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.


On a day like this, I envy my friends in the sports broadcasting business. They are consumed by the trading deadline in baseball, and the new starting lineups that will inevitably come about as a result. It makes this day different from all others for them. Our business reflects our world, and to that end there is no escaping the grim and awful situation in the Middle East. While this is not an endorsement of any position on the issue, I commend to everyone's attention Tim Russert's superb interview with Tom Friedman on Meet the Press yesterday [video link]. While Friedman (a veteran of the region and of the New York Times) represents a certain view, his appearance and message both speak to the enormous investment all Americans have in this conflict. To the extent that we can use this broadcast to drive home that point -- the far-reaching consequences of what we see going on right now -- we intend to.

Picking up on that theme, we have commissioned a special look at this conflict from one of our pros: David Gregory will take a half-a-step away from his usual duties as chief White House correspondent -- to look at exactly what it is Israel is doing here and who is leading that country. David and I spoke before he boarded the shuttle to Washington (OK, full disclosure -- when I turned my cell phone on this morning, there was ALREADY a voice mail from David on there), and he's been in constant touch with our producers here all day. As subject matters go, this one is a minefield. As our responsibilities go, explaining the stakes to our audience ranks way up there. If you see Andrea Mitchell appear on our air tonight: it means news was made on board Secretary Rice's flight home.  Andrea is traveling with her, and they are supposed to land at Andrews AFB about a half hour before our air time. We will have a live satellite truck standing by if need be.

Also tonight, Fletcher and Engel from the region, Don Teague on the domestic heat wave, Plan B (the drug) and gas prices (the whiparound effect). And we'll touch on the near-self-destruction of a major Hollywood figure.

A busy day here: I'm a third of the way through three separate appearances today on three broadcasts other than my own. And a special note: in our chronicles of our summer interns and what they learned during their time with us, watch this space for the next intern essay: the incomparable Casey Dolan, pride of New Canaan, Conn., and Villanova, will finally explain to her parents what it is she did after she got on the train to the city each morning of the summer.

I hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.

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I didn't want to read the Richard Engle War Zone Diary. I knew how difficult it would be for me to see and read. I finally did. Thank you for your sacrifice to help us see and understand the reality of this tragic heartwrenching disgusting situation.

In the late-60s and through the ‘70s, Israel was clearly America’s underdog nation-hero. Israel was then a relatively weak, peace-loving, and passive nation toiling to create properity for its people. They had defiantly confronted, and decisively defeated, a superior Arab force dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Israel’s David had repeatedly slain the Sunni’s Goliath. in order to create a stable and peaceful region, America has generously endeavored to strengthen Israel’s ability to defend itself from future Arab-state aggression. Over just the past ten years, America has donated $17 billion in military assistance to Israel. Per capita, they are by far the largest recipient of U.S. military aid. America’s ambition was to quell violence in the Middle East by molding Israel onto an adversary too strong to attack. With America’s assistance, Israel has successfully become the strongest military force in the Middle East. They are the only country in the region to possess a nuclear deterrent which was created from fissionable material donated by the U.S. They are the recipients of some of the most technologically advanced and lethal killing-machines the U.S. has to offer. They have become so powerful that other nations in the region dare not confront them militarily.

Has this American-groomed awesome force become a credit to the U.S. and used its vast military strength wisely? No, they have not! Have Israelis limited their use of power? Are their military responses restrained and proportionate? No, Israel has fallen victim to the corrupting influence of absolute power. They have added fear and intimidation to their arsenal. Once the underdog, Israel has now become the neighborhood tough and schoolyard bully. Weaker opponents are to be crushed without mercy upon the slightest provocation. Civilians are treated as combatants, villages and their occupants associated with the enemy are to be obliterated, foreign political leaders, who oppose them, are viewed as criminals to be executed, or rounded up and imprisoned. National boundaries of neighboring states are irrelevant and are violated with impunity. America’s generous assistance to Israel has created a Godzilla in the Middle East.

