Brian Williams has made a laughing-stock of himself again.
On Thursday the MSNBC anchor delivered the news that the United States struck Syria with more than 50 tomahawk missiles, but for Williams it was more like the Fourth of July.
“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” the anchor said as he interviewed retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, and intelligence expert, Malcolm Nance “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”
— 19th Of Brumaire (@delmoi) April 7, 2017
“They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them what is a brief flight over to this airfield,” Williams continued before he asked Nance “What did they hit?”
The song he was quoting was Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan” which Cohen described as a pro terrorist anthem.
I’m guided by a signal in the heavens
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin
During a backstage interview after a Toronto concert in 1988 Cohen explained what he meant.
I’m not sure of what it means right now because I had this long voyage from Chicago. I think it means exactly what it says. It is a terrorist song.
I think it’s a response to terrorism. There’s something about terrorism that I’ve always admired. The fact that there are no alibis or no compromises. That position is always very attractive. I don’t like it when it’s manifested on the physical plane – I don’t really enjoy the terrorist activities – buy Psychic Terrorism. I remember there was a great poem by Irving Layton that I once read, I’ll give you a paraphrase of it. It was ‘well, you guys blow up an occasional airline and kill a few children here and there’, he says. ‘But our terrorists, Jesus, Freud, Marx, Einstein. The whole world is still quaking…
It is unlikely that Williams knew what the artist meant by the lyrics in the song.
But the anchor’s cavalier attitude towards war did not sit well with many on Twitter, especially the left-wing crowd that gets its news from MSNBC.
Dear Brian Williams,
There is nothing “beautiful” about war. Hell only exists because humans keep creating it.
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) April 7, 2017
Oh did Brian Williams drape himself in the glories of war as he saw it again
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) April 7, 2017
BRIAN WILLIAMS: I need a war
TRUMP: Here’s an airstrike
WILLIAMS: Mm those missiles on the ship look beautiful… I was just there
— ishmael n. daro ? (@iD4RO) April 7, 2017
Brian Williams misinterpreting a Leonard Cohen lyric in an attempt to glorify war is hysterical in that I both laughed and lost my mind.
— Brand Manager (@MadeOfSpiders) April 7, 2017
Brian Williams refers to this Pentagon video of missiles going to kill people as “beautiful” 3 times in 30 seconds pic.twitter.com/KBb3tP8qHT
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) April 7, 2017
The saddest thing here is Brian Williams is probably not lying this time. He likely thinks missile strikes are beautiful. https://t.co/11XnE4EbjO
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) April 7, 2017
“Brian Williams” Funny how people who’ve never been in war, or on the receiving end of a cruise missile, can think it’s “beautiful”.
— archer (@ncnative46) April 7, 2017
@adamjohnsonNYC I would love to punch Brian Williams in the face. How is bombing a country beautiful? Both D & R “leaders” love this military action
— Brian Crouse ♠ (@briandcrouse) April 7, 2017
Poor Williams, whenever he is trending on Twitter it’s not because he did anything good.
It didn’t take long for social media to mock Williams, who was removed as an NBC anchor and sent to MSNBC Siberia because of his penchant for stretching the truth.
Let’s give Brian Williams some credit. He knows violence up close. He survived getting shot by Jack Ruby… pic.twitter.com/SvdexkfnDr
— Ground Control (@GCTMBD) April 7, 2017
This just in: Brian Williams is on the ground, dodging Tomahawk missiles in Syria.
— sjsturkie (@sjsturkie) April 7, 2017
Everyone’s being mean to Brian Williams for saying missile launch was “beautiful” but you don’t know! Maybe it was! HE WAS THEREEEE.
— joel tyler (@joeltyler_) April 7, 2017
Brian williams actually rode on the cruise missile pic.twitter.com/AoI2jyxIut
— Export Fit (@FitExport) April 7, 2017
And the meme mockery was top notch.
— AppSame (@AppSame) April 7, 2017
— Andres Diaz ?? (@fvgtw) April 7, 2017
— ??USA OVER PARTY (@michaelbeatty3) April 7, 2017
Brian Williams leading the recon team to laser guide the Tomahawk missiles that hit the Syrian airfields. pic.twitter.com/njQ3tfR5D0
— Joe (@JavaJoeX) April 7, 2017
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