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.

Dead Sea diarist

As I write this post, we are about to depart the Dead Sea Marriott (where three networks, NBC News, Fox and CBS, have gathered to interview Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) for our headquarters in Amman. Our conversation with the Secretary went well -- though she has the most disciplined command of "message" of anyone I've encountered in public life. In plain English, the Secretary is not about to break news unless her intent is to break news. She preferred the word "challenge" over "crisis" to describe the current state of things in Iraq, and she scoffed at any mention of the "s" word (snub) to describe yesterday's cancellation of the meeting between the President and the Iraqi Prime Minister.

We will air much of the conversation tonight, along with our review of the news in this region, capped off by the President's meeting and press conference. David Gregory will have that story, while Richard Engel will catch the Iraqi angle, having talked to al-Maliki here today. Andrea Mitchell has a crucial role tonight: reporting on what is known about the so-called Baker Group, and what it will recommend.

Also today, outside this region, the Soviet/Russian/Britain spy poisoning story has expanded yet again. We will gather up the new and rather astounding moving parts.

And remember the dire predictions about Hurricane season 2006?  Didn't happen. Tonight we'll look at what happened instead.

A bit of color: Fox went before us in the interview order, and their correspondent tried awfully hard to continue the interview with a straight face... after the conversation was interrupted... by a cat. The pool/beach-front deck at the Dead Sea Marriott is a sea of cats. At one table, we counted four felines, each of them seated in a different chair. These cats are of a tough and saucy breed. They have visible swagger. It's close to a strut, actually. One of them made off with the sandwich that had been the intended lunch of the CBS cameraman. The cats, as far as I could tell, run the place. When our cameraman tried to apprehend the cat that had been running around the interview, the cat objected loudly and clawed at him. Finally, after another cat interruption, a member of the security detail that surrounds the Secretary picked up the cat and tossed it off the patio, as several of us looked on, certain that this was a first in the annals of Secretary of State interviews. We're pretty sure the offending cat landed on its feet and is resting comfortably tonight.
Camels_1  More color: the four-lane highway from Amman to the Dead Sea is a majestic drive, full of neck-snapping confluences. It occurred to me, in what most Americans would describe as "the middle of nowhere," that I was conducting a crystal-clear, uninterrupted cell phone call with our New York newsroom -- something that is impossible on my daily commute to work back home. Along the way, we stopped the car to greet two men and their camels. I wasn't quite sure what to say to the men or the camels, but it felt like something to stop the car for. Like the cellphone service here, it was different from the daily commute back home.

We're now back on the road to Amman. We will try our level best to sort out this wide-ranging story in this complex region. We hope you can join us for our Thursday night broadcast from Amman.

Photo caption: Brian appreciates another mode of transportation in Jordan. Photo by NBC's Subrata De.

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Dear Brian,

It certainly is refreshing to listen to your newscasts. You never tell us what to think, or slant a story. You just let us see the truth for ourselves and let us figure it out. Thanks.


I love cats. I was mauled by one when I was very young (still have scars - physical and mental), and my father literally executed the offender. I begged him not to kill the cat, because it was my fault he had attacked me. Now my karma is to save as many cats as I can during my lifetime. For those who don't love cats, my furniture is not shredded (scratching posts) and litter boxes are cleaned daily (more often if needed). You won't know there are 4 cats living here, because if you come into my house, they will run and hide.

Where is this leading? The cats live on that Dead Sea patio. They will still live on that patio when all the "ugly Americans" leave. If they were in the way of a perfect photo-shoot, then respect their turf and find another perfect photo-shoot spot. They are very intelligent creatures and they recognize a bully when they see one throw a friend from the patio. Did anyone try putting out food at small distance to draw them out of the area? You would have been rewarding them to stay out of the picture.

Brian -

Dr. Rice should have followed through on her first goal - to be the Commissioner of the NFL; the Ship of State is not her milieu. Did she condone the cat-hurling? I hope not and I hope the hurler has been also been hurled by now.

The picture of you photographing the camels is priceless.

Seriously, Richard Engle has certainly proven himself to be a terrific journalist and correspondent. His work is First Class.

Thanks for always taking us along on these trips - both on and off camera. Your blog has become must reading for me and I suspect, for most who post here.
Joan Chapman, Cheshire, CT

I had the rare opportunity and privilege to hear Dr. Rice speak on one of her trips to Baghdad... simply amazing is all I can think of to describe here. She spoke for a solid half hour, without notes and none of the normal halts and "um's".. She is serious and articulate and we would be wise to listen.

Brian, Thursday night's broadcast was the excellent. Clear, consise, and helped me understand what is really happening in the middle east. Keep up the good work.

Brian, you're coming home to:

--The mid-west weather coming east. (Hope it doesn't create problems with your arrival.)

--A bunch of disgruntled New Yorkers whose ire was fomented by NASCAR caused gridlock when the mid-town victory lap was taken during rush hour. (Thought NASCAR was trying to MAKE NYC fans.)

--A beautiful Christmas tree.

--Lots of chuckles over cats, camels and cell phones.

Safe home--

I'm so tired of our President saying the same thing, over and over again, "we're not leaving Iraq until the job is done"..blah blah blah. Some may wonder whether he is determined or delusional. Well, I wonder no more. And until there is a pull out (or at least a change in his lip service), when Bush speaks, I probably will most likely "tune out".