Over the past decade, instead of quelling violence and bringing peace to the region, America’s weapons have been used by Israel to assassinate, kidnap, and hold hostage the political leaders of neighboring states, and to maim and kill thousands of innocent civilians. As Israel’s champion, America has become an unwilling accomplice to Israel’s holocaust. How does the White House respond to such atrocities on Israel’s part? The Bush Administration reflexively springs to Israel’s defense no matter how egregious their offense. no matter how unethical their behavior. The Bush White House is loath to chastise Israel for offenses, they have committed in Iraq themselves. Israel can obtain obedient acquiescence from Bush merely by playing their “war on terror” card. Is the tail now wagging the dog?

Why let Israel’s bad judgment become a mid-wife to our own? It is time to stop dancing with the devil, and confess the sins of our errant spawn. It is time to stop funding Israel’s aggression with our military aid. It is time to redefine America’s relationship with Israel, and to disassociate ourselves from their atrocities. If America is to provide a moral compass for the world, then we must apply the same moral standards to ourselves, our allies, and adversaries alike without prejudice or equivocation. American must champion the morally just, not the morally bankrupt.

Starting the month on the Eldrige Park merry-go-round,and ending up having to report on WWIII.
Remember-Isreal is only sticking up for itself,finally. You report it from the other side. Isrealies don t strap bombs on their children and send them to kill Palestinians. Aren t they all recieving blessings if they are killed?
I think that Isreal should give them all the grand reward of 1000 virgins each now.That would make all of our dreams come true.

I would like you to elaborate on what you said last night on Hardball; about after your trip to the middle east, your feelings are that this is just the beginning, you feel something larger is in the wings. I believe that is what I heard, am I correct?

I got some questions:

Why the MSM keeps counting the number and type of missiles Hezbollah launches into Israel, but no one seems to count the number and type of bombs and missiles Israel launches into Lebanon, what's the difference?

Why we still have not seen any picture or video of Hezbollah rocket batteries destroyed amongst the rubble of the buildings Israel destroyed?

Did anyone see a Hezbollah rocket launcher at the Beirut Airport? Or the Power plant?

It’s the phrase "the right to defend itself" copyrighted by Israel?

Why everyone has to comply (or else) with IAEA and UN resolutions and inspections, but Israel?

with what type of moral authority the US can ask countries (like Syria and Iran) to stop sending armament to Hezbollah (allegedly) when the US is sending armament to Israel (allegedly)?

Why nobody wants to address the root of the problem: the inhumane conditions in the Ghettos in Gaza and West Bank, and the right to Palestine to exist, and be respected as human beings?

How the people trying to leave the South of Lebanon or the country can do so if almost every bridge and road is bombed and destroyed? I think the flying magic carpet is just a stereotype...

CNN will surely remind us today that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war - now branded as Crisis in the Middle East - but you won't catch anyone saying it's Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq.

I hope I am not labeled as anti-Semite, because I am asking these questions...

I agree with Mark Southern (7/31/06) about the disappearance of coverage of the Iraq CIVIL war that we are locked in. Why is the President out campaigning for republicans and not trying to figure out how to get out of the mess we are in. Look at how many Iraqi civilans have been killed in the last few months and our young men and women are still in harm's way. What is wrong with this administration?

Can we hear some happy news please? Everyday. What good in the world is going on today? NBC's stories are too grim and Brian pitches them as order to sell it to the suckers who want or are too stupid to believe it. My my my my my. There is all sorts to be happy about. Life is good.

Brian, you and your reporters are doing a great job under most difficult conditions in the Middle East.
You mentioned Tim Russerts interview with Tom Friedman on Meet the Press. I would like to recommend Richard Cohen's column "Hanker Down with History" in the Washington Post July 18, 2008, as very important and worhwhile reading.In that connection I would like to remind readers that Th. Herzl, the Founder of Zionism late in the 19th Century in his book the Jewish State (Der Judenstaat) wrote, that while Palestine is of course our first choice for a Jewish Homeland, if for some reason we cannot go there, some other place, for instance Argentine, could do also.I also believe, either Golda Meir or Ben Gurion once said "when we got there (Palestine), we were surprised to find people there"!!
Keep up the good work, but refrain from honoring brief segments as "In Depth" reporting.

I must have been asleep for several years and missed the demonstrations and indignation in the Arab street when suicide bombers were blowing up innocent civilians and pizza parlors in Israel. I'll bet ther were really upset at the slaughter of innocents, richt ?

