Brian Williams took to his Daily Nightly blog to address the story sparked by FishbowlDC’s post yesterday about remarks made by NBC’s Lee Cowan, who said that it’s “hard to remain objective covering” Sen. Barack Obama.
I see from a tour of the web that we find ourselves in the position of having our own words and reporting turned back around on us, and I wanted to clarify something we posted yesterday.
During my day with the Obama campaign, I took Lee Cowan aside for a brief interview. Lee covers Obama for us, and we’re lucky to have him on our roster… he is one of the very best in the business. In the interview, which you can see right here, Lee admits “…it’s almost hard to remain objective…” which as he implies is our goal in our work every day. He’s referring to what all of us who have covered campaigns have felt from time to time: it’s impossible to get the long view…the view from 40,000 feet…while operating at sea level, and inside the bubble.
Lee was talking about the swirl of excitement that has hit the Obama campaign after Iowa — the crowds, the hoopla — all of it. Today we learned that rival political efforts were spinning this as some kind of “bias” on the part of either Lee, or me, or this News Division, and that’s just ridiculous. My response is as it always is in these situations: look at it again, listen to what’s being said, and judge us by the quality and fairness of our journalism.