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.


It was hardly the average commute to work this particular morning: the scene, just a few blocks from here, of a column of smoke rising from an East Side townhouse (make that "former" townhouse), while five or more helicopters circled like bees up above. The "back story" of what brought down the townhouse gets more interesting by the hour... it looks like it involves a doctor, an estranged spouse, Hitler and suicide... in no particular order. However interesting the story, however exclusive the neighborhood, all day long we've been playing the difficult and familiar game of balance, which is pretty common around these parts. Put simply: if this same explosion happened today in Columbus, Ohio, Chicago, Denver or Beverly Hills, Calif., would it warrant a full-blown report on our broadcast?  Part of the answer is: it is what it is, and thus defies comparisons... the East Side of Columbus just isn't a fair comparison. We are weighing it against other news and by air time you will get to see our decision, which hasn't been made yet.

In another league entirely is our dominant story of this day: what has become of Iraq. As one producer put it in our editorial meeting, "If this isn't civil war, I don't know what one looks like." We will hear from our own Mike Boettcher and Gen. Barry McCaffrey. I will try to get the general to share with you some of what he had to say at our news division briefing last week.

We have an interesting story tonight on insurance troubles in the Storm Zone, and an equally interesting piece (in light of the awful scene our WVIT-TV cameras captured in New London, Conn., this weekend when an elderly driver lost control of a car and injured 27 people) on elderly drivers, by George Lewis... who effectively makes himself a small part of this story tonight.

In the realm of the Web, the secrets of our industry are no longer secret, as of the publication this very morning of this piece in USA Today. TVNewser is the work of an enterprising young man, and it's often how people in television journalism know what's going on in our business. 

Another great Web story: I have finally found a political candidate I can support. A candidate with great qualities: loyalty, kindness, a kind of shaggy nobility, unconditional love and great character.  The only downside: occasional saliva issues, and soiling of household rugs (thought that's mostly behind him). He is Brinkley (I guess because Bono made the whole "one name" thing so incredibly cool) and he's running for governor of Alaska. Besides, when was the last time you wanted to scratch YOUR candidate for governor behind the ear? Or see if you could make him do that "thumper" thing with his leg? And it's all for a good cause.

In sports: what was that French guy thinking?

We hope you can join us for our Monday night broadcast.

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Thanks for the first-rate piece on the lawsuit in Mississippi against Nationwide--which made its own advertising ironic by definitely not being on the side of homeowners who had wind damage from Katrina. I hope everyone who got the shaft from Nationwide wins their case.

Meanwhile, it looks like Louisiana is getting the shaft regarding the initial report on hurricane protection. As yesterday's Times-Picayune says, "When Congress told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do a fast-track study on how to protect Louisiana from a Category 5 storm, they surely weren't expecting to wait seven to nine years before any construction begins." The newspaper adds, "the slow start isn't the only disappointment."

Reason being, the Bush Administration removed any language calling for particular projects that had been included by Louisiana officials and the Corps. The resulting report has little resemblance to a draft it took them 6 months to put together. One project pulled was a plan to build levees and gates to block storm surge from entering Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain.

What part of "fast track" doesn't the Administration understand? Their kicking the can down the road is too slow.

There's no time to lose--Louisiana needs more than to heal the wounds inflicted by Katrina and shudders at the thought of what a new storm could do to her. She is losing her wetlands at a rate of a football field every half hour. Katrina and Rita caused her to lose 185 square miles on top of what has already been washing away. Her coastline is moving closer and closer to New Orleans. Louisiana needs Category 5 hurricane protection, and she can't wait years to get work on it started.

The Bush Administration shouldn't be spending 2 years trying to figure out what to do. It should make Louisiana coastal restoration a continuing commitment like the war on terrorism.

Brian, please be sure to let us know the outcome of the wind vs. water insurance suit even though a decision is probably months down the "long road back"...

If I'm not mistaken, I believe I heard the words, "civil war" uttered at least 3 times on your broadcast. I consider this a breakthrough in what has been evident for months.
I hope the generals pull our troops back, and into a safe and secure area. Furthermore, I hope someone with leadership qualities formulates and executes the rapid exit and redeployment of our troops from the region.

Dear Brian, I recently watched the show and wonder where are you getting the information on gas prices? In Southern California it's almost $4.00. I know several fellow college students struggling with gas prices and college. Why isn't Nightly News reporting on states that have high gas prices?

General McCaffrey lived up to everything Brian said last Friday the general would be. Its nice to have a true picture of what's going on in Iraq instead of White House spin. I'm glad the descriptions came from the general because if a reporter said that kind of thing he'd be attacked as a traitor or friend of the terrorists. Let them try to say that about General McCaffrey.

Along with the general, I was impressed with the detail NBC had about all the different attacks and killings that took place in Baghdad in the last two days. I don't think anybody else covered them nearly as well. NBC's reporters must have taken great risks to provide such thorough coverage. Thank you!

I hope you'll have General McCaffrey on more often.

For TV News junkies (basically those of us who read the daily nightly on a regular basis), TVNewser is an addictive fountain of news and gossip. My habit developed with the nearly hourly updates on April 3-5 of this year as Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira's respective contract details were coming out. I'm never sure how much to believe, but in Katie-watch, and later Charlie-watch, it was pretty much on. But like so many things on the web, eats more and more of my day.


The collapse has been covered wall to wall, merits 6 seconds max. What is going on in Gaza an Iraq and theres troop movement in Afghanastan, than of course the global air saftey record. So much to get out, but first, a break.....

Regarding "What was that French guy thinking?"
First of all, the best player on the French Soccer Team is Algerian. Second, the Italian player obviously made some kind of a slur (possibly racial) to Zidane as they were walking on the soccer field. It must have been pretty bad for him to react in such a way. Racism against North Africans in Europe has been rampant and sometimes, it is just too much to bear.

Brian, you must understand the "if it bleeds it leads" gendre of the elite news media . I always thought you added a little class to the evening news but your producers or whomever is in charge reduce the quality to that of the local suburban "film at 11 crowd" please take so control of your shows content to meet the status of its scope.

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