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.

Thursday lineup

We are, shall we say, still ordering the stories at the top of the broadcast. We have some enterprise reporting that we are proud of and that we will feature, in addition to updates on Iraq and Iran and domestic politics. We'll talk education and we'll talk about Prince Harry's future. Also and notably: tonight we read directly from viewer e-mails as part of our "Trading Places" series -- answers about elder care provided by Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

MEANWHILE, ON CABLE
There may be a new benchmark in the annals of self-involvement and self-absorption. It was impossible, from our perch inside a television network, NOT to watch the judge in the "ANS" case in Florida -- a hearing, after all, to decide where burial of a dead woman should take place, which the judge somehow managed to make... about himself. Weeping while reading his own decision... really sealed it. The various legal experts reacting after the fact were not amused, and many have launched some very serious charges about the mismanagement of the hearing and the obvious flaws in the "ruling." He was accused, among other things (and by MSNBC's Susan Filan among others), of asking prurient questions out of sheer personal curiosity. It was a new cultural high point. And to think of all the times when former Chief Justice Rehnquist was able to hold himself together -- without tears -- while announcing decisions in cases that were only slightly more important to the Republic than this one.

One of the more interesting business stories of the week which has been crowded out by other matters was the decision of British Airways to purchase more Boeing 777s over rival Airbus. Another story mentioned at our editorial meeting was Wimbledon's decision -- at long last -- to equalize men's and women's winnings. That they were not equal came as a surprise to those of us who do not follow tennis.

We hope you can join us for the broadcast tonight.

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COMMENTS

Who says 48 is "old"? I'm 49, and I'm not!

Not everyone is old at 48! My husband is 83 and I am 66. We are having the best time of our lives and so are our friends who are the same age - "old." We dance, we entertain, we have game nights and 16 "old fogies" come to our house and we have a ball. Our days are filled with going to the gym and taking part in local art classes. As with our friends, we have planned for our old age, but we are not ready to be old yet. We think that you might be generalizing in your feature, assuming that all people over the age of 48 are going to welcome their children coming to their home to tell them how to make their plans. Perhaps, by doing a little research, you will find that there are more people like us than is indicated. Why not do a positive feature showing "old" people over 48 who are managing well and have made their own plans for their futures?

I wonder why it would surprise you that the women's prize money isn't equal to the men's in tennis? Do you think women's pay has been equalized across the board? Do women get the same prize money in golf? In business? C'mon Brian, you're better than that. My wife gets paid a lot less than men in her profession (IT director at a small college), why should tennis or golf be any different. What surprised me was that Wimbledon equalized the money. Heck, I hope that one day my wife gets paid what SHE'S worth, and I can retire and have dinner on the table each night at 6:00, keep the house clean, yard mowed, and be a supportive husband that also can work on his golf/tennis game after I've finished my housework.

On a different topic covered last night, the Clinton/ Obama/Geffen folderol, this is to political news what the "ANS" case is to the news in general--a diversion from more important matters that because of media attention to it have been shunted to the back burner.

Regarding Hillary Clinton, there's something I'm curious about: Why have we never (as far as I know)heard about where she stands on Katrina recovery? Almost everything I've heard about her lately is either on this new foofaraw or on something I've heard about ad nauseam--where she stands on Iraq, her vote in favor of going into that country back in 2002 thereabouts, and her current stance against the war--as if these were the only things Americans need to know about her.

I don't know if this is because the mainstream media has never asked her about this matter, or if Clinton herself doesn't care so she's never brought it up. I wonder if, in spite of the fact that prior to being America's First Lady she was Arkansas' and thus has ties to the south, she doesn't care about taking concrete steps to assist the recovery of Louisiana and Mississippi because their people voted "Red" in the 2004 election and the paltry amount of electoral votes they have between them isn't worth fighting for--so she sees no political hay to be made by standing up for the rebuilding of New Orleans and the rest of the communities of the storm zone. I think voters need to be told Mrs. Clinton's stance on Katrina recovery.

You're 100% right about the "new benchmark in the annals of self-involvement and self-absorption." Obviously the judge in the "ANS" case wanted to make sure he received full coverage not only on the usual outlets such as FOX News which have time to cover such things but also on serious newscasts such as Nightly. With his tears, the publicity hound definitely gave an Oscar-winning performance--bumping more important stories with more socially-redeeming value from last night's newscast. And I don't mean Britney's meltdown, either.

Brian,
I'd be afraid to look up "ANS" on Wikipedia. But since you referenced the site a few weeks ago about it being allowed as a source for your son's school work, you might be interested in the New York Times article on Wikipedia from Wednesday: A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source.

I can't stand watching coverage of Anna Nicole Smith anymore. She's dead. Of course, it was very sad, but move on already! The judge cries during the 'ruling'. So what? I mean seriously, folks - some segments need to be left to "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." Let's get back to some real news on this program, instead of the broadcast equivalent of mousse.

