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.

One more thing...

Comments I made during a live interview with Chris Matthews last night have been aggressively misunderstood in the hours since. Here was my point: people always say that our country will be at a disadvantage as long as the "other side" is willing to take their own life for the cause. I was making the point that if that's some kind of litmus test for bravery... or belief in the cause, we have those guys, too. People who fight for us, people who protect us -- know full well that the American cause is worth dying for -- as are our freedoms. People are dying for the U.S. side every day. Laying their lives on the line. And I give thanks for them every day. I was not at all equating the "other" cause with what Americans stand for. I was criticizing the view, expressed by some, that as long as we are fighting the "suicide bomber mentality" we can never get the upper hand, because, as this belief goes, "we aren't willing to give our lives the way they are." Of course we are. The difference is: the folks willing to die for OUR country do so in the act of protecting and defending it -- NOT killing civilians by detonating an explosive and killing innocent people.

I hope that clears it up.

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COMMENTS

An apology is in order. A "clarification" doesn't really mean much when there is no regret for such outrageous statements.

Mr. Williams is no doubt a very intelligent, highly successful, and well-meaning individual who simply got "caught in the music." He should just focus on reporting the news, not analyzing it on live TV. Get true experts for that. Trying to sound profound on live TV is difficult, especially if you are not able to fully articulate what you mean.

In his clarification, Mr. Williams still misses a very critical distinction: Our troops not only "protect and defend" our country and freedom, but they also INTEND to survive their missions. Ultimate success is completing their mission, while "bringing everyone home". Suicide bombers only survive their mission if they fail.

And one more thought: The media wore us out on Mel Gibson. Yet there was not a mention of Mr. Williams "inappropriate" comments in mainstream media. In the end, I don't care what either Gibson or Williams think about anything. But dragging one guy through the mud for days, while ignoring the other? Honor among thie.....professional courtesy, I guess.

I totally understood what BW was talking about. It was pretty simple.

'as long as the "other side" is willing to take their own life for the cause.'

There is no value on life to these extremists. Not on their own or anyone else's. And I got no impression that BW was a condoner of this behavior. I sure do wish that people would open their minds and grant the possiblity that what they heard isn't always what was said.

"The party of inclusion and sensitivity has allowed known terrorist groups to operate here in the states because of their fear of offending someone."

That's just a rank, irresponsible Rovian lie. You do your country no service when you spread slanderous lies. Brian didn't mean to offend you.

Why on earth does he need to apologize? He did nothing wrong.

Why are we so judgemental? BW owes us no explanation or apology for what he said or did not say. Stop blowing everything out of proportion. We still have freedom of speech and just because you "thought" what he said meant one thing doesn't mean that he meant anything by his statements. I'm so sick of all this political correctness craziness! Get a life!

Obviously, ones take on this reply by BW is filtered thru ones party affiliation. It is pathetic that we have become so politicized that we cannot even see or perceive things as they really are. The party of inclusion and sensitivity has allowed known terrorist groups to operate here in the states because of their fear of offending someone. I really was impressed with one Israeli official when interviewed by someone on the MSNBC team. When asked about the women and children dying as a result of the Israeli bombing, the man replies (I'm paraphrasing), "We are sorry for the deaths. We do drop leaflets to warn them of the impending bombs. However, if their people choose to stay and die, better their women and children than ours." On the surface this sounds cruel. Given the same situation; would we prefer Iran or Iraqs children die during a time of war or our own die?

Spin it anyway you want Brian, you're comparison was not well thought out. Think what you may of terrorist's, but for you to suggest their acts are comparable to those of our Special Forces is mind numbing. Worse yet, your attempt to backtrack is a bit feeble. You said what you meant, people interpreted as they heard it, and now you either live with or suggest everyone else got it wrong.

I'd be more sympathetic if you even TRIED to apologize for the REAL hurt you caused OR if you broadcast more of the GOOD news that routinly happens in Irag.

This fact has also been aggressively misunderstood: You are not a journalist (unfortunately, you and your network position you as one). You were a member of the Carter administration (a low ranking one at that), you have no degree, and you have no experience in the real work world other than broadcast media. At least be an honest shill and apply for a job at the DNC.

Well said

Brian, I watched the same thing that others watched,and knowing who you are and your great work over the years, it's inconceivable that some would regard you as anything but sincere,caring, and proud of our troops.No need to apologize. Some people just don't understand. Keep up the good work,and you and your family, be safe there, and on your trip home.

It appears that you have heard too many of the non-apologies offered by politicians when they say something that offends people: You have tried to turn the issue on the people who "aggressively misunderstood" your original comments, while not actually apologizing for saying whay upset people in the first place.

A proper response would have been more on the order of: "I apologize for making remarks that were taken in a fashion I did not intend. I was trying to imply that our people are as willing to lay down their own lives in the defense of others as the terrorists are willing to throw away theirs to endanger them. I obviously did not make that clear, and will attempt to do so in the future."

More people might actually believe that your apology was sincere that way.

