By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
Tonight we'll (briefly) address Friday's audio debacle. The e-mails seemed to arrive (by the hundreds, rather instantly) in three basic groups: those beginning with "how dare you...", those beginning with "shame on you..." and those who correctly identified the situation -- amplified speeches blaring over loudspeakers located just behind us and beyond our control -- a complete surprise to our network, and nothing like the quiet "candlelight vigil" that event planners had promised. I guess the most amazing e-mails are the ones alleging it was bias at work somehow -- the argument, as I understand it, goes something like this: in order to show favoritism to the Democrats, we somehow arranged for our own live interview with John McCain (and the lead segment of Nightly News) to be drowned out by the loudspeakers. On the other hand, the positive e-mails from understanding viewers -- about the perils of live television, and thanking us for going to Memphis in the first place -- were so completely gratifying to read. I can't thank those of you who posted them quite enough. It's been a day of post-mortems around here, and I'm happy to say there is other news to cover.
Richard Engel is on home leave for a while -- he's with us here in New York, a visit to the U.S. designed to coincide with the Petraeus testimony. It has been great spending time with him in the newsroom today. Richard has filed an amazing, poignant and personal story for tonight -- you'll all be seeing a lot more of him this week.
And a mea culpa in advance: while we have promoted the fact that this will be a solid week of "Making A Difference" features (the idea was that the pieces are so positive, so uplifting, why wait 'til Friday each week?) we have to go back on our promise just for tonight, because of a fascinating story from out West.
So we sure hope that all the folks who e-mailed us (after the Friday debacle) to say "I'm never watching NBC News again!" have thought better of that decision and will give us another chance, we hope you'll all tune in for the broadcast tonight. We have fixed the problem, and you should be able to hear me this time!