I think Hezbollah told the people to stay and that they would take care of them. The people believed them because they are probably their husbands, uncles, brothers, cousins, etc. It's sad that people are consumed with so much hate that they are not even concerned with the safety of their own people. If Israel bombs the house where Hezbollah's families and families of their supporters are, Hezbollah wins because Israel killed civilians. They listen to their leaders and are conned into thinking what they are doing is noble, even if they and their families are used deceitfully.


Please allow me to say that it is a pleasure to have a new forum in which to read the thoughts of a great newsperson. To that I say thank you.

In light of recent developments, I have been troubled with the phrase "the War on Terror", coined so effectively by the current administration. It seems to me this is nothing more than a colloquialism for national security, a concept not lost on any administration. The need to interject the word "terror" seems insulting, and an obvious scare tactic to continue the machine moving forward, despite continuous blunders.

The United States, Israel, and every other country in the world for that matter, should continue to concentrate of that basic concept of security. This can not be achieved by constant misguided rage at the wrong targets. In other words, to preserve security for a country, it is utterly crucial for that country to recognize what the threat is before launching into destruction mode, using all capable intelligence information along with some common sense and a little appreciation of human life. In my opinion, the last of such a balance was shown in 2001 by the current administration, when we systematically eliminated those responsible for harboring and aiding a group that attacked us. Unfortunately, this balance and planning was short-lived, and we lost our way as we occupied Iraq. I can only hope that Israel doesn’t make the same mistake (though it could be argued they already have) as they try their hand at preserving national security, o as we call it in the United States, “fighting the War on Terror.”

The final segment of tonight's broadcast regarding the increasing cost of food due to rising oil prices was more interesting for what it presented visually than what was being said. We watched a single mom, a teacher, commenting on the rising cost of an ear of corn (from 10 cents to 20 cents). She was wearing a Coach logo backpack, and went home to serve her child Goldfish crackers at the granite countertop of her kitchen. Now we see what her priorities are.
In the Great Depression era, apples sold for 5 cents, while a carpenter lucky to have a job earned 30 cents an building a home.
It would not be a popular segment, but I would appreciate a discussion of how young people's sense of entitlement to luxuries clouds their valuation of what is most important in life.
I would add that I did not grow up in the Depression, but heard all the stories of my parents who lived through that era and Wartime shortages, and was taught to set my prioities in order.

I do believe in God but I've long been disillusioned about mankind. When I see what is happening in the World I wonder if it is sinful to ponder if perhaps John Lennon had it right:
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too…”
Or would we just be killing each other for some other reason?
So many good people in the world…so much misunderstanding….

I find this war between Israel and Hezbollan to be up setting! People are starting to blame Jewish people for the killed of the women and kids.This is wrong, I am a Jew and I do not have any blood on my hands! I hope the fighting will come to an end , before more innocent people get killed!

Keep up the wonderful work your doing. I think you're fair in your reporting. I've especially been impressed with your coverage of how war affects children in Lebanon as well as Iraq. Richard Engle has done awesome reporting in the region.
I couldn't agree with you more on Thomas Friedman's insights to the Middle East problems as he stated them on Meet the Press as well as Tim Russert's CNBC interview with him.
Anne, Clifton,NJ

Good job Brian, hope you don't mind the informal address, you come into my living room every evening to inform me of the world's events, I trust you, therefore I feel like I know you. I watched you on Hardball and thank you for not taking that bait Chris Matthews was trying to get you to bite on. As much as I enjoy Harball and Mr.Matthews, I like the idea of the person who brings me the news being impartial and unbiased, truly fair and balanced. Of course you are entitled to your own point of views, however when it's lights, camera, action please just give this ma'am the facts. Being sincere, showing empathy and simply telling like it is, is what I admired about Peter Jennings of ABC and it is refreshing to see the same qualities in you. It was my 27 year old Truck Driver son who turned me on to you. While he is out there on the road he says when he gets a chance to watch the news it's you who he believes is the straight shooter. I grew up watching Frank Reynolds and Peter Jennings with my Dad, he only turn to ABC when Walter Cronkite retired. Frank and Peter were my "straight shooters". My dad felt like Walter was his. This crisis in the Middle East in my opinion is going to get worse before it gets better. I believe that Israel has the right to defend themselves and I admire them for it. Sadly this is nothing new for that section of the world, the children of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau have been fighting for a long time now, Isaac was the child of the promise, Ishmael got the leftovers just like Easu when he was cheated out of his blessings by his brother Jacob, with the help of their mother Rebekah. Yet I as an African American Christian I pray for Israel as David implores throughout the book of Psalm. Continue to do your job, handle your business and keep your cell phone off when you're at home, your family deserves to have your undivided attention! Thanks for you time!

