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.

Fat Tuesday

The above headline reflects both our news load tonight and this day New Orleanians (and a whole lot of other folks) know so well -- of partying, celebration, marching, music, beads, doubloons and occasional acts of general debauchery. I've been watching the coverage all day and I wish I could be there. It's as great an American spectacle as there is. Originally, our plan was to broadcast a night or two from New Orleans this week, as Harry Connick, Jr. was kind enough to extend an invitation to my wife and me to ride on his float (a huge Mardi Gras honor), but because of scheduling I had to turn it down. To mark Fat Tuesday in absentia, tonight we'll ask Wynton Marsalis, from here in New York, to "play us off the air" with his glorious horn -- as a musical tribute to his hometown and the struggle they are still facing.

At the top of the broadcast tonight: any number of important stories -- chief among them, in no particular order, today's twin Supreme Court cases, the closing arguments in the Libby case, the unfolding damage control effort at Walter Reed, and the unfolding saga and resulting reforms from the JetBlue meltdown. We'll also continue our series Trading Places -- featuring another story that we learned about from a viewer e-mail. And a preview of tomorrow night's segment: We'll take on the high-interest topic of long-term care insurance -- one that has been under discussion in our house.

About last night's effort: While we were battling some technical gremlins that might have been obvious to sharp-eyed viewers, I thought it was a good dissection of the changing U.S.-led war effort in Iraq -- one that deserves a close watch. It was a luxury to have Jane Arraf on duty there (for a time, she was the only credentialed Western reporter in the bad old Saddam days), to say nothing of the ability to turn to Richard Engel to my immediate left and ask him about the situation.

Viewer warning: There will be no mention of Britney Spears' baldness or rehab in tonight's broadcast, nor will there be any mention of Anna Nicole's "body possession" hearing. 

Despite that, we sure hope you'll join us for our Fat Tuesday night effort.

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COMMENTS

I love you Brian! Keep up the good work. You're so cute

Brian, thank you for not forgetting about us. I was so glad to see that you covered Mardi Gras, even if it was our native son via NYC. We are struggling down here and everyday shows us new challenges. We are a strong people and we will succeed in rebuilding our beautiful city. It will be rebuilt b/c of the people here and volunteers coming in to help us. Well, I am leaving to go to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra concert led by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. I wish everyone could be at the concert to hear the sounds of my beautiful city. Our music validates how important NOLA is to the rest of this nation culturally. And, why we must not my city die.

Wynton's Horn, the pictures from your cameras and words from your team in New Orleans help us all to continue to walk a mile in the shoes of those recovering from Katrina.

I'd be curious to know what kind of debate, if any, the decision to eschew coverage of Britney and Anna Nicole set off in the NBC news offices.

Thank you for sharing the great music of New Orleans with your viewers- such a nice tribute to the city, and perhaps more moving since it was different from the other coverage of the day. You'll get down here one year to ride and enjoy the revelry.... for now you have bigger fish to fry. THANK YOU for showing off one of our favorites sons (members of the Marsalis crew are all truly class acts), and for giving New Orleanians a voice in the media- Martin Savige's in depth report the other night was right on point. Hope you had a happy Mardi Gras!

as many times previous visitor to New Orleans I cannot wait to return for my next visit in March good luck to a wonderful city

Sir or Madam--One more thing--you mention the lack of funding for ALS and other life-threatening diseases. I agree that that is a problem. Did you know that due to the fact that her health system after Katrina is in critical condition, New Orleanians who have life-threatening diseases such as ALS (also, chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, etc.) have been having trouble finding the treatment they need?

Dear Sir or Madam: Perhaps you don't need a "reminder" about the issues besetting New Orleans. However, you'll have to bear with my expressing my frustration because something is terribly wrong when the President, in what I call his State of Denial message for this very reason, left out any mention of Katrina or New Orleans. And I'm not just going to Bush-bash here. I'd been filled with hope when the new Democratic Congress took over that finally we'd see attention paid to, and most importantly, meaningful action taken, regarding Gulf Region recovery. But, first of all, despite promises Nancy Pelosi had made to Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon, Katrina recovery was not among the issues handled in the First 100 Hours, which dealt with a number of projects wanted by various special interests. Secondly, nothing substantive has been done by the new Congress since then, which because of this has started looking like a clone of the old GOP Congress--so it's all been downhill. Both Bush's forgetting New Orleans and Congress' current inaction really stick in my craw because they're symbolic of the fact that except naturally for people in Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere in the storm zone, the recovery effort seems to have faded from most Americans' consciousness. The problem here is that the people who need the most help following Katrina have been abandoned by their government because many are poor people of color and they've no political clout, nor do they have powerful well-oiled, well-moneyed special interest groups or K Street lobbyists pulling for consistent attention to and action regarding their plight. Michael Moore, as far as I know, isn't planning on making any of his documentaries about them. And where are George Soros and MoveOn.org? I mean, this is an issue which makes the Bush Administration look very bad, so you'd think it was tailor-made for these people to go into. So you'll have to bear with me for expressing my frustration--the only thing that would make me stop would be if something meaningful were finally done to ease the situation.

