The Daily Nightly from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

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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.

Tonight on Nightly News

A substitute in the anchor chair tonight and on The Daily Nightly...  have no fear though, Brian will be back tomorrow.

An interesting story in our broadcast tonight... and some debate internally over how to cover it. Dawna Friesen is going to update us on a controversy that started in Denmark. It involves published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons, which first appeared back in September, have been reprinted this week in other European newspapers, prompting new outrage from the Muslim world. One of the images shows a depiction of the prophet wearing a hat in the shape of a bomb. The newspapers cite their right to freedom of expression, but the protests are growing and becoming violent. Reuters is reporting that a dozen gunmen in Gaza surrounded the offices of the European Union demanding an apology, and that gunmen kidnapped and later released a German citizen from a hotel in the West Bank. Some newspapers in Germany had reprinted the cartoons. After some discussion in our editorial meeting, we have decided not to show the cartoons explicitly. We are trying to treat this issue with care and sensitivity while still bringing you the story. I am sure we will get some feedback on this. Looking forward to it.

In addition... a lot of news out of Washington tonight. Iran's nuclear weapons program and almost certain referral to the U.N. Security Council; more debate over the NSA surveillance program; and a new majority leader in the House of Representatives. We will have all the details in the broadcast. Hope to see you then.

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COMMENTS

I am Jewish, and if every time that you offend my religion I would resort to killing one of your staff they would all be dead a long time ago. The fact is, you are acting just like those fanaical Muslims who are hidiing their faces behind their scarfs. I just hope that your stock will take a big hit and drop siginifigantly enough for you to understand the repercussions of your decision not to print the cartoons. Shame on you.

I sympathize with Muslims who are hurt or offended by depictions of their Prophet.

However, the prohibition against drawing a picture of Mohammed does not apply to any non-Muslim in any free country. We live in a multi-cultural world, and we respect those who practice different religions and their right to express themselves.

I am offended by the continual slander against all things Christian or Jewish coming out of the Islamic world, but I respect their right to express themselves.

I ask no less of Muslims.

Hi, Campbell !!!

I just wanted to say that I always look forward to the evenings when you substitute for Brian. Sorry -- I can't think of anything unkind to say about ya'll exercising your freedom/right NOT to show something you think that others might find offensive. I don't feel offended in the least that you didn't show "the cartoon", 'cuz really that's all it is ... just a cartoon -- your describing it was sufficent enough.

Thank you, Campbell, for all you do, and for all the time you've spent reporting from Mississippi's Gulf Coast since Katrina. I appreciate you!

Big mistake. Huge! By not printing those cartoons, MSNBC does not show the principles needed to be trusted as a serious news organization. Do the right thing and reconsider your refusal to print cartoons.

What complete hypocrites you are! Let me get this straight--YOUR OWN NETWORK will have an episode of "Will & Grace" (as a ratings stunt) that is already offensive to Christians. YOUR OWN NETWORK featured Sinead O'Connor a few years ago ripping up a photo of the Pope--an act incredibly offensive to Catholics. We won't even begin to discuss the offensiveness of "Book of Daniel." Yet you're suddenly concerned about not offending people, when they're Muslims?

This is an issue of freedom of speech. I could go on & on, including things like "Piss Christ," the recent "Washington Post" cartoon insulting veterans, pretty much anything Ted Rall draws--none of which NBC has ever appeared overly concerned about. These cartoons are freedom of speech. What has happened is that a violent group of fundamentalists (interesting, too, that the pseudo-liberals at NBC usually think fundamentalists are bad--guess it's only when they're Christian & vote for Bush that they're bad) are intent on forcing their religion on the rest of the world, & anyone who dares disagree with them must be killed.

