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.


President Bush is airborne, and right now we are feverishly condensing a wide-ranging 25-minute conversation with the president (with stops and starts for cameras, logistics, venues, and the heat) into broadcast form. The term of art we use is "crash edit," and right now that's exactly appropriate. We covered a number of topics, from Katrina to Iraq to his own legacy... to his relationship with his father... to his summer reading list. The latter contains a surprise that surpasses Albert Camus' "The Stranger." Bw_bush_1 The schedule for the president's time on the ground... and our time with him... was revised as late as 2 a.m. It was further revised when the president moved our interview up by an hour, on the fly, because of the heat of the day and the crowd waiting to see him and the first lady.

We will take a moment tonight to air tape of how we began the broadcast exactly a year ago. How little we knew then... about what was on the way.

We'll also have the other news of this day, but from where we sit -- the president's comments make up much of the news. A lot of people -- the best technical and editorial people in our business -- worked very hard today in the blistering heat of the wasteland that is this portion of the Lower Ninth Ward -- in order to bring you tonight's broadcast.

Tomorrow evening we'll be back in our home studio in New York. We hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast from New Orleans.

Photo caption: Brian and President Bush talk today at Musicians' Village in the Upper Ninth Ward. Photo by Subrata De, NBC News.

Read more from Brian Williams 2006, NBC's Gulf Coast recovery files

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This may or may not get posted, but I have to comment on the fact that people are actually worried about the amount of respect the President was shown during this interview. I'm sorry but the people who live on the Gulf Coast haven't been shown any respect in my opinion. This is the United States of America and we can't even help our own people, on our soil any better than this. This whole situation really breaks my heart. It seems our country is more concerned with helping other countries, which is good, but whatever happened to protecting our own first. These citizens have lost virtually everything. Who cares about his respect.

Brian, We feel that you did a great job interviewing the President. We only wish the President to be as good at the job he was "hired" for as you are at yours!!! Keep up the good work. The President really showed himself in his "true self" which is not good. Another "tough" couple of years of the country!

Brian, your interview with Bush wasn't at all disrespectful. The fact that you asked direct and pertinent questions that will explain both sides of an issue doesn't mean that you "dissed" the president. The questions you asked are related to a national issue that is costing thousands of lifes and trillions of dollars. It is having a negative impact on the national economy and the spirit of the nation. You asked the question to the person who is solely responsible for initiating this mess we are in.

Once again, Brian, you have proven to be a journalist of the utmost integrity and intelligence and unlike many of your contemporaries, have found the courage to speak "truth to power" in the tradition of giants such as Edward R. Murrow. At a time when most journalists would rather capitulate or sidestep issues in order to please their networks or other pressure groups, you have shown courage and dignity and asked questions, the responses to which, the American public is entitled. This president and his administration have enjoyed an unprecedented lack of scrutiny and honest evaluation by a press which has all but abdicated it's responsibilites to the people whom it serves. You respectfully, but firmly, asked all of the appropriate questions. The fact that this imperial president was uncomfortable in the situation reminds us all that perhaps, for the first time, someone finally had the courage to point out the obvious fact that "the emperor" indeed was wearing "no clothes".

Kudos, Brian!

In the on-air review of the comments made, there was a great effort at balance, and of the four comments quoted, two criticized Brian for impudence with Pres. Bush, getting in his face, etc. We thought it was the other way around, that Bush swayed and teetered as though he wanted to take a swing at Brian. But I'm encouraged that so many fellow citizens read Bush's performance as we did: pathetic, shameful, and embarrassing. At one point I had to go out of the room for a minute. Bush is an untalented buffoon, and Brian helped show us this.

Brian Williams, your interview with Bush was very good. You asked great questions that gave him an opportunity to show who he is... and he did. His inane responses would be amusing if it were not so tragic that he is the President. An intelligent, compassionate politician who happened just to be the victim of bad PR could have done a lot to redeem himself in that interview. But what we saw was a clueless bully. He invaded your personal space but he was very weak, and you were very strong. Good job!

