Confusion on Today: Brokaw Says US Had 'No Allies' in Iraq After Lauer Calls Blair 'War Ally'

It seems Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw can't get their story straight. On this morning's Today show Brokaw falsely stated the U.S. went to war in Iraq without allies but apparently this was news to Matt Lauer as he opened the show identifying British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a "war ally." Appearing live from Pearl Harbor, Brokaw comparing World War II to the current action in Iraq declared: "The irony of course is that we're trying to get out of one war in which we had no allies..." But in the same hour Today host Lauer opened the program this way:

"Good morning the study is finished, now comes the test. President Bush meets this morning with his war ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a day after that scathing report from the Iraq Study Group."

Interestingly enough Lauer, who appeared with Brokaw in his segment, didn’t bother to correct the elder sage of NBC News.

The following discussion came after a Brokaw report on veterans commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor during the 7am half hour of the December 7th, Today show:

Matt Lauer: "Tom I have just about 30 seconds left. The Iraq Study Group, let me just ask you, I mean nine months in the making, so much anticipation, so many high hopes. What did you make of the report that you've seen so far?"

Tom Brokaw: "Well I, I've been talking to them before they got to the final conclusion and they were frustrated. They knew that there were no easy answers. The irony of course is that we're trying to get out of one war in which we had no allies and things have not been going well since an early military victory on the eve of this war which began when it was built on alliances and sacrifices at home so there are great contrasts between those two wars and I think that the 9/11 commission, the commission now that has been studying Iraq does give the President some cover but it in many ways it has taken it out of his hands, politically, despite what he says."

Lauer: "Alright Tom, Tom Brokaw in Pearl Harbor for us this morning."

Later on during her 9am news update, Natalie Morales did Lauer one better as she called Blair a "steadfast ally."

Natalie Morales: "A meeting today between President Bush and his steadfast ally in the Iraq War, British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The White House visit comes a day after the Iraq Study Group issued blunt recommendations on how to move forward in Iraq saying time is running out. Blair who was interviewed by the group is pushing for its recommendations on Iraq to be put into place as early as January."

So for the record Brokaw just got outvoted 2 to 1, on his own network, on the question of whether or not the U.S. has allies in the Iraq war. I wonder if the former NBC Nightly News anchor will issue a retraction any time soon?

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.