I wonder--are you really concerned about offending sensitivities, or is it that, deep down, you're really afraid of these people because you know how dangerous they are? The folks on MSNBC, your tiresome phony liberals on the nightly news, even chirpy Katie Couric, all of whom are from the "Bush sucks so we have to like anything we think he's against" might do well to think about it--the people you keep defending & propping up with your newscasts have only one intent in mind. They are absolutely committed to the imposition of their distorted view of Islam on the rest of the world. You may be appeasing them now, but by doing so, you're letting them win. Chirac discovered, to his dismay, what appeasing these people does--even tho he repeatedly caved in to them, they still burned (& continue to burn, even tho you won't report it) the capitol of his country. If you seriously think these nuts won't ultimately come after you, despite your sad claims not to "offend", remember that when you're being stabbed to death (as Theo van Gogh was) or a fatwah is put on you (Salman Rusdie still lives in fear).

The purpose of free speech, & the separation of church & state (which NBC is also violating), is to shine a light on that kind of evil. To promote discussion & understanding. The PROPER response to death threats & riots is to stand up to those cowards, show them that you WON'T be intimidated, & realize that we are not going to let our freedoms be oppressed by anyone. Freedoms that include your right to offend me. If I don't like NBC programs, I have the right to watch hundreds of other channels (which I do, BTW--which may help explain your ratings). I don't have to buy the newspaper/book/magazine, attend the art exhibit, watch the movie that offends me. However, I don't have the right to stop someone else from doing so. And I certainly don't have the right to threaten death.

I find it truly sad that you, who have been given a huge section of America's broadcasting airwaves (something that's worth potentially billions of dollars), & have a responsibility to this country, would so sadly fail in your duty to promote the basic right of freedom of speech. Your hypocrisy is breathtaking--particularly since we all know that, had something been published that George Bush found offensive, your network, MSNBC, Slate, & all the other NBC outlets, would be gleefully displaying it in all its glory, over & over & over.

You're cowards & hypocrites. Even more, tho, you show why "mainstream media" are dying. While you dinosaurs sit & bury your heads in the sand, real news is being circulated instantly by thousands of sites on the web. Many of them are showing those cartoons, & doing a much better job of discussing free speech rights than NBC can hope to do. And yet you wonder why noone watches you anymore!

Sucking up to power groups only gives them more power. This includes the muslims over their objection to the cartoons or Christian bullys on our shores with their outcries over television programs that don't fit their standards. I'd rather watch the Book of Daniel where there was a family that loved one another than all the Law and Orders or CSI's with all their hatred and bloody violence. How ironic that both groups are very similar - think Taliban. If you don't like something, don't read it or watch it - but don't try to deny it from those with open minds that might.

You missed the entire point of the story. It's not whether the cartoons are offensive, that's a matter of personal opinion. Its the fact that Muslims feel justified in resorting to violence when they are offended, while condoning the same behavior when they are the perpetrators.

Why did you feel it was not newsworthy to include any examples of Arab or Muslim print that that is offensive to Jews or Christians? That would have shown them as the fascist hypocrites they truly are, but by only showing one side of the story, you lend credence to their prattle.

If NBC used the same barometer in referencing and depicting all religons this wouldn't be an issue. However, the network doesn't apply the same guidelines in reporting insensitive caricatures of other religions / ethnicities. Here's the media guide: Muslims-Treat sensitive / Catholicis-OK to
ridicule, Black Baptists-treat sensitive / Other Christian denominations-OK to ridicule / Judisism -domestically sensitive, regarding to Israel- OK to ridicule. Is NBC a subsidiery of Al-Jezeera?

I think what bothers me about this is the fact that you will show other controversial religious pictures. In fact NBC is showing a Will & Grace episode that mocks the crucifiction of Jesus. How can you do that when it would not be brought under your guise of:

"After some discussion in our editorial meeting, we have decided not to show the cartoons explicitly. We are trying to treat this issue with care and sensitivity while still bringing you the story."

I suspect that the reason is more basic. Christians won't strap a bunch of TNT on their bodies and walk into your headquarters. Others might.....

What a bunch of cowards you are at NBC. You have no problem offending Christians, because you know they won't respond with violence. You have no problem reporting on Abu Ghraib ad nauseam, because you know radical Muslims will direct their violent response at our troops, not you.

You hide behind the First Amendment when it's safe and convenient. You don't stand on principle; you stand on cowardly, bravado.

