MSNBC caused a minor uproar online Thursday, after bumping fan-favorite Rachel Maddow to cover the U.S. missile strike on Syria. However, it would be a more veteran news broadcaster, who the network chose to host its breaking news coverage throughout the night, that would take the most scathing blows from the social media community after Brian Williams seemed to choose the wrong words to describe the military action.

Words of Leonard Cohen used to describe missile launch video

During his MSNBC show "The 11th Hour," Williams aired footage released by the Pentagon showing several Tomahawk missiles being launched from a U.S. Navy ship stationed in the Mediterranean.

While the video played, Williams called the images, "beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments" and invoked the words of the late singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, in a way that shocked and outraged many viewers.

"I am guided by the beauty of our weapons" is a line featured in Cohen's song "First We Take Manhattan". (The song was originally recorded by Jennifer Warnes in 1986 before being covered by dozens of other artists, including Cohen himself.)

What Williams may not realize, in 1988, Cohen controversially referred to the song as "a terrorist song." He went on to explain in an interview after a concert in Toronto, "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." While President Trump's decision to order a missile strike against Syria may have left little room for compromise, Williams will likely regret connecting the actions of the military to a song about international terrorism.

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Social media responds quickly to Williams' words

It took only mere moments for Twitter to erupt in response to what many felt was a lack of compassion and professionalism on the part of Williams.

Several people on social media were also quick to point out that Brian Williams has had previous difficulty when reporting on U.S. military actions. In 2015, he was issued a six-month suspension by NBC and removed as the lead anchor of "NBC Nightly News" after he admitted to lying during his coverage of the Iraq conflict more than a decade earlier. For years he exaggerated his role in an attack on a U.S. military helicopter, telling viewers that in 2003 he was traveling with troops in a helicopter when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

After an investigation, NBC found Williams' version of the incident to not be true and went on to question a number of other newsworthy "facts" in the veteran broadcaster's history that were likely false. Despite his now questionable background, NBC made Williams the Chief Anchor of MSNBC when his suspension ended in September 2015.

Neither MSNBC, nor its parent company NBC, have issued a statement regarding Williams' choice of words on Thursday night's "The 11th Hour" or the backlash it has caused. His show, "The 11th Hour" does not air on weekends, so he is not expected to be seen on-air again until Monday night.