The Daily Nightly from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

About this blog

The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

Meet the Press

The only problem with those days when, like today, the President decides to take questions from the Press Corps...is that the list of topics always makes for a Hobson's Choice or two for us. We have a major overseas story (the Floridization of Hamas exit poll numbers and the diplomatic/security implications) and the President's NSA comments today. Then there's the falling camera. More on that after this.

Our broadcast will begin with some combination of the above. David Gregory (about whom our colleague Keith Olbermann said "brought his best game" to the briefing room yesterday) got in an interesting exchange of ideas with the Leader of the Free World today, and we'll air some of that, too. The topic was New Orleans.

Martin Fletcher will report on a unique election night in the Middle East.

060126_bushcam About that falling camera: if you were watching NBC News live coverage of the President, then you saw it. Right at the top of his opening statement, a still camera (from Agence France Presse) gave way from its mounting on one of the ceiling support beams and was swinging back and forth. It came to a rest blocking the view of the President on ONLY our network.

About these cameras: during the Alito hearings, perhaps you noticed an array of them behind his witness chair. They are still photo cameras (often aimed to take the definitive "wide" or "relationship" shot that requires a set focus) that use new remote-control technology, and so they don't require a photographer to touch them or otherwise manually operate them. They usually stay where they put them.

And about the network news business: while we are supremely competitive most of the time, we are also engaged in the same business and we all get to know each other, in certain job positions, over the years. So it was that our friends at other networks, seeing our plight, noticing that our shot was blocked by the Offending French Camera, offered their "clean" feed of the President at the lectern.  For the record, CNN and CBS made the offer and we accepted CBS's because it arrived first. I'm reminded that this happened one night during the State of the Union coverage... years ago... I believe it was CBS who needed our help that night, and we were there for them. So our thanks to our friends who happen to be competitors.

And about Oprah. Yes, we'll have the story of her show today -- where the author of "A Million Little Pieces" cops to a number of lies somewhere shy of that number. Everybody gets burned. But a good question was raised in our afternoon meeting: does the book now get moved to the FICTION section of Barnes & Noble?

ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Due to a crowded day, an hour of live broadcasting this morning, a reception, speech and luncheon in Midtown Manhattan today and two editorial meetings: I have truthfully not yet made my way through the postings here reacting to my words at the end of the broadcast last night. I'm told they are overwhelmingly positive, and I'm told there are still those who differ with us, and I get their reasoning. My wish is that all Americans could stand in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans and see what we've seen. Where our journalism is concerned, my contention is that viewers have always held more power than those of us on television: it's contained in the remote control in your hand, and it is the ultimate weapon. While I will always be interested in the opinions of our viewers, and will always take them seriously as I should, we won't stop covering this story. While I've talked about making this process more open and conversational, our role in this relationship is to broadcast the news.

Back to the future: tonight we'll continue our "Caught in the Middle" series of reports, about those of us who are parents... caring for children in addition to our own parents. And with any luck, all of this will fall into place by airtime. We hope, as always, you'll be able to join us tonight.

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COMMENTS

Mr. Williams,
NBC News, and in particular your coverage, has been wonderful since the storm. As a life long resident of New Orleans I found your stories in the days, weeks, and months following Katrina to be very informative. NBC has had the most comprehensive coverage of the many networks. New Orleanians appreciate your passion for this story. NBC Nightly News and Brian Williams have gained a life long viewer thanks to your exceptional coverage of Katrina.

The difference between Florida and the Gulf Coast clean-up in politics: The "Brother" is Govenor, the GOP wants to hang on to Florida, and Florida is considered a key state in national elections.

