RED BANK: WILLIAMS’ STORY NOT IMPROBABLE

brian williams 121612NBC News anchor Brian Williams onstage at the Count Basie Theatre in December, 2012. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Was news anchor Brian Williams robbed at gunpoint while selling Christmas trees in Red Bank in the late 1970s, as he has repeatedly claimed – including once before a packed house at the Count Basie Theatre?

That question, and some speculation by local old-timers, threw fuel on an already-raging firestorm about the truthfulness of the NBC News helmsman and former Middletown resident, who was later suspended by the network earlier this month for misrepresenting facts about an incident in Iraq.

Brian Donohue, an nj.com writer and commentator, did some legwork on the Red Bank piece of the story. And while he and his colleagues failed to unearth any specific evidence supporting Williams’ claim, he found plenty to refute the rose-colored reminiscences of locals who said it could not have happened because stuff like that just didn’t happen in Red Bank in the 1970s.

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STEWART RIPS MEDIA’S WILLIAMS REAX

On Monday night’s edition of the Daily Show, Red Banker Jon Stewart weighed in on the controversy over NBC News anchor Brian Williams, whose embellished account of an incident early in the Iraq war has drawn widespread media scrutiny. Stewart did not comment directly on a claim by Williams, a former Middletown resident, of having once been robbed at gunpoint in Red Bank, which he made to Stewart himself onstage at a Count Basie Theatre fundraiser in December, 2012. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WILLIAMS’ MUGGING STORY A LIE?

williams stewart 2 121612NBC News anchor Brian Williams, left, onstage with comedian Jon Stewart at the Count Basie Theatre in December, 2012. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Was news anchor Brian Williams robbed at gunpoint while selling Christmas trees in Red Bank in the late 1970s?

The big-money network newsman, who’s in hot water for claiming he was in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire in Iraq a dozen years ago, claims that he was mugged one night at what’s now known as Veterans Park, at the junction of West Front Street and Riverside Avenue.

But some area residents think the story is bunk, according to a report by the New York Post Saturday.

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WEEKENDER: HOME SHOW, RECOVERY, SATIRE

The Daily Show political correspondent John Oliver brings his mordant wit to the Basie, and former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand is at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional to to discuss his book, below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, January 11

LINCROFT: The Robert J. Collins Arena at Brookdale Community College hosts the 23rd annual expo of home improvement contractors, vendors and manufacturers, a three-day event showcasing everything from spas to sponges, and every helpful/healthful thing between. Hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 to 8 Saturday, 11 to 5 Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 kids 12-17, under 12 are free. Newman Springs Road/Route 520.

RUMSON: Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, paralyzed in a game, talks about his effort to recover, as described in his book, ‘Believe: My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life’ (available at River Road Books). 7 to 10 p.m. 74 Ridge Hill Road.

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JON STEWART AND BRIAN WILLIAMS SLING IT

News anchor Brian Williams, left, and comedian Jon Stewart traded barbs on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Long on sarcasm, feigned eye-rolling and Jersey love, the hosts of the nation’s top-rated television shows in their respective categories traded zingers in a conversation about the media, politics and growing up in the Garden State before a packed Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Sunday night.

In a sparring mood that might have been a continuation of their pre-show dinner at the nearby Broadway Diner, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams traded insights into their jobs and flashing wit for two hours and 20 minutes, including a Q&A session with the audience.

“Thank you for dropping the F bomb 41 seconds into this,” Williams said to Stewart, who sniped that Williams’ job entailed his being removed from a “vegetable crisper” just in time for each night’s news broadcast.

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CABLE SATIRIST FINDS A HOME IN RED BANK

stewart-houseHouse of Stewart: TV funnyman Jon Stewart, below, paid $3.8 million for this house on the Navesink, records indicate. (Click to enlarge)

jon-stewart

Take that, Rumson! Eat our shorts, Navesink section of Middletown!

Red Bank has finally bagged a true celebrity homeowner.

Jon Stewart, the political satirist who anchors the Daily Show on Comedy Central, bought a house fronting on the Navesink River here last December, according to property records.

And while he’s no Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi, the purchase instantly puts the rubbery-faced Stewart at the top of the heap in terms of star power in the borough, ahead of a couple of children’s book authors and butcher Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz‘ Gatta.

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