Brian Williams posted a blog at the NBC News site yesterday innocuously titled: Making the Quarter rounds. It that is almost as staggering in its naïveté as it is frightening in the message it contains…

Williams tells us he has just returned from the French quarter where things seem to almost be returning to a semblance of relative normality, though “it will be a long time before it resembles anything close to New Orleans.” . But “It is slowly drying out… and cleaning up. There are a few random businesses open.”

Not until the second paragraph does Williams mention “an interesting dynamic,” an understatement if ever there was one, although he recognizes that it is “not altogether positive.” He then goes on to describe a city that has “reached a near-saturation level of military and law enforcement.” He then describes an incident he chalks up to a soldier’s “whim:”

While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won’t be any pictures of this particular group of Guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.

Williams goes on, again suggesting, via a parenthesis, that these are isolated acts not in any way linked to official orders from up top, to describe:

At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media… obvious members of the media… armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It’s a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.

Is that all this is, Brian, a “perverse” and “backward postscript?” Might it not perhaps be better described as the Bush administration’s efforts, via military muscle, to clamp down on the images of suffering and death being delivered to the eyes of the American people over the past week? But that obviously isn’t the message or interpretation that Brian Williams appears ready to convey on the Nightly News based on the concluding paragraph of his blog:

We’re putting a lot of material into the broadcast tonight, including a story about the pets of this region… there’s a lot of that going around here these days.

You mean like a police state interfering with the constitutional right of the media to report what is going on in New Orleans? Apparently not.

Little wonder that GOP message spin master Frank Luntz, in a confidential memo to Republican leaders, that surfaced last February, described Williams as the “go-to network anchor” because of his brains and “lack of detectable ideological bias.”

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