, dumpsters, dryers, light fixtures — and worst of all, the occasional house, already in flames when we arrived". Was there footage that was aired with his story? Did it capture him emerging from the structure (obviously he would be wearing a leotard and cape; the standard uniform of a superhero) with the 3 week old puppy? He referred to above mentioned as a "house fire" and, not even a breath later, it became "the structure" with no apparent reason for the change in language.

Kathead said...

Firefighters do say fully involved instead of engulfed by.
He should have been wearing gloves as he searched.

Jen Ow said...

My exact thought Hobs.

Gee Brian, you were wearing heavy heat/fire repellent material from head to toe, yet you felt the warmth radiating from a 3 week old puppy? If so, your 'modest engine company' needs some better equipment.

Oh, and '3' week old puppies are sleek, with very little there's that.

Any thoughts on why he lists fires involving items found inside homes, like dryers and light fixtures, separately from "the worst of all", house fires?

When I was a teenager, my grandparents attic caught on fire, and it did damage to the attic, roof, and the garage below. The fire started from the wiring. (*No doubt due to some terrible jackleg repair job that my grandfather tried to do himself, lol!) The damage was localized, but we don't call it 'the wiring fire'.

Sean said...

Just want to chime in that "fully involved with" is standard firefighting terminology. Nothing to see here, move along...

Skeptical said...

Brian Von Munchausen. Munchausen syndrome is usually associated with physical illness. However, I found this description of the most severe form. "Originally called Munchausen syndrome, named for Baron von Munchausen, an 18th century German officer who was known for embellishing the stories of his life and experiences—is the most severe type of factitious disorder."

Peter Hyatt said...

Thanks, Sean.

Can others weigh in on this?

If it is a standard firehouse expression, it is "expected" and I will change my analysis.

I have a local firefighter I will ask as well.

This is a good point, if applicable.

If others have heard it, please post.

Thank you all, but especially to Sean.


Anonymous said...

sean said "nothing to see here--move along"

I guess your a big williams fan?

Peter Hyatt said...

Cathie D:
good point.

Kathead, I just saw that you agree with "fully involved", too. I appreciate it.

As to Brian Williams being deceptive: I wrote that when the first story broke, due to the extremity of lying, to expect more "hero" stories from him. This was another example of it, and I do not believe he rescued a 3 week old puppy.

I also believe that we have just seen the tip of the ice berg, with so much more to come.


Kathead said...

As a former volunteer firefighter, yes. It is standard.

Lemon said...

The puppy story seems to evolved as well. I found this:

"But in July 2005, he told a different story, insisting he had saved not one but two pups from certain death.
“All I ever did as a volunteer fireman was once save two puppies,” he said, according to Esquire magazine."

Anonymous said...

A true journalist would follow the ethics code taught in journalism school. FACTS, FACTS, FACTS. VERIFY VERIFY VERIFY. Interesting enough, the verify # is 3 according to what we were taught in class. Williams does use a pattern of liking the #3 in his storytelling.

Why does Mr. Williams feel the need to embellish his stories - so far involving himself front and center - as the HERO....other members in the saga are supporting members. Sounds like the signs of a Narcissist. This is unraveling like the saga of Stephen Glass who worked at the New Republic. 27 of the 41 articles he wrote were found to be "embellished," while others were completely made up. Glass later claimed to be repentant, however, no publication would hire him now. He went on to study Law of all things. lol California Supreme Court denied him admission to the California bar.

Kathead said...

All of the memes being posted online regarding historical events are cracking me up.

Brian Williams has lost all credibility. Any new stories told by him are going to face intense scrutiny.

Thank you for analyzing the stories. I am learning a lot from it.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet on today...

Anonymous said...

He obviously "misremembered" this story, as well.

Of course with full gear on he wouldn't feel the warmth of a 3 week old puppy. I'm wondering if fighting a HOT fire, if you'd even feel the warmth of a 3 week old puppy anyway, if you did so happen to not have gloves on.

GetThem said...

Wow, all those threes!

I found it odd that he says "My firehouse". I think it is more natural to say "the" firehouse instead of "my" firehouse, since we would assume any firehouse in his story is where he worked (allegedly).

It is also odd he feels the need to explain that they put out all the "usual" fires. What other kind of fires would he be putting out? In my town, I assume the firemen put out "the usual fires" because there are no unusual ones... at least that I know about.

"Fully involved." I understand this is "fire lingo" but it also comes off as trying too hard to sound legit. It came off as sounding like someone trying to convince.