Mr. Williams,
In discussing the damage caused by Katrina, how about an angle comparing it to Florida's damage done the year(s) before. It seems that most people have forgotten how badly Florida was hit the previous year, and I wondered how things were going in rebuilding there. Maybe there are lessons to be learned from the rebuilding that has obviously taken place. What worked in Florida? What didn't?
Most people that are against rebuilding New Orleans cite the obvious, that it is below sea level, it'll happen again, how many times are we going to have to rebuild? I find it odd that I didn't hear those arguments cited in Florida, where all of those things are relevant.
Can you go back to Miami, Port Charles, etc. and see if maybe there are lessons to be learned from the billions spent after Andrew, etc.?
I think we should get after it and get it done, but we should try to be smart and learn. This wasn't the first time a hurricane caused us to rebuild, so what did we learn the first x-number of times?

I applaud and agree with the responses I just read supporting your continuing coverage of New Orleans. If not for you it would be even easier for everyone to forget. BRAVO AND UNENDING THANKS!! May those who are tired of hearing the coverage and want to forget should go live in a FEMA trailer in a deserted flooded neighborhood for a week! There are more of them than just the 9th ward as you know. Your coverage brings tears and my family is glued every evening. Please don't stop.

As a PR person, I have found the Bush Administration's attempts at spin laughable since he took office. But about six weeks ago, the spin took a more serious and calculated turn as Bush went on the offensive. It was as if he had finally hired a good PR firm to develop his talking points. While I still find his explanations laughable, it seems more people have bought into his assertions that he has not broken the law, that phone tapping would have saved us from 9/11, etc. (Even the report that Bin Laden was aiming for us didn't raise a red flag with these guys). So Brian, I would like to know what PR wonk is now advising Bush what to say(because they're doing a pretty good job at making his sound credible), and encourage NBC's journalistic efforts to continue puncturing the Presidential spin.

Brian Williams:

Like most Americans I am grateful for your continued coverage of Katrina/Rita and the "Long Road Back". Stand your ground and give us informative, unbiased information. We can all continue to learn from the breakdown and the let downs of communication and our government.

As for President Bush's comments regarding domestic spying, I heard him say during the Press Conference that FISA was "outdated". "It's been on the books since 1978 (I am paraphrasing) and these are different times, it's 2006." Did anyone stop to question the President about his views of the Constitution, I mean, it's been around since 1791?

David Gregory is always great with his questions that no one else has the guts to ask Bush. I thought Bush's speech sounded alot like everything he's done wrong with this country. Strange but it was like he was talking about how a democracy really works yet he's distroying out democracy. If it wasn't for you continueing to talk and up date us about Katrina it would be forgotten. We give billions to Iraq but we can't take care of our own people. At lease we know why it took so long for Bush to send help to New Orleaans. It was for the property. We contiue to get lies/spin/blame from this Administration I can't see how you guys keep up. At lease John Kerry ( who is at a Summit meeting) is standing up for the American people by fillerbustering. Most elected officials are all talk no action Kerry is a real leader. Brian thanks to you and your team for giving us honest fair reporting.

I'm sure Oprah really regrets the mistake she made. I think she should realize however, that maybe it's best if she stuck to hosting a celebrity talk show rather than trying to conquer the world. Brian Williams you are awesome and NBC should pay you a billion dollars a year and keep you on television 5 hours a day.

Thank goodness we have Brian Williams to remind our ADD American audience that we are still in tatters and pain in New Orleans. We have given you our hospitality, food, fun and culture...can't America give us some attention in return? Thank you Brian for considering us part of American and worthy of new coverage. You are our hero and an honorary New Orleanean...and our King in this Krewe of Katrina!!

Mr. Williams I applaud your comments re your continuing coverage of the Katrina victims; I feel the reports should continue because these people deserve immediate help from our federal government..who I learned from the news indeed had been made aware via their Hurricane Pam study that that could happen; and it was even worse in reality; I think reports should keep putting pressure on the Bush administration who instead of accepting blame only spins and says things over and over that try to place blame on the state, city, etc.

To me, the Bush administration and federal FEMA reps should take responsibility for their faults..it comes with being in power for over 4 years. I can't believe they aren't trying to blame Katrina on Pres Clinton in some way.