There was nothing wrong with what Mr. Williams stated regarding sacrifice for a cause. Any warrior worthy of the name will do so.

Unfortunately too many Americans are ignorant of the motives of the enemy, or have swallowed nonsense like "they hate freedom" or "they do not value life." Anyone who bothers to look at history will find that suicide attacks are a tactic by the weak against the strong. And in the case of al Qaeda, they are designed to be punitive: to punish the US and allies for our policies in the Middle East, our basing of troops in their holy land, and our support for Israel. Our leaders dare not admit this to us, for it may lead to a debate on our foreign policy and too many people (the military, Israel, the oil companies) benefit from the current policy. And hardly anyone in the west cares about Muslim grievences.

Case in point: someone on this blog talked about terrorists carrying out "some of the most deplorable, depraved acts in the history of the human race--viz., to kill innocent civilians." I ask you, isn't that what Israel is doing in Lebanon right now? Is it somehow not barbaric to slaughter people with cluster bombs? Do you think the Arabs watching this killing on TV are going to hide in their homes like the cowards you claim they are, or are they going to fight back in any way they can? Unfortunately we are going to find out.

Agree with Dennis, you only missed "I apologize" in your explanation.

Watching what you said and hearing it live did not convey to me what you are saying now.

Mr. Willams, I did not agressively misunderstand what you were saying. It was clear that you were comparing our special forces men to suicide bombers. Both are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country. What I do object to is that you made the comparison. You should have pointed out how they are different. You never did. Our special forces are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect others. Suicide bombers are willing to take their lives to destroy the lives of others. One group of men act with bravery, dignity and respect for life. The other out of no sense of respect for the dignity of those who they are trying to destroy. They are cowards, not heroes. Perhaps we in the Western world cannot understand a group who do this willingly. Your entire answer to the question was unforgivable. You are a journalist and have a better command of your comments. It offended me as much as learning about Mel Gibson's comments. I hope you make an apology to the American people. What you said above doesn't come close to showing that you accept that you were wrong. What were you thinking?

I think you do an excellent job reporting the news. Words can always be misinterpreted. Not everyone agrees all the time. Please bring us more positive news about individual troops fighting for our nation. Good, positive news is always nice to hear. Thank you for all you and your coworkers do. We do appreciate you.

Brian-

Your meaning wasn't that hard to understand. I think some people are just being PC (probably the ones that complain about that the most).

The "litmus test for bravery" comment in your explanation suggests you have not a clue what's going on in the world. The suicide bombers are not giving up their lives in selfless acts of bravery but in some of the most deplorable, depraved acts in the history of the human race--viz., to kill innocent civilians, and even then in the base belief in some kind of eternal reward for their sacrifice. Are you REALLY unable to see the difference and to understand why your views are so offensive?

You were not "aggressively misunderstood," as you now spin it. You were caught on camera taking moral equivalence to its sickening extreme, comparing Islamic extremists who are willing to die in order to commit mass murder with heroes who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save others. Had you been a braver person yourself, Mr. Williams, you would have taken responsibility for your ill-thought-out comments instead of aggressively trying to weasel your way out of them.


I retired from the U.S. Navy after 24 years of active duty service. I watched your interview with Matthews last night and I FULLY understood what you meant about Rangers and SEALs. Thank You for acknowleding them and making their sacrifices the better of the evils around us. Stay safe and keep up the good job!

Brian,
Your explanation is only missing two words: I apologize.

Brian, I have no problem with this amplification, but I think it isn't fair to say your original comments were "aggressively misunderstood." On Hardball, you only provided the comparison between the terrorists and "our guys" without elaborating on the distinction--as far as I know from the extract I've seen. To understand what you meant would have been an act of generosity. To misunderstand was only natural. Thanks for clearing the matter up.

I am glad you responded but I have some remaining concerns:

Being a suicidal fanatic is not a litmus test for bravery.

Defending against suicidal radicals who desire to kill civilians is much more difficult than defending against a conventional military. Defending against Kamikazes in WW-II was difficult – but at least they did not target civilians. Defending against a hijacker who wants to go to Cuba is also much easier than defending against a suicidal killer. We even put up with this inconvenience in the decade of the 60’s.

To my knowledge, no terrorist has been caught in the security line of an airport. And we will never “get the upper hand” by relying on improved to extreme security measures.

Terrorist groups are caught using intelligence: data mining, surveillance, intercepting international phone calls and e-mails, tracking financial transactions, and hopefully a few other techniques the NYT hasn’t exposed yet.

Eventually, someone will slip through. So catching terrorists is not the solution. We need prevention. And we should be spending more time discussing prevention.

After about an hour yesterday I stopped watching all TV reporting on this terrorist plot. I wanted to hear what happened, not what the reporters and pundits thought about it.

I am for term limits for politicians and now I am for time outs for news readers/reporters and pundits.. I favor the 1/1 plan. For every one month in front of the camera newsreaders/reporters, and pundits have to spend one month behind the camera doing what ever.

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