RE: Trading Places

Dear Mr. Williams,

Taking care of the elders in my family is not new to me. I took care of my grandmother since I was 15 years old. I took on this responsibility because no one else in my family cared or wanted to be bothered with her. During my teen years I basically took my Grandma to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and other shopping. My Grandma felt so lonely no one in my family paid much attention to her UNLESS they needed money. When my Grandma got up in age (84 yrs.) she had frequent strokes. I had to provide more care for her, feeding her, bathing, house cleaning, and etc. This was mentally, emotionally, and physically draining me. I had resentment towards my family, they stood by and watched their Mother, Grandmother slowly waste away and never offered to care for her. My Grandma died 4 years later. Then 2 years later my Mom had multiple strokes. Again, "I" and my Dad cared for her. Luckily my parents took out Long Term Care Insurance. We used every benefit it could offer, it was a god-send to my Dad and me. If not for the insurance my parents couldn't afford the physical therapy, Adult Day-Care, and a Nurse Assistant to help with my Mom. My poor Dad was a prisoner in his own home caring for my Mom. I don't know how he gave 24/7 care for my Mom. The only respite he got was from me or sending my Mom to Adult-Day Care. Two years later my Mom died. Now my Dad is in frail health, he has heart disease, diabetes, and dimentia. I care for him like I did with my Grandma (his mother) and my Mom. Yes this is my third time around, I am so exhausted mentally and physically. Unlike the rest of my family I cannot be heartless and not take care of my elders. I'm 48 years old and my entire adult life has been taking care of the elderly. I've had to quit college 3 times, my dream of a college degree will always be a "dream". But if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. I could never replace my Grandma, Mom, and my Dad. I guess this was God's plan for me. Take care, and God Bless......Debra

I'm troubled by an e-mailed I received, says facts are verifiable, of all the positive actions and re-building in Iraq that the media IS NOT reporting choosing rather to emphasize all troubled areas... read on:
Did you know: that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?
-that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?
-that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq ?
-that Iraq 's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?
-that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?
-that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5 - 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.
-that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational
squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control)which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?
-that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?
-that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?
-that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?
-there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical
facilities. ...and on and on
You are suppose to report good news not just disasters.. verify and report reality not slanted demoralizing events.
Is it your intention to undermine the world's perception of the United States thus minimizing consequent support, and is it intended to discourage American citizens.

---- Above facts are verifiable on the Department of Defense web site.

RE:TRADING PLACES,MY WIFE AND I HAD FOUR CHILDREN, AND ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO,WE ARE 78, WE DECIDED TO SAVE MONEY FOR HEALTH PURPOSE,S. WE FOUND A PLACE INMADISON,MS.CALLED ST. CATHERINES VILLAGE WHO HAVE LIFE TIME CARE PROGRAMS.WE CHECKED WHAT THE COST WOULD BE AND SAVED FOR THAT GOAL. WE LIVE IN A HOUSE[2400] SQ.FT. ON THE CAMPUS AND HAVE AVAILABLE MID NURSING CARE,AND FULL TIME NURSING HOME IN THE MAIN BUILDING. WE LIVED AT HOME UNTIL WE WERE 75, SOLD OUR PROPERTY TOOK THAT ASSET AND PAID FOR LIFETIME CARE AT ST. CATHERINES. ONE OUR FOUR BALKED AT SELLING OUR HOMESTEAD,BUT THE OLDER SON TOLD HIM THIS WAS THE BEST THING A PARENT COULD DO FOR THEIR CHILDREN. WE PAY ABOUT $3000.00 PER MONTH AND EVERYTHING IS PAID FOR EXCEPT OUR PHONE BILL,EVEN CABLE TV. SO MY ADVICE TO CHILDREN IS TO TALKED TO THEIR PARENTS WHEN THE PARENTS REACH 48 AND TELL THEM TO START SAVING FOR THEIR LONG TERM CARE,AND BY THE TIME THEY RETIRE THEY SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO GO TO A PLACE LIKE OURS,AND WILL BE DOING THEIR KIDS A BIG FAVOR. WE DO HAVE LONG TIME CARE NURSING HOME INSURANCE,BUT IF I HAD TO DO THIS OVER, I WOULD NEVER TAKE OUT THIS INSURANCE. TOO MANY LOOPHOLES YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH TO GET THEM TO PAY A CLAIM. WE HAVE PAID IN TO THIS INSURANCE ABOUT $10,000.00 AND I DOUBT IF WE WILL EVER GET THIS MONEY BACK. THANKS BRIAN FOR TELLING THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY MUST DO FOR AND WITH THEIR PARENTS.

I guess in reflecting on it, the segment on Pakistani boarder security also has me a bit puzzled. The U.S. seems to insist that everyone should secure their boarders "except" us. Maybe it's not as easy as taking a bus across, but it sure ant that much harder. To me, this is a type of spin that helps the administration point fingers at other countries.

Brian, I am dismayed at the space and emotion you dedicated on "Meanwhile on cable" to the ANS matter. I agreen that more coverage on the Boeing deal with BA would have been deserved. Now that is a coup!

I was looking for your take on the NBC investigation of the Tribal Villages. Given the clout NBC has, their efforts are to be commended. However......

Too bad they are some five months late. I realize that few people (relatively speaking) watch PBS and yet it is from that network that some of the finest programming on TV comes from.