I think Brian Williams did a great job, when he interviewed the President. We need newsmen like Brian to ask questions, so we can learn some what the President is thinking about or going to do.

I believe that many individuals critize things they know nothing about. I don't believe it is easy to be in the President's shoes with his great responsibility to all the citizens of the U.S. Instead of constant picking apart of all our President does, things might go a lot smoother, if individuals would pray & ask God to bless our President and our country. The buck stops here!

Brian, you came up a few notches with your interview with Bush in N.O. You let one of his lies slide and I was about to change channels, but all of a sudden you really were asking hard questions and expecting honest answers. The mainstream media has been afraid to do this, the Congress can't and the American Citizenry has gone underground. I applaud your efforts, keep it up. SOMEBODY has to keep this administration held accountable. It is also the job of you interviewers to be forthright, honest and toexpect honest answers. It isn't hard to tell when this POTUS isn't able to tell you the truth or doesn't know what he is saying. I was really interested tho in how he kept crowding into you. Was that in order to somehow get away from the questions?

I watched Brian's interview and observed that his feeling about the President's remarks. A student of journalism is taught to listen to the interviewee's remarks with courtesy and respect. The interviewer should show no physical indication of opinion. Brian apparently did not attend that portion of his journalism class. Opinions can be ventured later, because indication of opinion during the interview affects the response of the interviewee. But, I guess that is the new journalism.

I was a, somewhat interested viewer of Brian's newscasts. I will probably watch FOX or Katie more now.

Brian, by now you have heard all the complaints about the main stream media. Unfortunately, you have become one of them. You may not like the President, but you should respect the office. I did not like the "in your face" attitude. Move over Al Gore!

Great Job! on interviewing Bush. You brought up questions we'd all like answers to. To bad that man always goes off on tangents and never actually adresses the questions being asked, or he's got an excuse not an answer. But as long as his "Daddy loves him"! ha what a joke.

I think Brian Williams is a superb journalist and news anchor. NBC did the best job by far in covering the ravages of Katrina and the colossal failure on all levels of government to help the people in New Orleans. As far as his interview with bush, I give him kudos for not breaking out into hysterical laughter after the nonsense statements that came out of bush's mouth. "I read three Shakesperes" Yea, right. The sequel to "My Pet Goat" would be more believable.

Yes the Dyson remarks were snarky. The President truly
believes in his actions-they come from a place of leadership and desire to keep us and the country safe
from people who would hijack airplanes, plot and plan
another terrorist attack here and in Iraq, Afganistan,
Israel, Lebanon, He wants to stop them by any means.
I believe he makes my glorious five year old grandson
who is on the autistic spectrum feel safe and know
I worry less each time a story on our brave troops
is on NBC. Oh, sorry, we haven't been seing many of
those for Colin to look at and understand how strong
it is to fight, far away from our petty needs and
political rhetoric, and stand for something meaningful
and help others to lead democratic valued lives.
We try to explain the world is not anti-everything
to do with Bush diatribe/The Katrina story..well. BW
Texas Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida all have the
same federal governtment. It just seems it only failed
in Louisiana, which would have a thinking manager say-what happend in LA.? The abandonment of its' people',[poor and infirm by all from the police to mayor to governor, that's what happen. And the recovery, much
the same consequences because the same people are in
control of the federal money coming. This presents a
great need for leadership,locally to get the wagons
circled. Maybe there' good help in Texas and Florida
on their way. New Orleans residents should dream.This
is a perfect example to push for job ownership instead
of the outflux or residents who are renters and need
government help to live. I live on the gulf coast and
we have been rebuilding after storms since before my
time(49),We could help those who want to be helped and
not just bush-bash/ I Pray for Peace Everywhere and
a return of the "good times keep rolling" We all get
back what we give , so let's all work hard for success
not blame and bashing.Here's a novel thought. Let's support our President, Be Proud of our Country and work hard to enjoy our many blessings as the strong
economy, great baseball season, Nascar chase that's
looking good, new school year for the kids, agreement
on sanctions on the sociopathic Iran and North Korea,
The News looks to breaking the scoops- GO!

