We suddenly have a full broadcast on this day that has no overarching, slam-dunk, compelling, must-run lead story. And I'm going to hedge our bets a bit on story order. Veterans of this blog know that we like to call our broadcast rundown a "living, breathing document" just as we were all taught to call the Constitution. This intended-to-be-humorous delusion of grandeur on our part has some truth to it: I can't think of the last broadcast we did that exactly equaled on the air what was agreed to at 2:30 p.m. That said, Iraq will be at or near the very top tonight. Today saw the worst attack in three weeks, and we now know more about the 10 Marines who lost their lives there last week. The Saddam trial continues (fascinating profile of Ramsey Clark in this morning's New York Times) and the defendant is getting downright out of control.
The topic of Katrina was back on the Hill today, a hearing designed to elicit testimony of horror stories suffered at the height of it all.. .say nothing of the suffering still going on. Some of those testifying gave voice to a widely-held theory in some areas of New Orleans that the government overtly or covertly "allowed" (or more directly "caused") the flooding to happen where it did. Some of the talk is incendiary. The word "genocide" was used in the hearing today. Some of the talk has to do with the areas that were spared the water, compared to the areas now barren and desolate. It's emotional, but it is a very real subplot, one that cannot be ignored, as it's something you hear being talked about throughout that city. It's also reportedly the topic of a documentary Spike Lee is now shooting in New Orleans. And it's an issue this broadcast will deal with at greater length in the very near future.
The Great Louisiana Document Dump continues to pay off... and as our journalists continue to pore over its pages, we're finding more to point out. We'll look at the current atmosphere on Capitol Hill as well (six Members of Congress under investigation, by our count) and ask what's going on there.
Also tonight, we'll examine whether pensions are a thing of the past. And we'll look at whether or not there are lessons in how President Gerald R. Ford handled the Swine Flu scare in the 1970s (we Presidential history buffs will do ANYTHING to inject it into the broadcast) that we can learn from today.
Our piece on the military dog last night lit up the ranks of e-mailers overnight. I'm always struck by the fact that no matter how much other journalism we have in the broadcast... no matter that our correspondents and producers and crews are risking their lives on a daily basis to bring the news home to us and our viewers... it's the German Shepherd that gets the e-mail attention. Apparently, viewers of Nightly News last night included Virginia Republican Senator John Warner, who has vowed to negotiate the Rex Amendment into the next Defense funding bill. Good dog, Rex.
We hope you can join us tonight.