Thank you for not airing any Anna or Britney segments. I watch your show for the news that is important to the American people. You'll do a great job each and every night. Keep up the good work.

"Viewer warning: There will be no mention of Britney Spears' baldness or rehab in tonight's broadcast, nor will there be any mention of Anna Nicole's "body possession" hearing."

Thank God!

How bout doing a media blitz on the Walter Reed Story and see if you can drum up some support for our wounded troops

Brian--Thank you and thank Wynton and his group. That was FUN!

New news about the Brits pulling out now no more UK soldiers will have to die. Maybe one day our Leaders will feel the same way about our troops. Yes they support our troops by letting them live with mice and roaches while others are in the middle of the Iraq civil war. But one day the words Support our Troops might mean something positive. At lease Bush will be able to rebuild Iraq with schools, roads, hospitals and give Iraq people jobs with the 2.9 Trillion dollars Bush wants. Now that Tony Blair is leaving office the new leadeship is getting out of the mess Bush has made in Iraq. Bush did say to the United Nations that the United States would go it alone so now we are.

Oliva, we all realize there are still issues in New Orleans, but must you infect each blog with a reminder? There are millions of other issues in the world daily, including the lack of funding for many life threatening diseases such as ALS. Give it a break for one day.

Brian you know why the cable outlets, including MSNBC, go in overdrive mode with Britney and Anna and why people watch them. It's because they want to get a break from Iraq, Iran, the War on Terror, Washington gridlock and their own misfortunes. Britney's and Anna's stories are big time foolish but they are entertaining freaks. Since you play in the big broadcast league we don't expect you to cover that stuff. You do a good job but you are no gold standard either. By the way great story from NBC and The Washington Post about Walter Reed. Do more stories about the broken and forgotten veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was a wonderful day for New Orleans! Thank you to all that ignored the scarry news and came, saw, and enjoyed the heck out of the day with the rest of us. HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!!

Mr. Williams, I must say that NBC has the best Middle East Bureau on the airwaves. Jane certainly does an excellent job. She has endured being over in that region a long time. She deserves a great amount of credit for a suberb job. Again thank you for having Richard again on Nightly News. It is always a pleasure. Keep up the great reporting. Stay safe Richard!! And stay safe Jane!!

Thanks, Brian. Your filtering of the idiotic news is greatly appreciated. I hope this is a long term practice that will significantly increace the importance of watching the Nightly News.

Thank heavens for no Britney & Anna Nicole tabloid moments! I sooooooo appreciate the respectableness of an organization that hasn't seccummed (sp) to following every detail. Right now my reception isn't letting me watch NBC, but I've been gagging on the CBS coverage. Let Anna rest in peace and send Britney psychatric referrals, not press flashes!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a Britney and Anna Nicole-free zone.

Brian, could Robert Bazell maybe someday do a story about what causes of death are deemed appropriate by the AMA? No I'm not being flippant; it seems they don't want anyone to die of cancer, diabetes or heart disease. However, every one of us WILL die of "something" at some point. Are they trying to prevent death due to every known cause? Isn't that bound to fail? At what point does trying to prevent "unnecessary" (by whose definition btw?) deaths cross the line to trying to prevent all deaths? I keep hearing that Americans don't deal with the subject of death/dying very well; perhaps that might be partially because doctors keep telling us that we're not allowed to die and if we do, it's all our fault?

You guys are in New Orleans a lot and were just there. It's better that you go when the whole media world isn't there anyway. You have your bureau and can go back in a month when the rest of the country has forgotten all over again.

olivia; maybe it wasn't any of your business?

I'm curious--what was such a big deal regarding scheduling that you had to turn down an invitation from Harry Connick, JR. and couldn't anchor from New Orleans, as had been originally planned, on this day of all days? I'm sure it couldn't have been as important as Katrina recovery or all of the other associated issues still faced by New Orleans and her people during this difficult time from which they are seeking a respite through Mardi Gras. While I am looking forward to Wynton Marsalis' music at the end, I hope that's not all we'll be seeing out of New Orleans tonight.

Thank you for sparing us the Britney and Anna train wrecks.

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