On a day like this, I envy my friends in the sports broadcasting business. They are consumed by the trading deadline in baseball, and the new starting lineups that will inevitably come about as a result. It makes this day different from all others for them. Our business reflects our world, and to that end there is no escaping the grim and awful situation in the Middle East. While this is not an endorsement of any position on the issue, I commend to everyone's attention Tim Russert's superb interview with Tom Friedman on Meet the Press yesterday [video link]. While Friedman (a veteran of the region and of the New York Times) represents a certain view, his appearance and message both speak to the enormous investment all Americans have in this conflict. To the extent that we can use this broadcast to drive home that point -- the far-reaching consequences of what we see going on right now -- we intend to.
Picking up on that theme, we have commissioned a special look at this conflict from one of our pros: David Gregory will take a half-a-step away from his usual duties as chief White House correspondent -- to look at exactly what it is Israel is doing here and who is leading that country. David and I spoke before he boarded the shuttle to Washington (OK, full disclosure -- when I turned my cell phone on this morning, there was ALREADY a voice mail from David on there), and he's been in constant touch with our producers here all day. As subject matters go, this one is a minefield. As our responsibilities go, explaining the stakes to our audience ranks way up there. If you see Andrea Mitchell appear on our air tonight: it means news was made on board Secretary Rice's flight home. Andrea is traveling with her, and they are supposed to land at Andrews AFB about a half hour before our air time. We will have a live satellite truck standing by if need be.
Also tonight, Fletcher and Engel from the region, Don Teague on the domestic heat wave, Plan B (the drug) and gas prices (the whiparound effect). And we'll touch on the near-self-destruction of a major Hollywood figure.
A busy day here: I'm a third of the way through three separate appearances today on three broadcasts other than my own. And a special note: in our chronicles of our summer interns and what they learned during their time with us, watch this space for the next intern essay: the incomparable Casey Dolan, pride of New Canaan, Conn., and Villanova, will finally explain to her parents what it is she did after she got on the train to the city each morning of the summer.
I hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.