Not much time today... way too many meetings, conference calls and the like. Our editorial meeting was delayed by two factors: my concurrent conversation with Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton about their relief efforts, and the breaking news that first appeared in our computer system as a sketchy bulletin: "shots fired on board plane at Miami International Airport."Our control room waited for me to finish the interview with both Presidents (while they gathered more information), and then we did a special report on the network on what was known then. The facts, briefly, point to the first discharge of a weapon in the hands of the Federal Air Marshals who now fly on a good number of flights each day. While sometimes (to travelers who know what to look for) they can be a painfully obvious presence on flights, especially the NY-DC-NY shuttles, that may be part of the idea. In this case, witnesses say there was some sort of mention of a bomb or similar device in his carry-on bag prior to the shooting, which reportedly took place in the jetway. We're now being told he was a 44-year-old American, and there was never any concrete indication of an actual bomb. I'm aware much of this may become moot by airtime tonight as we learn still more. (Editor's note: follow the latest developments here.)
Elsewhere in the broadcast tonight, what some have called the "polite" or even "cool" reception the President got today during his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations meeting in Washington. The body language between the President and Council head Richard Haas (a veteran of both Bush administrations) was certainly the stuff of great interest to the Beltway crowd watching the live feed. David Gregory will handle that topic for us tonight. We'll air portions of my interview with 41 and 42, as they're now known in numeric shorthand, and Andrea Mitchell has an interesting look at Condoleezza Rice tonight. And Kevin Tibbles, as advertised, will tell us what's wrong with the Pearl Harbor Memorial... among the most solemn places on earth.
And while I've withheld the names to protect the innocent, today I'll close with the text from two e-mails we received yesterday. One has to do with how we often have to pay the bills around here. The other... and you know who you are... is a rather likely cat enthusiast, who sees a pro-dog slant in our journalistic decision-making. I have chosen not to share this with a particular and beloved member of our household, who at age 12 should be able to enjoy the autumn of her life without reading such venom.
"This evening, while having dessert, a commercial for MUCUS was aired! Come on, we do not need that kind of reminder while having dinner! Put that into a late show schedule as you do with other, er, sensitive subjects, will ya? Geez!"
"Dogs dogs dogs. So sick of dogs. Small-brained, lower species, scavenger animals is all they are. Yet SOOOOOO much is made of these instinct-driven, butt-sniffing, subservient beasts. Dogs are so stupid, they don't even know they've been neutered. They'll mindlessly latch on to anyone who gives them food, even Saddam Hussein. Yet NBC News thinks dogs are practically Jesus Christ." ================================================================
Just an idea of what we put up with around here. Rest assured, however: of all the e-mails we received yesterday, all but these two dealt with substantive issues. People need to blow off some steam every once in a while, I guess.
Back to journalism: we sure hope you'll join us tonight. And a reminder: if you're not able to catch us during our primary airing on the NBC television network, remember you can now watch the entire broadcast online and on-demand, after 10 p.m. Eastern and 7 p.m. Pacific at Nightly.MSNBC.com.