Keep showing the reports on the road back from Katrina that these people have to walk every day. The news isn't supposed to be entertainment..it is supposed to show the plain truth and that isn't always going to make everyone happy. The people who failed the victims of Katrina need to be put on the spot too. Being in power on the state and federal level means you are accountable and should have to answer to the people you failed. I hope everyone who was affected by katrina and ignored by FEMA votes in the COngressional elections this year and in the upcoming Fed elections. Maybe it's clean house time in Congress. I bet the election turn out will be very large wherever people live who were affected by the hurricanes and ignored by officials.

Dear Brian,

Just wanted to say thank you for your brave words last night at the end of the broadcast. I know that there are those out there who think you and your team concentrate too much on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in particular.

Given the age that we live in it would be easy for this story to slip from sight and let everyone think that someone is taking care of the rebuilding and that everything will have a good ending.

The reality is that almost five months after Katrina came ashore there is still more work then we can imagine that needs to be done and we are a long way from that good ending. Thankfully you and your team are there to remind us and snap us out of our complacenency. The pictures and the voices from that region should haunt all of us.

This is happening in our own backyard and we should be demanding answers and better ideas of all the officials involved from local to federal level.

We should be standing up for all who need our help now not brushing them aside and wishing they would get off our television screen.

To Brian Williams:

Good for you! Your rebuttal to the "too much Katrina" crowd was absolutely inspirational.

This IS a big story, and the follow-up is critical. Anyone who suspects they may live in a disaster-prone region (which is actually everyone, if they're unlucky enough) needs to know how this sort of thing works out, or doesn't, in real life so they can make plans.

One of the cruelest things about Katrina was how we all (victims and viewers alike) could scarcely believe such bungling could happen in the "most powerful empire on earth."

Journalists and fans of truth everywhere are applauding you, I'm sure.

I have to second the gratitude expressed by Sylvia Rousseve from LA. We need more journalism like this--journalism that tries to find the most important stories, not just the most sensational ones. People often look for the sensational and get tired of an important story when they get too much of it, even if, like New Orleans, there is much still to be resolved. News stations and networks get caught in this and useful journalism is replaced by competition to see who can get the most sensational news on the air first. That's why it is important for decisions like the one to keep doing stories on New Orleans to be defended. The comparison to Murrow given by Rousseve is an excellent one. Mr. Williams, you also have my respect and loyalty as a viewer.

I applaud the way you ended your broadcast Wednesday night. Clearly, the "we get it" crowd does not fully appreciate the trickle-down effect Katrina has on us all. Perhaps you need to spell it out for these people, followed by a proverbial CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??? Bravo, Brian Williams (no reference meant to your sister network)

Know more than a few that would cast the vote your way Brian. The down to earth way you connect with us viewers through that lense and on your posts, you and your team convey some measure of assurance, that although the world appears to be facing doomsday and the corruption of self interests permeates throught all levels of the people we vote our trust, you and your collegues put it all on the line every night, just like the young men and women defending our right to be ignorant and self indulgent, somehow Brian you help us digest what is so indigestible. 34 mins to lights. Show em what ya got.

To Brian Williams,

Thank you. We recently saw the film Good Night and Good Luck and felt such longing for forthright and important newscasting in the style of Edward R. Morrow who believed that honesty and courage were essential in the news business. Add to this the tragic death of Peter Jennings who also saw himself as a professional, independent newsman.

Brian Williams' response to those who are weary of hearing about New Orleans and the Ninth Ward gave us such hope and encouragement. How easy for us who sit in warm homes watching our televisons to dismiss the enormous suffering of others. We firmly support the right of return for all New Orleans residents and our responsibility to help make this happen.

Mr. Williams commitment to keeping this tragedy before us places him in the company of Murrow and Jennings. Thank you; you have our respect.

Sylvia Rousseve

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