Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Waters' Claim That He Was Shot At In A War Zone Is Investigated By LOVE

Waters claims he was an "equal opportunity target
Oro Valley Council member and vice mayor Lou Waters claims that he was shot at by Serbs and Albanaians during in covering a war zone during his years with CNN. He said this at the Sun City Oro Valley candidate forum of October 3.

"I was with CNN for 21 years, telling stories from every aspect of human life, including in a war zone where I was shot at by Serbs and shot at by Albanians. I was an equal opportunity target."

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mGJcHtNhdk at 3:22)

Waters made this remark in stating the relevance of his experience to serving in office for Oro Valley.

Fortunately, Oro Valley has no war zones so it is hard to see the relevance of that particular experience to serving on council.

We could not independently corroborate his alleged experience; and given the recent embellishment of life experiences by former NBC news anchor Brian Williams, we felt that some fact checking would be in order. After all, it is quite usual for people to "embellish" their experience.

Fact Check: Waters did cover the tail end of the Kosovo war on site
In an interview in 2000, Waters states: "But, last summer, I had the opportunity to cover the Kosovo War and thereby fulfill my desire to have some war reporting on my resume." So that would mean the Waters was shot at in 1999 because, prior to that time, he had not been in a war zone. He had asked to go there so he could get some experience in war reporting. This after covering the 1990 Gulf War from his CNN anchor desk in Atlanta.

Another article notes that: "Lou Waters covered the closing days of NATO's assault on Kosovo and was first to report from Macedonia that Serb military had agreed to withdraw from Kosovo." (Source) The same quote appears on Water's bio on the Tucson News Now web site.

There are transcripts available from news reports of CNN that indicate that Waters was reporting from the Kososo War Zone starting in April thru mid summer of 1999.  However, none of these reports from Waters state that he was shot at.

Fact Check: No evidence found that Waters was the target of bullets
Waters notes in the interview in 2000 that going to Kosovo was "quite an experience." However, he does not state that he was "shot at by Serbs and Albanians." It would appear that he would have told something that significant.

So, perhaps  it would be more accurate for Waters to have stated that he covered the Kosovo War during its closing days and that he observed, as reporters do, war in action. And, yes, that includes bullets flying from all sides.

This we feel would be a more respectful statement to those veterans and others who actually serve in harms in war zones or theaters of operation.

To state that he was the target of a bullet is wrong if this is not actually the case.

It is possible that this is yet another embellished of a reporter's experience, like that of Brian Williams.

We asked Council Member Waters to provide us details on the incident to which he referred. He did not respond to our request.

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