Hey Lucy / Linus Van Pelt -

A lot of my comments don't get posted, either, and I never say anything nicer than "George Bush is a retarded monkey with a messianic complex," so get over yourself. Maybe your every word isn't a gem - maybe?

Hey Brian, I loved the look on President Bush's face when you made a reference to "Professor" Dyson's comment on the President's upbringing. He stopped in his tracks and the look on his face was pure Texan as in "that dog don't hunt" and rejected your lame attempt at giving "Professor" Dyson's comment credibility. You should be ashamed of yourself. Pathetic.

The president said he keeps his expectations low.
That explains the people he surrounds himself with.

Dear Brian,
Your interview revealed the intellectual shallowness of the president of the United States. This is not breaking news. However, your question to Bush about what sacrifices the American people are making to support the war on terror was very astute. Your question reflects perhaps THE most important aspect of the Iraq War. The reality is only a few are sacrificing. When I heard the word "sacrifice" I immediately thought of Cindy Sheehan and all those families who gave the ultimate sacrifice --life. Paying high taxes is not my idea of sacrificing. Are those Americans earning more than 150,000K annually sacrificing for the war on terror? Their tax returns are montetarily equivalent to yearly salaries earned by our service men and women.

Mr. Williams. My post from several hours ago has not appeared so I will try again. I understand that you have discretion in posting but I see no reason why mine was left out.

As I previously posted, I was disappointed in your thinly veiled attempt to grill the President under the guise of a Katrina anniversary interview. After your first Katrina question, you spent the rest of the time attempting to discredit his Presidency. And your attitude during the interview seemed combative and disrespectful.

There are certainly proper times for an interview on a wide range of topics, but the Katrina anniversary is not one of them. I feel it was misleading to the viewers and inappropriate in this setting. You have done so much good work in the past year with the Katrina coverage, it seemed out of character for you.

Also, I have watched your Mon & Tue night coverage and have yet to hear the name Nagin. Maybe I missed it.

Mr Williams, I certainly would have been interested in hearing more from the president about the books he'd been reading and what he got out of them. Why not ask him for some details about what he'd gleaned from all that reading he claims he's been doing because frankly, some of us are a little skeptical.

Also I think a burning question I'd like answered is was he aware of the suffering in New Orleans immediately after the Hurricane? Did he get up every morning like the rest of America and run down to turn on the news to see in the people trapped at the Superdome had been rescued yet or was he even aware that there were people there unable to leave with dead bodies on the sidewalks? Why didn't he pick up a phone and say "get them buses now. I want buses there today." There is no doubt in my mind that Clinton or Gore could have gotten something done. Why did he allow the situation at the Superdome to go on for 5 days without intervention? Was he even aware of it. I have never been so frustrated and confused as an American to see that in my life.

That was a great interview with you did with George Bush.It is absolutely frightening that such a shallow and stupid man is President of the United States.
Gigi, New Orleans

I was very disappointed to see the level of unprofessionalism Brian used when speaking to the Pres of U.S. Brian's tone of questioning and facial expressions hinting at a presidential lack of understaning, accountability, not watching nightly newscasts, awareness of public option, etc. was shocking! If this is the "new" nightly news that we should now expect in wake of new generation of newcasters (i.e. competing with Couric, etc.), ratings wars, this is more "reality entertainmnet" than journalism.

Well technicallly, it' wasn't the majority of the population, simply the (1) courtesy of the supreme court, and (2) electoral college votes.

Sickening self-flaggellation by Brian Williams aka Liberal mouthpiece.

Dear Mr. Williams:

Every now and then I watch your news program and realize that you have no great admiration for your government or President. Tonight, I watched your interview with the President. I found it interesting, but your little after comment when the camera left the President and the interview was over was unnecessary - the one expressing surprise that the President was reading Shakespeare as though he had never read him before. Obviously, the President has read Shakespeare before in prep school and at Yale. It seems that you are trying to perpetuate the myth that the President is a light weight - something that the media delights in believing. I thought you were brighter and had more grace.

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