What happens when we have an international, mostly European force in Lebanon to enforce a cease fire, while US forces are close by in Iraq, and the elections here in November are over with a Republican majority once again, will Bush then feel he has everything in place to go ahead and do something drastic in Iran order to carve a legacy? I'm very concerned about the way things are lining up.

Your report on Mel Gibson's arrest for driving drunk, while senseless wars rage on, is the most irresponsible piece of tabloid reporting I've seen lately and reminds me why I read. It's easier to filter out the propaganda.

Interesting to note Brian that although you acknowledged the importance and far reaching consequences of events in the middle east the decision was still made to give attention to the tabloid flash of the day. What about todays historic official transfere of command in Afghanistan? What about Iran? Than, there is Syria, SYRIA, mobilizing. And what about Filmore street? So many items to cover, so little time. Have we been spoiled to expect commentary's, by such great correspondents as Cronkite, Murrow, that explain the what, who and why, as everyone already knows the where, our back yard. Okay, holding a slot for possible breaking has some merit but have they confiscated Andrea's cell? Even someone suffering from severe muopia can surly see the gathering clouds from atop the rock. With such focus on personal cell phone usage surly we need to refocus. With only 18 minutes of net airtime, there is a dire need to inform objectively, to educate the public on the issues of today and yesterday, that will affect us all tommorow. The msm has a constitutional obligation to get Joe and Jane to take notice before Joe jr gets deployed to Arlington. We can do better. Note to Tom, re: class struggles, excellent subject matter Tom, just missing something.

I really enjoy listening to Brian Williams and this is the first time i went to his daily blog and i was even more impressed at his ability to put forth complex ideas in such a clear and precise manner. I will keep listening and reading Brian. Thank you for all you do. Keep up the good work!

please do not take this as a joke, i do not understand why the US gov.acts as if Isarel can do no wrong.

Brian, I'm glad you're willing to turn off the cell phone. I wonder when the last time Ms. Rice was able to turn her's off and have some "quiet time"?

Brian, where is the coverage for Iraq, is there a media blackout because the Bush war machine does not want us to see how badly the country is screwed up? Why are we not receiving the coverage we were receiving before the Israeli/Lebanon conflict? Why is the media not hounding the Bush administration on a failed forign policy? I can clearly see a one-sided media not doing their jobs in asking the tough questions. If this had been the Clinton administration the media would be camped out at the Whiotehouse day and night wanting comments and demanding answers. Why are we not seeing this?

I am truly baffled at how mislead and ill-informed how some people in this country are with regards to the reasons that started the current conflict between Isreal and Lebanon. Yes, Isreal cited the reason for their airstrike was because of the kidnapped soldiers. But the kidnapping took place because Isreal held some Lebanese as prisoners. And why was that? The list can go on and on. But just to characterize this as "Hezbollah started this" is not only an over-simplification but also misleading. One can't help but wonder if our leaders sincerely believe in their hearts that characterization, given the level of sophistication of our intelligence and years of diplomatic experiences in that region. A simple fact cannot be overlooked. Hundreds of innocent people are dying as a price for politicians are hashing out their own agenda. If this is not an act of crime, I don't know what is.

Last but not least, my admirations to Richard Engel and all reporters at the front line of this conflict. Thank you and stay safe!

All this talk in this and the other topics these past few weeks about Israel and the right of self defense, many people have wrote in saying Israel is correct to bomb Lebanon towns and cities in their attempt to eradicate Hezballah.

I ask: If a group of armed men were to enter a bank, get caught, become trapped inside the bank, take hostages and shoot at the police outside, does the police have the right and duty to blow up the bank, shoot and try and kill most of the people in the bank so none of the bank robbers can escape?

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