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.

Putting the cartoons in context

At the 2:30 p.m. ET editorial meeting we had a lively discussion of what the context should be for our coverage of the Muslim rioting over publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The bottom line for me was that this can't be dealt with as a story about cartoons or even about Islamic prohibitions about the depiction of Muhammad. It has to be about the simmering pot that went to boil, as Shibley Telhami, the University of Maryland scholar, said this morning on Washington radio. He noted that this is the Islamic version of the Rodney King verdict. In that case, it wasn't just about the verdict against four Los Angeles policemen. It was about African-Americans' belief, whether based on reality or perception, that they had been the victims of decades of racism and thuggery by the LAPD.

On a larger scale, there seems to be in our culture an ability to deny that, in spite of all our good intentions, we are returning to the clash of civilizations that defined most of world history. And that to ignore how a significant portion of the world feels denies us the opportunity to understand what is going on. One of the things I tried to point out was the Islamic belief that they feel they are being targeted, personally, as well as politically.

Muslims feel that they are victimized by the West, and even putting aside the conspiracy theories that rattle around the Middle East, a cursory survey of what has been happening to them in the past 25 years would give anyone some cause for concern. Over the past quarter century, the number of Muslims killed by "infidels" of all kinds approaches 3 million.

Read more from Robert Windrem

MAIN PAGE NEXT POST Wednesday in Torino

Email this EMAIL THIS


If I ever see NBC, or any other network show something I find objectionable, I want them to hide it and say, "We will no longer show this out of respect for..."

And when they do that for EVERYONE, perhaps they can finally go out of business. Of course, it will be themselves who put themselves out of business by their hypocritical and whacky refusal to show the Mohammad cartoons.

I respect Muslims, rather the ones that are not planning to kill me. But I respect free speech also, and not letting free speech be controlled by terror. I believe the Danish people should be proud to freely speak their minds, and I hope they do not let the terrorists take that right from them. Nobody is above any other person, and that includes Muslims, so they need to accept the world will insult them just as freely as they will respect them. I made a game out of the Danish cartoon in response to this. Although the game starts with the introduction from their Prophet, it continues on into a shooting gallery for the ones who gave their Prophet a bad image, such as Osama Bin Laden. Enjoy the game, it is free for any to play, you can find it at my website,

I don't think that the anti-cartoon protest is justified. I also believe in the freedom of speech, with respect. When people hide under religion to unleash terror on other people, it becomes questionable. Islam preaches peace and when I see the followers act diffenrently(dectructive), it baffles me. If you feel that people have "sinned" against your religion, the best you should do is to pray for their conversion and repentance instead of taking vegeance. Vegeance is supposed to be for God and not human beings. I can't imagine the placcards reading,"behead people, destroy people" in this modern age! Gush! Is God a violent God? How would this extremists preah to peaceful people to accept islam as a religion with this attitude? Somany times, they call christians filth and unholy, they said that Jesus blashphemed and would deny ever teaching his followers to call him Son of God or God. Would christians go about calling for their destruction? This is because christians were taught to love everyone created by God and show mercy as well. I advice this people to have a rethink and walk on the way of peace as their slogan reads; they should think out what would benefit the human race intead of calling for destruction every moment of the day. Peace, peace, peace is from and for God's children, no matter your colour, race or religion. I think that their problem is nothing but jealousy. They are jelouse of the West achievement and level in life. America has done greatly for the world even more than a mom can do for her children. Americans should see themselve as the best people in the world who care for human well being and never be demoralised. And a time should come when they'd have to forget about drowning people, who want to pull others down with them, to perish alone.I wish that Islamic extremist will copy a tenth of this and allow human beings to have peace on this planet. And my other advice to moslems is this, if you are right thinking, think twice and stop following or supporting people whose job is nothing but saddism.

This is not just an issue about cartoons, it is a fundamental difference in the way Europe and the Muslim world regards religion. Muslim states are mainly based on religion and religion is at the forefront of their thought process. The attitude of many of theses states reminds me of Christianity in the dark ages. Fortunately Christianity and western society has moved on, it appears a significant minority of Muslims have not. I am a devout atheist, I do not believe in any God, Religion has proved to be the catalyst for the majority of world conflict past and present. The Muslim faith does allow violence towards unbelievers or infidels (some one who does not believe in religion) it also allows for violence for those invading a country and for a number of other perceived crimes, this is all documented in the Koran. The so called Muslim extremists are actually correct when they say they are following their religion when carrying out some terrorist acts. The problem is, it is the religion at fault. Until we are prepared to say that some aspects of their believes are fundamentally wrong and not consistent with a civilized society we will continue to have an ever increasing problem.