I pray that some of my fellow bloggers will take the time to go to the PBS web site and under Frontline, look for the episode on the Return of the Taliban.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/view/

If I've known about the Villages since last October, so has the White House and the Pentagon. There is no easy fix to that problem.

I find it slightly amusing (more like ironic, maybe?) that Britain has now begun a pullout from Iraq just when there's a possibility one of the royals might have to do a tour there? Am I the only one who finds this slightly...on purpose?

Having a legal background & education, I must agree with the other poster who said the entire ANS thing is totally out of line. What a disaster. I think the lawyers are enjoying this disaster, personally, and that's what makes this so much more pathetic and sad.

I disagree. Why? This was not a trial with a jury present. This was a hearing. Each of the three parties present had an agenda. No matter which one he chose, one of the reminding parties would have filed an appeal. He chose the guardian, the most reasonable choice. Even Howard Stern was relieved. As to the judge letting his emotions "loose", I don't have a problem with that. It was a very emotional matter. Again, once more, this was neither a TV show nor a jury trial!

As for sending him back to his cab, this is a senior judge who is approaching the twilight of his judicial career; he is not a fresh off the legal boat judge. Think about the number of cases he has overseen in the many years he has been in Broward County.

Fortunately the TV cameras, hopefully, were excluded in the majority of those cases. On the other hand, I have a problem with all the so called experts who came out of the wood work to critique the proceedings each day.

Would be good to see more coverage of Boeing's big win from BA. The order will have a definite positive impact on Boeing's bottom line not to mention the trickle down/out impact for all the related industries, cities where the plants are etc. This one contract literally touches the lives of thousands of people from the Boeing employees to the newspaper stand. Really is quite intersting to consider.

Please not too much ANS tonite? Some of us are starting to gag and reach for the remote, Food Network anyone?

Brian, I have watched your newscast since you took over the spot but as an employee in the Cable Industry your weak attempt at humor at my industry's expense was most unwelcome. Stick to the news and leave the humor to those who are talented in that area. You are not that funny!

What concenrs me more than anything else is that some would be fathers and Anna Nicole's mother were in court to contest custody of her body. Anna Nicole lived in the Bahamas, a foreign country, her son died and is buried there, and her daughter was born there and lives there. The child, to the best of my knowledge, has never been in the United States, and unless her parents went to the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, and filed for her citizenship, she is not a U.S. citizen. So how is a Broward County judge hearing fathers while deciding where Anna Nicole gets buried? I would think paternity may be decided in a Bahamian court, and the deceased would go home. This judge let her body decay, and never rendered a decison. A Broward County guardian-at-litem, who is just an advisor to family court and has no legal standing, can't accept responsiblity for a Bahamian resident. This would be a farce if it weren't so sad..

Again, in regards to Iran, it is easy to fall into the administration’s way of thinking but please mention that Iran has every right (as do all nations) to have a nuclear program. If the administration fears nations will develop a bomb, than it had best stop threatening to attack them. Wasn’t our relations with Iran at least beginning to thaw under Bill Clinton? Why don’t the Europeans seem to have as much concern as we do yet are much closer? What about the Israeli weapons program or Pakistan? This situation has the potential to lead to world war and we really need to hear all sides of the story, not just what the administration has been suggesting. Also remember that the Bush administration was LOOKING for problems even before 9/11 by sending oceanographic ships to within 20 miles of a Chinese naval base. Didn’t Colon Powel petition countries NOT TO turn over US soldiers accused of war crimes on their soil before 9/11 also? Why would they have done that without an intent to do something to warrant it?

I really didn't mind the judge. Yes he asked questions that were not pertinent to the fact of where ANS should be buried but he had human nature take over him, not the justice system. And in the end I think most people, not all but most, would agree that he came to a sensible and most likely correct decision.

Now I know we have had an appeal by I believe Texas, but what can he do about that. The baby most likely will be buried in the Bahamas and that is what should be done albeit probably a week ago.

And you know what he said what needed to be said that these people should figure out the father of the baby and get her in the right, good hands. With that now we have a 10 AM ET paternity hearing and hopefully Howard K. Stern will give his DNA and Birkhead too. If HKS doesn't that will be very disappointing and thus using logic the baby most likely would be Birkheads.

Crazy day in court, but unbelieveable television and very entertaining. I don't know if Brian Williams should lead off with it but it should definitely make an appearance.

Now the question is what morning show gets the Judge tomorrow: Early Show, Good Morning America, or Today Show?

It’s funny but wondering whether or not to send Prince Harry to Iraq is something, I feel, we should be asking of every soldier. Each one of our young people are not only princes, but angels. Instead of teaching them to fly, however, we’ve sent them to kill each other in Iraq based on FALSE evidence. Our post-9/11 patriotism was sure played like a fine violin, wasn't it?

There is something seriously wrong when a judge acts the way this one did in the ANS case, and I would hope that some legal action would be brought against him immediately so that no other family would ever have to go thru what this so called judge did to this family. I wondered on several occasions what he was drinking or smoking. Remove him from the bench now and put him back in a cab. His 15 minutes of fame should have ended within 15 minutes of taking the bench in this case. Makes me sick.

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