"I instinctively tucked it in my coat." -- Here he is trying to make himself sound awesome. I would expect as a fireman that he would rescue any animal he came across and that it wouldn't be instinct but it would be essential.

"I was wearing a breathing apparatus." -- I would hope so. So... the house is full of smoke and flames, isn't this an unexpected blurt to mention wearing the apparatus? Shouldn't that be assumed? Also, I would like to know from firemen if they actually say "A" breathing apparatus, or simply "breathing apparatus." Please see puppy below.

3 week old pup -- Don't puppies need to be 8 weeks before they are away from their moms? Also, if the house was engulfed in smoke and flames, wouldn't the pup need oxygen or assistance at the young age of 3 weeks old? Especially since he is wearing breathing apparatus.

"Grateful owners." -- This sounds more like patting himself on the back. Grateful just sounds obtuse. The owners very well may have been grateful, but their first response would be surprised, crying combined with terrified, shocked and fear of what the future holds since their host was engulfed in flames and smoke.

This guy needs some serious help.

GetThem said...

Sorry. House, not host.

tania cadogan said...

NBC Nightly News Managing Editor and anchorman Brian Williams said Saturday that he is temporarily removing himself from the network’s nightly broadcasts following revelations he made false statements about his experience reporting in Iraq in 2003.

“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions,” Williams said in a statement to NBC staff. “As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days.”

Earlier this week, the publication “Stars and Stripes” published a story, based on eyewitness accounts of the incident, saying Williams was incorrect when he said a helicopter in which he and his team were traveling during the invasion of Iraq was hit by rocket propelled grenades.

Williams apologized on air Wednesday, but the firestorm surround the incident has continued, including calls for his resignation.

The 55-year-old Williams said NBC-TV newsman Lester Holt will fill in during the evening broadcasts until he returns.

“Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue,” Williams said. “Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

Questions have also been raised about his claim that he saw a body or bodies in the Hurricane Katrina floodwaters that hit New Orleans.

NBC News President Deborah Turness said in an internal memo Friday that the network has assigned the head of its own investigative unit to look into Williams' statements.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

I love how he uses the pronoun US (shared cooperation and unity)in relation to dealing with the issue and in relation to trust rather than I and ME.

As the anchor, it is expected the public will trust him and his reports, he is the face or one of the faces of the company.
He represents the company, he is to be the authority, the respected one to whom others aspire.
Will we see him involving others in his deception?
Will he minimise his role in the embellishing of stories, claim he was asked, nay ordered, to sex his reports up to stay ahead of the competition.

As it stands he is a liabilty to the company, he is the subject of memes involving major implausible news stories he could never have been present it.
he and by default, the company are now the laughing stock of media, instead of reporting the news, he has become the news, never a good thing in the media.

All his reports from the most exciting to the most banal will be under investigation, will be looked at with sceptical eyes searching for anything unexpected or untoward and, when found, paraded in the rest of the media.

I expect his few days will be permanent, the impression being given that there is ongoing dialogue between him and his bosses.
I also expect lawyers to be involved to cover the company's butt should he not like the terms or, simply to keep him quiet with a nice payoff.

I am torn between him being allowed to resign and keep his dignity and him being fired to show the world that deceptive reporting will not be tolerated even when it involves renowned anchors.

Either way, his career is over.

tania cadogan said...


How can the world take anything he reports on seriously ever again?
Anything he says will be scrutinised and even the smallest error seized upon.

What other reputable company will take on a tainted journalist?
There will be trust issues, is he speaking the truth or embellishing his role?
Junior staff will no longer look up to him or aspire to be like him.
He can no longer give constructive criticism or mentor an up and coming journalist as the immediate response would be laughter and don't tell me how to do my job when you didn't do yours.

Could he get work in a tiny local station?
Possibly, but he would always be tainted.
There is also the possibility that he will go to the other extreme and place himself in dangerous situations to prove himself to himself, that he can do dangerous or life threatening, to prove to the public he will place himself at risk.
In this case he becomes a liability to himself and those with him.
The need to get back the respect to prove himself will overwhelm the need for self preservation and plain common sense.

All in all it would depend on if he does a mea culpa and admits he lied rather than misspoke or misremembered.
The public want to hear the words i lied, nothing else will do.
They may forgive him, they may not, either way this is the end of the big bux.

floridamomma said...

A volunteer doesn't live at the firehouse. They attend per call, via their home.