We can see that, complicating this problem, is the Hezbollah office in Damascus talking 'shop.' So does this now mean (possibly) that the Baath Party has opened an office in Tehran? Have the Sunnis and Shia agreed to fight as 'Me and my brother against the infidel'? How can the Shia and the Sunni agree to fight together against the 'infidel' when, after he is vanquished (as they see it), they will go directly back to killing each other?
Truly, one of the great ironies of this century...

Was Baer wrong about this thought? (posed in 'Syriana').
How can both be right?

How can Wahabi extremists ever have agreement with the Shia?
Because of a cartoon?!?
What will the Shia do if/when the Sunnis chose to destroy Karbala - and start a Shia/Sunni genocide as Baer suggested?
Nothing 'cartoon' about that one...

What kind of agreement will Hezbollah have with the Baathists then?
Baer suggests that the Shia MUST know the Sunni's will try to slaughter them once they have a chance.
'Everybody is entitled to their own opinions - but not their own facts' (Sherman Kent?)

If Westerners seen the image of Muhummed with a bomb in his Turban or Burnoose, it isn't because of the cartoons; it is because of the imagery branded on our minds through the words of the press reporting the news.

This 'power play' by the Baathists/Hezbollah will never change their thousand year plus animosity with each other.
Is there MORE to this story?
Help us out here; throw us a bone please...

I can't believe Muslim outrage over a cartoon! Give me a break!!!!Where was the outrage when Muslims flew planes into the twin towers, when they hung up American bodies, burned and multilated, on bridges in Iraq, when they danced in the streets as the twin towers fell,when they behead westerners on arab tv, when they elect women to office who brag about their sons blowing themselves up killing innocent people, and last by not least, holy clerics preaching hate and mistrust of all westerners in their houses of worship? Where are all the so called moderate Muslims? If my priest started preaching hate,my family and friends would stop attending that church.Muslims who continue to attend services,rally around murderers, and let their children wear tee shirts of Osama are anything BUT religious!
It's sad that Americans are dying trying to free people whose apparent goal is to destroy anyone who isn't Muslim.I really believe that it isn't a small radical faction of Muslims, it's the majority.Wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!
Don Iodice

What is evil has to be condemned by all right thinking people. Blowing up oneself and killing innocent people is no part of Islam. It is wrong to do so. It is wrong also to be disrespectful to the (religious) personages held in honour by any group. No Muslim would ever say anything derogatory about Jesus (peace be upon him). Comments about Islam having been spread by the sword shows a deep ignorance of facts. What sword is being used when many are reverting to Islam in the west? Unless we learn that we are one brotherhood in humankind, descendants of one pair of humans (Adam and Eve), that we were divided into nations and tribes by our Creator so that we may recognise each other (and not despise each other), that we are all accountable to Him on Judgment Day, that we will pay for our individual sins of omission and commision, we cannot be on the path that would be a means of salvation and hence success in the life to come. For that is more important than the fleeting life of this world with all its pomp and glitter!!

On a recent Nightly News report on the cartoon controversy, you used a shot of a web page of one of the cartoons with the actual cartoon blurred out. By not having the courage to show the cartoon, you are telling the Islamisist savages,(who I don't believe represent true Islam anymore that the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity), that they are winning the war on terror. And based on polls and blogs I've read, your policy of coddling these fanatics' "feelings" does not represent the attitude of the majority of Americans.

As a British citizen living in Israel I see a lot of the other side of Islam and what they call, "a fair society".
No matter where you are in the word, the press prints what it wants to and quite often manages to offend someone. So if the world press appologise for this cartoon, then they need to appologise for at least a century of freedom of speech.
I do not agree with everything that newspapers wirte but that is freedom of speech and if muslims do not like it then go to a country where it is not allowed and leave the rest of us alone

Enough is enough. The people who demand “sensitivity” should not forget that they lacked that in the first place. As Mohammed is to Islam so is Buddha to Buddhism. The Talibans bombed the statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Where was the outcry of these people then? Why did they not think that Islam is not the only religion and that other religions co-exist? Peaceful protests are acceptable. It gets the attention of world leaders who in turn condemn offending others. However, torching embassies, burning flags of US, Denmark and Israel or death threats is going, excessively off the tangent. This looks like a mere exploitation of the sentiments and beliefs of the Muslims, by their religious leaders, perhaps for their own benefit. This civilization should not be defined in terms of violence. Oh, WHEN will people realize that any GOD is capable of protecting Himself and that He does not need his followers to resort to violence in His name?
Yes, it is wrong to offend other’s beliefs and provocation should not be what a free press does. However, this needs to be sorted out thru healthy debates as to how far a free press can go. The pen is still mightier than the sword- well, for civilized people, irrespective of religion.

You need more time than you have on NBC Nightly News in order to put the cartoons in context and talk about the clash of civilizations. Do you have enough reporters around the world -- in Indonesia, India, the Middle East -- to get first-hand, in-depth information? Why not do a special hour on the protests and what they might mean for U.S. security here and abroad?

