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.
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.
Read more from Brian Williams 2006
Presidential humor, take II
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