Also, while I agree, "fully involved" is a legit saying, let merespectfully disagree that "fully involved with smoke and flames" is as legit. I've been married to a firefighter for awhile, I've never once heard him or any other ff spell out that fully involved requires smoke and flames. Which, btw, imo, flames sounds far more dramatic than fire, now I'm off to re-read his words....

floridamomma said...

Ps, a lot of vfd volunteers crave the ff life, only full time ff call it the life at the house. I'm curious about volunteer record, I've seen some serious crazy in that volunteer field. That's why they test paid, full time firefighters like they do.

GetThem said...

Tania -- I'm not surprised to hear he is leaving. I was thinking he would prob quit before he got fired. Now I wonder if we'll be hearing about all the other stories he made up.

He is a reminder of Stephen Glass. Remember that reporter who made all those fake stories that were published and he finally got caught? He switched occupations after he was fired and became a lawyer. Not sure who would want to hire him.

Jen Ow said...


Hey John, looks like we were right about Bobby Kristina case!

The articles say Bobby Kristina and Gordon have a history of DV, and that Houston's Aunt, (the executor of her trust) obtained a restraining order barring him from contact with her, or her 'immediate' family, following threats and demands made by him for access to more of Bobby Kristina's trust.

It also says that Bobby Kristina has unexplained injuries, and they are looking at the possibility of an altercation approximately an hour before Bobby Kristina was discovered face down, and unresponsive by a friend.

The friend told police that he asked Gordon about her Bobby Kristina's whereabouts, and Gordon was 'unconcerned', stating she was in her bedroom. When a cable installer arrived at the house, and needed access to the room, Bobby Kristina was discovered face down in the bathtub, and the friend called 911. The friend also told LE that Gordon cleaned up blood stains!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's crazy. If he put her in the tub, that's so wrong, on top of whatever else may have happened, seeing as how her mother was found. :(

I know people will argue that certain things are her own fault, but I feel bad for her. She's obviously been through so much throughout her entire life. I don't think it's fair to judge her.

Even other big name stars who make awful decision. On one hand, I think they're stupid to throw away their lives when they could potentially have such great lives, but then on the other hand, if you really think about it, especially for the childhood stars and even children of big name stars, I don't think it's all its cracked up to be, so to speak. It looks nice from the outside, but its a rough life.

Anonymous said...

tania: "I love how he uses the pronoun US (shared cooperation and unity)in relation to dealing with the issue and in relation to trust rather than I and ME."

This reminds me of Bill Cosby. Didn't he say something similar about the black press -- "we" need to stand together... or something or other?

Lis said...

Question- is the change in pronouns here expected or no?

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

tania cadogan said...

Regarding Bobbi Kristina, her being found in the tub, didn't so much remind me of Whitney Houston, it reminded me of drew peterson and the murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio who was found in a dry tub with a gash in her head.
He was found guilty and sentenced to 38 - life.
He is also a suspect in the disappearance of his 4th wife Stacy Peterson whose body has never been found.

He was only charged with murder of his 3rd wife after the suspicious disappearance of Stacey., something he could still face charges for

The case began with a gruesome discovery. A neighbor came across Savio's body March 1, 2004. She was face down in her dry bathtub, her thick, black hair soaked in blood and a two-inch gash was on the back of her head.

Sean said...

Sorry for my tone with the "move along" comment. No, I'm not a big Brian Williams fan and I thinking lying about his involvement in Iraq is quite bad enough without any thing else added to it.

GetThem said...

I was just saying last night that there's something not right about Bobbi Kristina and that someone is looking for inheritance money.

It reminds me of Anna Nicole and her son. Was there SA done on that? I'll have to check the archives. I was always fascinated by the oddities of those events.

Jen Ow said...

Hi GetThem,

Yeah, I knew something was up when Bobby Brown had his attorney release a statement that she was not, nor had she ever been married to Gordon. (Despite repeatedly asking for privacy, and no official comments from him about her condition, or her prognosis.)

Then the same attorney released another statement, that she was still fighting to survive, surrounded by her 'IMMEDIATE' family, which suggested that Gordon was not allowed to visit.

I find this so sad. It seems like Bobby Kristina has never had anyone to truly depend on in her life. Both of her parents addicts, then right after her mother died her so called 'step-brother' moved right into the position of significant other. (Completely inappropriate, and it now appears to have been for his own benefit.)

GetThem said...

You're right Jen, it is very sad and tragic. Poor girl.