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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Snowden’

Brian Williams on Snowden Interview: Guarded Notes, Research ‘With My Life’

WilliamsLast night, Brian Williams revealed details regarding his high-stakes, high-security journey to Moscow for his May interview with Edward Snowden.

“Fake names in the hotel,” William said on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” adding that he told “nosy” people at the airport he was flying to London for a business trip.

In the London airport, Williams says he guarded his notes and research “with my life.”  He was also given advice about his connecting flight to Moscow from a former U.S. official: look for someone on board that looks uncomfortable without anything to read—they’re assigned to travel with you.

Williams also revealed his fake hotel name—Seth Meyers.


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Brian Williams’ Edward Snowden Interview Draws Nearly 6 Million Viewers

According to preliminary Nielsen data, the Brian Williams interview with Edward Snowden averaged 5.91 million viewers in the 10pm hour last night. (By comparison, Williams’ “Nightly News” has been averaging about 8.4 million viewers a night.)

The special was #1 in the A18-49 and A25-54 demos and #2 in viewers behind a repeat of “CSI:” on CBS. The hour-long special built on its lead-in (a repeat of “Last Comic Standing) by +48%. And the special added viewers from its first half hour to its second. Compared to the same night last year, the Snowden special improved the time period by +57% (+2,143,000) in total viewers. Final numbers will be released after 4pmET. As for why Snowden chose NBC for his first broadcast TV interview, here’s what he told Williams:

Snowden: ‘The Minute You Start Talking to a Journalist, There is No Going Back From That’

WilliamsGreenwaldSnowdenEdward Snowden said the “point of no return” in his quest to reveal NSA surveillance programs, was when it came time to tell journalists what he knew.

“It was a really intimidating moment,” Snowden told Brian Williams about meeting Glenn Greenwald, who sat for that part of the interview with Williams in Moscow last week. “It was the most real point of no return because the minute you start talking to a journalist as an intelligence officer on camera, there is really no going back from that,” Snowden said.

Snowden says he has an agreement with Greenwald, and other journalists for whom he is a source. “I demanded that they agreed to consult with the government to make sure no individuals or specific harms could be caused by any of that reporting.”

Williams said that includes NBC News, which has done its own reporting based on Snowden’s documents. Williams also revealed that NBC has a “reporting relationship” with Greenwald, which explains how the Williams interview was helped along, and is interesting given Greenwald’s past with another NBC Newser.

Williams closed the hour by teasing that Greenwald’s next story based on the Snowden documents “may be the biggest yet in terms of impact.”

Brian Williams on Snowden Interview: ‘We Were Worried About a Number of Things’

WilliamsSnowdenBrian Williams nearly missed his connecting flight from London to Moscow last week on his way to interview Edward Snowden. Williams’s luggage did miss the connection.

The NBC News anchor speaks with the NYTimes’ Bill Carter about his Snowden interview which will air as part of a one-hour special tonight.

“We were worried about a number of things,” Williams tells Carter. “There were competitive concerns. And we didn’t know how much the Russians knew about the reasons for our travel.”

Williams’ luggage arrived not long before Snowden came knocking on his door at the Kempinski Hotel, overlooking Red Square. “Viewers will hear me ask him about a plea bargain. He makes his case.”

“He is blindingly smart. Pay no attention to the fact that he only has a G.E.D. from high school. I joked about how, here we were, two guys with high school degrees, both dropouts from the otherwise great American community college system.”

“No money changed hands,” Williams says. “I think his total compensation was half a chicken sandwich from the room service cart.”

The “Today” show played an excerpt in which the former NSA contractor blames the State Department for stranding him in Russia. “I never intended to end up in Russia. I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in the Moscow Airport,” Snowden says.

Secretary of State John Kerry hit back in a live interview on “Today: “For a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer.” WATCH: Read more

Brian Williams Went Over His High School Graduation Speech With…

WilliamsYou wouldn’t think Brian Williams and Edward Snowden had much time for small talk before taping their exclusive interview in Moscow earlier this week, but apparently Snowden was curious about a green folder in Williams’ hotel room.

“I said I should probably explain what Hillwood High School is,” Williams said during his commencement speech yesterday at the Nashville school, recounting how he explained the folder holding his speech to Snowden.

“To rewind a bit, I am explaining Hillwood High School to Edward Snowden, in a hotel room in Moscow, 32 hours ago,” Williams continued, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Williams told students he explained  everything about the commencement speech, including the video sent by students to lure him to speak, to Snowden before their interview. Williams urged them to watch the interview because Snowden “will play a role in all of your lives, and your country, because of what he’s exposed.”