How is it good if you stick to an incorrect message? Calling Iraq situation a 'challenge' is an outright slap to the intelligent Amricans! If Afghanistan of 1980s/1990s could produce deadly AlQaeda, I shudder to think what deadly global terrorism will this Iraq spread!

Sorry, but Condoleezza Rice is clearly a Yes-Man, (or is it Yes-Woman?) to President Bush. She is expert at appearing calm, in control, and pretty. But if you listen to how she talks you find she consistently gives ambigous answers to deflect questions that she does not want to answer truthfully. This seems to be her modus operandi 80% of the time - or more. I guess to have her name in the history books she is willing to be used and take it on the chin. Clearly she does have more chutzpah than George Bush; she went to Iraq and wore a bullet proof vest and he won't step foot on Iraq soil. What a shame she can't exert her intelligence to enlighten and be an inspiration to women in America.

Dr. Rice is focused, driven, disciplined, educated, intelligent and ambitious. The fact that she is willing to hitch her wagon to George Bush's star to meet her career goals is frightening. She appears to be someone who wants it all and who is willing to do whatever it takes to have it.

Dr. Rice has always showed restraint, she is very intelligent, holds the office with class and dignity and is a credit to America. She can't help issues created by her boss and his other staffers but she has often been the one to have to deal with the message or the mess. In presidential polling, she still comes out as a player, which says a lot about her individual popularity. I still would have liked her to have been a serious contender for commissioner of the NFL, but perhaps there is a place for her there if she wants it after 2008.

Cats rule the world wherever they are :) I love the image of the cats making the humans maneuver around them!

May I say, I'm tired of spin control on the part of elected and appointed officials. I have no idea how to stop it, but I'm sick of the "marketing speak" that they all engage in these days. Just once, it would be nice to hear truth. I was reading an account of Bill Cody showing up in Paris in his buckskins, and it struck me that we do not have authentic people in power anymore. They are interchangeable models attired in suits and equipped with perfectly edited talking points.

If only we could all take the time to stop and talk to the people with camels on the road in our own lives... The behind-the-scenes information about the interview with the Secretary of State is fascinating and I will be looking for cats in the background when I watch the news tonight.

Oh Brian, we loved your blog today! Lots of color, as you say, and much humanity. Keep up the good work
We certainly admire you.

I caught the last part of the interview with Dr. Rice.She needs to be fired, she is completely out of touch. Americans deserve better . We are going to be leaving Iraq and the place is going to go up in flames. That is the reality.

Condi is so full of it that it's embarrasing. You would think that a musician would have a little more savvy in disguising the propaganda. If you can't impress people with facts, then dazzle them with BS !

Calling Iraq merely a "challenge" just shows why we are in this situation to begin with. I also love how they used the euphemistic phrase “insurgency” which implies foreign fighters, not just disgruntled Iraqis which is the vast majority of what they are.

I do remember the "above average" predictions for this year's hurricane season. From what I know the waters were not quite as warm and the upper-level winds (due to a Pacific El Nino) tore many wood-be storms apart. It is sad that having such a temporary reprieve from horrific weather has only caused people to lower their guard. It is sad to notice that SUV sales are back on the increase only a mere three months after $3.00 per gallon gas. If Rita would have hit Huston last year, it would likely still be $6.00 a gallon… When will people get it that environmentalism isn’t just about global warming. Owning an efficient 45mpg car can save $16K just in gas over 180K miles when compared to a 15mpg vehicle (figured at $2.00 per gallon). Isn’t that worth it right there? Living efficiently improves our national security as well when we don’t rely on so much foreign oil. Small cars can be built very safe and they stop much quicker than a large SUV too!

We should also be taking the time to look at our disaster preparedness, both on a community level and in the homes we build. Not only should homes be build be stronger, they need to be modified internally so that an influx of displaced family members doesn’t cause so much of a hastle to our daily routines. Regardless of where we choose to live, our homes should have: (1) A more basic, efficient, and less wind-resistant ‘square’ shape. Decorative exterior features (like dormers, staggered rooflines, and garage extensions) really only provide more places for the roof to leak, more surface area for heat to escape, and a greater potential for severe damage to occur. (2)A bunk bed visitors’ room sized for four bunk beds to help during mass evacuations. (3) All bedrooms should be more equally sized for adults to use. This gives close family members and friends a much more permanent and comfortable place to stay if their home was destroyed or if they were let go from their job or got a divorce. (4) Kitchen, dining, and living areas should all be walled off to prevent a damaged wall or window in one area from adversely affecting the entire home. This is also more efficient, prevents the rapid spread of fire and smoke, and lowers noise levels! (5) The garage should be sized to protect AND support the service repair vans that many builders and contractors privately own. (6) Garage closets are needed to help keep valuable equipment secure (in case the garage door is blown out) and to help eliminate the absolutely horrific amount of garage clutter we see today. (7) There should also be an attic greenhouse to supplement food provisions and rainwater holding tanks to provide fresh drinking water!

Dr Rice is appears to be the most disciplined person you have ever heard because she is the smartest woman
and maybe the smartest person who has ever been in the Federal Government. Thank You
Jan Draut
Bellingham Washington

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