Why Did Brian Williams “Couch” His Report on Sunday August 28, Regarding Urgent Weather Message from the National Weather Service?

I just finished reading in disbelief this report from Brian Williams on MSNBC – Now it can be told: Notes on the eve of destruction, and I have question…

Why, if you received this text by email from the National Weather Service, and it was so “incendiary”… It contained such a strong warning… Why did you very “cautiously couch[ed] the information” in your “live report by phone for Nightly News”?

I get the part Mr. Williams, where you say that “our folks were concerned that it wasn’t real…”, but my goodness, if there was even the smallest doubt that it could be true, would it not have been better to flash this TEXT all over every news station in the area?

URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

…DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED…

HURRICANE KATRINA…A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH…RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER.

AT LEAST HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED…ALL WINDOWS WILL BE BLOWN OUT.

THE VAST MAJORITY…OF TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

Mr. Williams says in his post on Nightly News, “Note the time on the message… but more importantly… note the content.”

They saw the possibility coming… unbelievable as it was…

The last sentence in that statement is as concise a summation of conditions in New Orleans as is possible. We talked about the document en route to New Orleans. It turned out to be an advance copy of the script for this storm, predicting in unbelievable detail the level of destruction that was by now less than 24 hours away. To me it conjured up the image of a lone forecaster, known but to his or her co-workers, struggling to merge decades-old boilerplate Weather Service wording with the most vivid language possible in a final attempt to warn an entire region.

I see this as yet another FAILURE of the MSM to inform the American public.

Better safe than sorry is the old saying that certainly would have fit the bill, in this circumstance. Shame on NBC. Shame on the MSM. I am beyond appalled, it is the media’s job (and the GOVERNMENT’S job) to warn the public in situations like these.

UPDATE: Talk Left was thinking along the same lines earlier today. TalkLeft and several other bloggers actually posted the warning that night.

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12 Responses to Why Did Brian Williams “Couch” His Report on Sunday August 28, Regarding Urgent Weather Message from the National Weather Service?

  1. WTF!

    Let me get this straight. The warning they received was so incendiary, so horrible, such an imminent disaster of total destruction that was about to befall the local population, that after discussing it, they decided the best course of action was to ignore it and not warn the populace?

    Yeah, I mean you wouldn’t want to warn people and maybe save some lives. I mean, maybe if you were an actual news outlet or something. And of course it’s not like a tiny outfit like NBC/MSNBC could instantly verify with the national weather service if the report they received was real or not…

    Hey, I mean that would take NBC/MSNBC doing something like contacting them to ask a question and that’s too close to investigating something. That might even be close to being considered the most minimal amount of investigative reporting. The MSM doesn’t do that anymore, hasn’t for years. I thinks there is some rule against it. So I understand they must have had a real quandary. Their hands were tied.

    All they are capable of currently appears to be to reading verbatim talking points and spin received directlt from Rove or the RNC.

    They should resign immediately and accept job in the Bush administration. They are obviously fully qualified as incompetent and what the hey, they’ve basically been working part time for them for years anyway.

  2. Dave

    Phew… I thought I was reading too much into that!

    WTF – EXACTLY!

    I just sent my post as a comment on the link to the post from Brian Williams. If NBC got this, then all the networks did. It seems all the networks must have decided to it was too “incendiary”

    It’s seems FEMA who should have been monitoring the National Weather Service as well thought it was too “incendiary”.

    Mass communication breakdown in the Bush propaganda world the American public is not supposed to know if their friggin lives are in danger… If their towns will be leveled… If New Orleans will be under water.

    I’ll say it again — I knew Monday those damn LEVEE’S would break. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense. They should have been airlifting people, trucking them out… whatever the F it took!

  3. Well ya know Pamela, I may not be the best person’s reaction to go by ;-)

    Who really knows if his reporting the true severity of the imminent disaster that was about to befall the area at that point would have made a difference in getting more people to safety before it arrived.

    Though it is certainly more damming proof that the Bush administration, FEMA and Homeland Security were well aware of what was about to occur when it hit.

  4. Dave

    It is more damning proof. I updated the post because TalkLeft was thinking the same damn thing! Honestly I think more people might have left, and even if they did not, OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should have been on the move moments after that storm passed by.

    GROSS NEGLIGENCE!

  5. Teresa says:

    Guys… you’ve got to face it.

    This was deliberate by the government. They knew the people would pay for it all and they wanted the complete destruction of the city in order to make money in rebuilding and have control of America’s largest port. Halliburton already got the no bid cleanup contract. These people are in business first. The worst of corporate sharks. And exactly what they did in Iraq.

    They purposely allowed the destruction of New Orleans. We should not under any circumstances shy away from this knowledge.

  6. Teresa

    America has to face this grim reality. We won’t shy away from telling the truth. People have been asking where Cheney is … he’s busy drawing up the Halli-looters contracts!

  7. Teresa says:

    We have a cancer in our system and we have to decide on treatment. When it starts destroying cities we have a problem. Surgery? Killer drugs?
    Whatever plan is adopted we have to also strengthen our healthy cells and build up our immunity…or “community”. He he.

  8. Teresa

    I would suggest we start with a swift quarantine of all carriers of the dis-ease. They are mutating and the dis-ease can only be controlled by limiting their powers.

    Carriers of the dis-ease are known to be socio-pathic personalities, with a propensity to stretch the truth, distort the truth and use propaganda to spread the dis-ease. They are highly contagious to those who are easily led – the sheeple.

    The dis-ease affects the less fortunate, with the greatest vulnerability. There has been a massive break out of the highly contagious dis-ease in the Gulf Coast and it has affected the entire country.

    Surgery will not be effective. We must immediately open up the extra rooms in the WH for some of the victims and take the current Resident into quarantine. The entire cabal must be isolated and a swift impeachment followed by the inauguration of true President will help to bring about healing of the nation.

  9. P.S. Paging Dr. Ron –

    What is your prescription?

  10. Teresa says:

    Oh that’s good, Pamela. I love the victims in the WH idea.

    Calling the lost President! Calling the lost President! You are needed urgently!

  11. kj says:

    I love to read a Dave from Princeton rant in the morning. ;-)

  12. kj says:

    I mean, seriously. Those folks left stranded in New Orleans were mostly Democrat voters, don’t you think? And for anyone who doesn’t buy that bridge, how about pointing to Iraq… I mean, didn’t we go to war against a country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11?

    Okay, short choppy sentences. Late for work. Two more days there! Yea!