From Monday to Thursday, Williams flew 11,000 miles from New York, to Moscow, and finally, to Nashville. His interview with Snowden will air Wednesday night as an hour-long NBC News primetime special.


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Brian Williams Interviews Edward Snowden


“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams traveled to Moscow this week for an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden. It’s the former NSA contractor’s first-ever American television interview and it will air as an hour-long NBC News primetime special next Wednesday.

Williams, who anchored Monday’s “Nightly News,” before leaving for Moscow, talked with Snowden for several hours, NBC News says. Snowden, a U.S. Citizen, with a revoked passport, has been living in exile for nearly a year, since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs to Glenn Greenwald, for the Guardian, and Barton Gellman, of the Washington Post. Those reports won a Pulitzer Prize last month.

Lester Holt, filling in for Brian Williams on Tuesday’s “Nightly News,” said Williams would be back for Wednesday’s show. When he wasn’t — Holt filled in again — that got us wondering where Williams was. Now we know.

And after that 11,000-mile 72-hour trip, Williams turned around and got on a flight to Nashville to honor a commitment to speak at tonight’s Hillwood High School graduation. Williams will anchor “Nightly News” from Nashville.

Megyn Kelly, Charlie Rose on TIME 100

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.53.04 AMTIME magazine is out with its annual TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world.

Megyn Kelly, the anchor of Fox News Channel’s 9pm hour, is a Pioneer on the list while Charlie Rose, the co-host of “CBS This Morning,” is listed as an Icon. The list runs the gamut: from Pres. Obama to Edward Snowden; from Pope Francis to Miley Cyrus. Seth Myers, Jeff Bezos and both Koch brothers are also on it.

Brit Hume, who gets some of the credit for Kelly’s success, writes in TIME, “Ten years ago, my wife Kim, then Fox News’ Washington bureau chief, walked into my office carrying a videocassette. ‘You have got to see this,’ Kim said. It was the audition tape of a local TV reporter then named Megyn Kendall.

About Rose, Michael Bloomberg writes, “Over the years, political commentary on television — from both the left and the right — has grown more and more shrill. Both sides talk past each other in an endless repetition of poll-tested sound bites. And that’s why Charlie Rose matters more than ever.”

Who did TIME overlook? Let us know in the comments…

Did ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Just Scoop NBC with Putin Interview?

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is in Sochi, Russia today where he got an interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Sochi Olympics, as you are well aware, are on the networks and stations of NBCUniversal, so Stephanopoulos getting this interview ahead of NBC’s is quite a coup. Stephanopoulos asked Putin about security for the games, his position on gay rights, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and other topics. The “GMA” anchor returns from Russia today and will be hosting “This Week” Sunday as usual.


Republicans Dominated Sunday Shows in 2013

Rachel Maddow show blogThe Sunday shows booked more Republicans than Democrats in 2013, according to research done by “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

10 out of the top 13 guests appearing across the main Sunday shows were Republicans, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich) leading the way with 27 appearances (he was prominent during the NSA/Edward Snowden news cycle).

Former presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain was next at 24 appearances, with CNN “Crossfire” co-host Newt Gingrich and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin tying for third place. Read more

President’s Final News Conference of 2013

Obama1213President Obama held his final news conference of 2013 “The most wonderful press conference of the year,” he joked. The broadcast and cable news networks all carried the president’s remarks and the newser.

The president began talking about the growing economy, end-of-the-year congressional compromise and thanked the military for their “service and sacrifice.”

“Jay [Carney] prepared a list of who’s naughty and nice. We’ll see who made it,” said the president as he took questions from:

Julie Pace, the AP, asked whether, given his low approval numbers, “Has this been the worst year of your presidency?” “I got to tell you, Julie, that’s not how I think about it,” said the president.

Mark Felsenthal of Reuters got the second question and asked about the NSA and revelations throughout the year of the extent of surveillance.

Ed Henry of Fox News got the third question and asked further about the NSA, and whether the president had underestimated and was unaware of the scope of the surveillance programs. The president and Henry sparred a bit before the president moved on to…

Jon Karl of ABC News got question four and asked about the poll numbers and asked the president what his biggest mistake has been of 2013. “There’s no doubt that when it came to the healthcare rollout… the fact is it didn’t happen in a way that was at all acceptable. Since I’m in charge, we screwed it up.”

“I promise you, I probably beat myself up even worse than you or Ed Henry does on any given day. But, I’ve also got to wake up in the morning and make sure that I do better the next day.”

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