Amid the controversy over Brian Williams's war tales, it's easy to forget precisely how much broadcast news anchors have fallen from their pedestals. In fact, only 27 percent of Americans can correctly identify a picture of Williams, who has now been hosting "NBC Nightly News" for more than decade, according to Pew data.

The rest either don't know, or think he is someone else, including 3 percent who think he is former "Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw and 2 percent who think he is Vice President Joe Biden.

The poll was conducted in August 2013 and showed the 27 percent of Americans who correctly identified Williams is far less than the 47 percent who correctly identified CBS newsman Dan Rather in a July 1985 Gallup poll -- a drop that coincides with a steady decrease in network newscast viewership since the '80s.

Williams said last week he was in a helicopter in Iraq during the 2003 invasion that came under fire, a story he has told before. On Wednesday, he said that story was false and apologized during "Nightly News." NBC has not issued a formal statement about the incident, but privately, the network is standing behind Williams, one executive told the Post's Paul Farhi.