By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
A number of you have written to us to complain about the name "Swine Flu." I could make an argument that the domestic pork industry, back when this name entered our lexicon, missed a huge and vital opportunity to change it, to "brand" it differently, and to insist on it. While H1N1 exists as the alternative, our own Chief Science Correspondent Robert Bazell noted at an editorial meeting that the U.S. government was referring to it as "Swine Flu," and now it seems hopelessly attached to the illness as a matter of branding.
While we all know it can't be transmitted via pork or pork products -- and while many of us have visited pork producers over the years and appreciate the contribution they make to the American economy -- this is an unfortunate episode. There was, however, a period of several days (I remember making this point, loudly, in our newsroom) when the industry, along with its friends in Congress, could have insisted on calling it something else.
We hope to see you for tonight's broadcast: presented with limited commercial interruption.