Brian Williams: 'I Have Seen Thousands of Dead People'

February 10th, 2015 8:53 AM

While the locals in New Orleans doubt Brian Williams saw a body floating in flood waters outside his Ritz-Carlton window after Hurricane Katrina, Williams made that tall tale look small last October at Temple University. Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Clark DeLeon reported he told a crowd at Temple University as he was receiving an award for “excellence” that “I have seen thousands of dead people.” And not in the Haley Joel Osment way.

After discussing his time as a reporter for NBC-10 in Philly, Williams brought out the boasts:

In the years since, Williams has won every major award in broadcast journalism multiple times. He has reported from war zones and natural disasters. "I have seen thousands of dead people in different places," he told the students. "You have to find a place to put that or else you can't get up in the morning."

But it is Katrina and New Orleans that haunt him most because he saw those dead, bloated, untended bodies in an American city. "I expect to see unspeakable things overseas, but I saw this in my country," he said.

The aftermath of that hurricane remains his most memorable news event: "For what it meant to our society. For what it still means. The issues. Race. The environment. Energy. Justice. The lack of it. It's all still there."