The United States should take the high road in this situation and not print/circulate the cartoons anymore. I understand that our constitution allows freedom of press and religion. I also understand that many offensive things about the U.S are frequently shown in Islamic media. However, it won't matter to most people in the U.S. if we don't see the cartoons. What good will it do us to see them?

The U.S. needs to be the leader and the bigger nation in this situation and not throw fuel on this fire. The U.S will have more success leading the world if we aren't stubborn on situations like this that probably don't matter to most Americans anyway.

How about instead of holding strategy meetings to figure out how to apologize for these violent radicals, you just report what they're doing?

Whatever "context" you seem to think you need to provide is clearly designed to get people to find their actions less reprehensible. I'm sorry, but their actions are reprehensible, and everyone seems to know it except you.

I don't understand it; everything our government does gets soundly criticized by the press, but other countries do things that seriously deserve criticism and the press gives them a free pass, in the name of "providing context." Give me a break.

Where are all these so-called Muslim moderates? They apparently don't talk and don't write. There is an old axiom--when you have 100 people and their leader is a maniac--you now have 101 maniacs. Islamic people, their religion, the places they come from, the culture they come from--are not equal to mine. You won't see me jumping up and down in the street if my minister dies (unlike what happens when one of the mad mullahs that are running this show dies). I really hate to say it, but people who will not reason, won't cooperate, won't compromise and won't recognize your right to exist just simply need to be destroyed. Period.

Exactly what was blurred out in your news story. If it was the cartoon I am speechless. All I hear is free-speech from the press. Everybody has the right to say horrible things, push pornography down our throats, demonize christians but your news stations gives into violent muslim groups and blurs out the cartoon. I wouldn't believe if I didn't see it. Please tell me what I saw was not the cartoon.

The hindus in India had Mahatma Ghandi and others. The Baptists in the United States had Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King and others. The Muslims ugently need visionaries who are dedicated to non violence.

I have to agree with most of these comments. We are villified and branded as insensitive when a few newspapers print a ridiculus cartoon. When Islamic militants indiscriminately murder innocent people in gruesome, sadistic fashion, they rejoice and say that they are justified - and again we are declared the insensitive ones indirectly responsible. UHHHHH! I too am becoming tired of the islamic whine. Westerners are not the ones who are insensitve and intolerant, it is islam that is intolerant of everything that is NOT Islam.

It's a mistake to believe that all religions are benign. Because we inherited a world were our ancestors repressed the bad guys, we came to believe that all points of view were valid. Now, after years of coddling, the bad guys are back, and we are going to have to adjust our perspective to deal with them.

Curious George says, "I call upon the governments around the world to stop the violence."

It would be a real knee slapper if he wasn't killing so many innocent people.

To blame the reactions of men to the printing of words or pictures on the authors and artists removes any sense of resposibility from individuals. When men are trampled to death or shot over their violent reaction to a drawing, God weeps. He doesn't weep because a picture was drawn: he weeps because of the mass stupidity of His creation.

I wonder if the prophet prophesied this cartoon tragedy. Lets be real here, these people are being manipulated by religeous zealots for power. They are lead to believe that someone else is responsible for them being 1 level above knuckle-draggers. This will only change when the crowd leaves the monkey cage and goes home. If it wasn't for press coverage this would be a pointless exercise in futility. Frankly speaking we will only have peace in this world when religeon is identified correctly as using the ignorance and desperation of another for personal power and authority.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but when you're killing people, destroying property, and this upset about an image...isn't that idolatry? And if the Islamic world really thinks that cartoons only happen to their beliefs, someone needs to tell them about the "Piss Christ" art exhibit done here in the USA a few years back.

I say we publish one of the cartoons inevery paper we can find. The Arab worlds "delicate sensibilities" have done nothing but give me a headache. Maybe the Arab world will grow up and stop acting like 13th century children with automatic weapons. They run anti-jew cartoons all the time and no one ever calls them on it. Grow up and join the new century

Once again it shows the ignorance of the Moslem Mass and lack of commonsense for leadership. They draw cartoons,and depicts Jesus as a gay may times. Does any one riots for that? They burn churches and kill Christians in Sudan and Indonesia.Where are the rioters? A violence preaching religion is not from God

If the cartoonist was a scientist he would be shouting eureka. To my recollection this was done because there was feeling that the whole entire media in Europe was duct taped around the mouth when comes to questioning anything about Islam. In my opinion if this generation was ask to defend our freedom like our grandfathers did, they would all be running for the caves, or caving in. The last I check Mohammad was a prophet not God, lets not treat him like he is.

Comments for this entry have been closed


Trackbacks are links to weblogs that reference this post. Like comments, trackbacks do not appear until approved by us. The trackback URL for this post is: