Last night, Brian Williams began Nightly News telling viewers, “as far as we can tell and as far looking back this is the first live network evening newscast to originate from here since 1987, the last time NBC Nightly News broadcast from here.”
If Brian had only checked TVNewser from his Blackberry in Tiananmen Square a few hours before showtime he’d have seen the story we wrote. It included the memorable “pulled plug” moment from the CBS Evening News during the student uprising in May, 1989.
So Brian went on the Daily Nightly and fessed up:
It wasn’t the most momentous mistake we’ve ever made, but wrong is wrong. We were alerted to our error the moment we got off the air — by a posting (relayed to us from New York) on a website that covers our industry, saying Dan Rather had broadcast live from the Square for a portion of the CBS Evening News on May 20 of 1989 — right before their plug was pulled and they were forced to finish broadcasting from another nearby location. Tom Brokaw, here with us, remembered it that way too with the prompting that the posting provided.
Williams goes on to write that he called former CBS Evening News producer Lane Venardos, whose daughter Kelly is a producer for Nightly. Venardos “confirmed that we had indeed screwed up,” Williams wrote.
Hey, we understand. It’s not easy doing Nightly News at 6:30 in the morning.