Wilma's wild ride
As one who often covers these things, it was an interesting morning to watch television... and watch my colleagues, clad in Gore-Tex, getting sand-blasted and trying (with mixed success) to remain upright. I recall saying to a television writer that after the tragedy that followed Katrina, and the grave issues it raised, coverage of hurricanes would not quickly return to the standard routine. I was amazed to make it through the day without my prediction being read back to me.
With Wilma heading well out to sea, we'll likely begin tonight with a look at what it left behind. Suffice it to say life in Southern Florida has been thoroughly disrupted. Many communities received more of a wallop than they were counting on. This was a real storm (with an uninspiring, Flintstones-inspired name... that is enough to make us welcome Alpha and the rest of the Greek alphabet). There are still millions without power tonight, and Wilma still might have something left for the east coast. We have correspondents fanned out from Mexico through Cuba and throughout Florida.
The video out of Iraq today is horrifying. Especially the enhanced video, after the first bomb went off, of a cement mixer in the foreground maneuvering into position, seconds before it blows up. Our own producer Karl Bostic was in the traffic circle behind the bombing and the two bombings that preceded it. Karl's report for air on our broadcast tonight is gripping. I just spoke with him by phone. He's a warrior, totally dedicated, but having said that -- I don't know quite how he got through this. For the record, he's crediting our security people. Also for the record, Karl survived three bombings (one of which lifted the armored car he was in off the ground) and a firefight. He should be in the thoughts of every employee of NBC News tonight. As he just put it to me on the phone, "I feel like I lost three lives tonight." We came very close today, it is now clear, to losing some very special people. That we did not means we are, for now, on the side of the angels.
At the White House today: the story of the day was SUPPOSED to be the changing of the guard at the Federal Reserve, the retirement of a man who's married to a good friend of ours, and the President's naming of Ben Bernanke to head the Fed. It's still a big story, and we will treat it that way tonight. But this may be The Week That Was for the Bush White House. Tonight we'll preview what to look for between now and close of business Friday night.
The New York Times itself is once again a story, deserving of our attention this coming week. I trust everyone with so much as a passing interest read Maureen Dowd on Saturday. (link, requres TimesSelect subscription.) Also in the print press, the New York Daily News cover story on the Bush White House (already known as the "Nixon" cover among the President's critics) had some aides today making an effort to point out how "normal" the place is, despite these reports to the contrary. David Gregory will be our reality check tonight on the situation there.
Finally, in Hotline's always-enlightening Friday Feature section late last week, I see that Dick Meyer (editor of CBSNews.com and a former Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News) speaks for a lot of us when he talks about navigating today's environment of overwhelming amounts of "media" and near-constant feedback: "In my current job as an editor... I find it most difficult to deal with readers, bloggers and advocates who are absolutely convinced of their own moral sanctity and have no capacity to view life from another perspective."
That says it about right from where I sit, and looking at the latest batch of incoming e-mails about various high crimes we have committed. As for tonight's effort, we hope you can join us.
Read more from Brian Williams 2005
Tonight's promoted story
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