Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson claimed he heard President George W. Bush say in a post-9/11 speech that "Our God is the God who named the stars." Fact checkers found Tyson's recollection to be wrong. Two psychology professors who wrote about the incident said Bush had said something similar to Tyson's misremembrance in a tribute to the astronauts lost in the Columbia space shuttle explosion.
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams admitted in 2015 he wasn't aboard a U.S. military helicopter that was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Williams said he "made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago" and apologized. In a statement released by NBC on Saturday, February 7, Williams said he will be taking himself off the air for several days. "It has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions."
While in Michigan on the presidential campaign in 2012, Mitt Romney claimed to have witnessed the golden jubilee of the automobile in Detroit on June 1, 1946. One problem -- Romney had yet to be born.
On the campaign trail for the U.S. presidency in 2008, Hillary Clinton remembered "landing under sniper fire" when visiting Bosnia as first lady in 1996. Clinton claimed that after landing in the war-torn country, the family "ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." Video footage showed them walking calmly from the plane, heads held up and not in an apparent rush. Clinton later said she "misspoke."
President Bush suffered a false memory of what he saw on television the day of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Bush recalled more than once how he saw the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center before he entered a classroom in Florida, but footage of the first plane strike wasn't available at that time.
James Frey's memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," about his struggles with substance abuse, was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and sold millions of copies. But the investigative website The Smoking Gun found Frey's life wasn't as exciting as he portrayed it in the best-seller. Frey later admitted he embellished events about himself and other characters in the book.