Just another reason why I wouldn't watch NBC, even if it were the only choice on television.

You show images of flags being burned, Christ being defecated on, and Kanye West as Christ. You dont mind offending Christians and patriotic Americans, Danes, etc.

You are just scared of being beheaded. Admit it.

They aren't "cartoons." They are illustrations. They accompanied a story about a man who couldn't find anyone willing to do illustrations of Mohammed for his book.

And, NBC should grow a pair and show the pictures. You have no trouble showing things that are far more offensive and/or explicit. Tough crap if Muslims don't like it.

Publishing the Mohammed cartoons shows an appalling lack of sensitivity. Muslims do not use depictions of persons, religious or otherwise, in their art. I applaud those broadcasts and newspapers who refuse to show them.

I'm glad NBC didn't show the cartoons. A verbal description suffices without causing offense. Why offend? There are many in the South who do not understand why the Confederate flag is offensive, but it obviously does offend and anyone with sensitivity won't display it. It's not about winning and losing. It's about courtesy. I can't defend a culture childishly focused on ridicule.

By not showing the drawings NBC is condoning violent behavior. The NBC organization has,in essence, said "Yes, we will be blackmailed for peace." May I also assume NBC will be apoligizing for "The Book of Daniel" after all that depicited Jesus is a less than shining light? Probably not because NBC knows that the public will grouse and complain but not get violent. May I then assume that NBC will not be showing the Will and Grace episode that includes, supposedly, a depiction a show called "Crux'Lickens"? Probably not because NBC knows that the public will complain but not turn violent.

The muslim world has every right to boycott and protest. The muslin world has no right to threaten or commit violence because their collective sensiblities have been injured. By not showing the drawings and then citing hurt Muslim feelings, NBC has abdicated its position as a news provider. The american public wants to see the news, not what the news thinks is acceptable for us to see.

I thought your piece on the burial of the two unknown Katrina victims really brought to light the fact that we are still a "caring nation", at least by some! I was appalled though, that the two victims were African American, but there wasn't one African American at the funeral!! I guess they were too busy complaining about what hasn't been done for them. Sure hope another $18 Billion will get some people motivated. However, I wouldn't count on it!!

What on earth, were the newspaper folks thinking when they decided to publish these cartoons? Yes, a press should be free. However, this only shows that a free press can be either constructive or destructive. Just because they have and pen and paper, it does not mean, that they can write anything and everything under the sun. Freedom of expression does not necessarily gives anyone the right to offend others. What were the intensions? Moreover, why now? How could they expect tolerance when, all they resorted to was provocation? Tolerance and provocation do not walk hand in hand. I am not a Muslim, but I feel that it is very wrong to hurt others sentiments and beliefs.
BTW, when it comes to handling an issue with “care and sensitivity” the press/media should learn a thing or two from Brian and Co.

Cartoons- Sad that a bastion of Press Freedom choses to not "explicitly" show what the controversy is all about. Perhaps you could have shown cartoons from muslum media depicting Christans, but of course that might offend some one. Maybe you should broadcast only in black and white, color might affend some one!

where were the angry muslim voices when they were blowing up ancient buddas in Afganistan? The hypocrisy should be held to light.

The report of Iran was interesting yet somewhat incomplete. Some countries at the UN feel that the US is doing the same thing it did with the Iraq information. Talk of possible building a nuke then after an invasion finding out the information was wrong. I guess you can't trick some people twice with the same make believe story. All the blogs and BBC are giving the details of the meeting at the UN regarding Iran. Disrepecting the Prophet Muhammad isn't helping matters even our government nor media is out raged yet if anyone were to make fun or make Jesus some kind of terrorist it would be an out cry heard through out the universe and I would be yelling the loudest. There are some things that are off limits. But I guess its no problem when making fun of someone elses belief.

You have to show them, you are going to let them win. Don't do that. We make fun of everybody else, that is part of our culture, if the Muslim community does like it then they need to go someplace where they are not going to be subject to it. We cannot walk on eggs shells for every single group and its beliefs.

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