After news broke on Thursday that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams landed an exclusive interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the network began running promos wondering whether Snowden was a "traitor" or a "patriot." First a clip played of Williams observing: "A lot of people would say you have badly damaged your country." A second clip of the exchange feature Williams asking Snowden: "Have you performed, as you see it, a public service?" [Listen to the audio]
At the top of Thursday's Nightly News, Williams informed
viewers that he had just returned from Moscow after sitting down with
"the most wanted man in the world," touting how "the interview was
months in the making and cloaked in the secrecy of his life as a
fugitive living in exile overseas." Williams teased an upcoming May 28
special: "We are going to air Snowden's comments next week....you'll be
able to see and hear him tell his story, including a lot we have not
heard before. And as you will see and hear, Edward Snowden has a lot
more to say."
The last time Nightly News covered Snowden was on May 12, as journalist Glenn Greenwald was promoting his new book on getting the scoop on the story. Correspondent Kate Snow led her report by declaring Snowden to be "one of the most famous whistle-blowers of all time."
Here is a full transcript of the NBC promo of the Snowden interview aired during the May 23 Today:
8:30 AM ET
[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: Picture of Edward Snowden with the word "Traitor?"]
BRIAN WILLIAMS: A lot of people would say you have badly damaged your country.
[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: Picture of Snowden with the word "Patriot?]
WILLIAMS: Have you performed, as you see it, a public service?
ANNOUNCER: Don't miss the conversation that will have everyone talking.
Here is a full transcript of Williams promoting the interview at the top of Nightly News on May 22:
7:01 PM ET
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Good evening from Nashville and before we get underway tonight, a quick word about the past two evenings of unexplained absences, along with my thanks to Lester Holt for filling in. At the end of this broadcast, we'll show you why we are here in Nashville tonight, but first, about where we've been for the past two days.
About sixteen hours ago, I departed Moscow, where I had traveled to interview Edward Snowden. He is widely referred to these days as the most wanted man in the world, the interview was months in the making and cloaked in the secrecy of his life as a fugitive living in exile overseas. Our conversation went on for several hours and we are still going through it all and just starting the process of seeking comment from all those people and entities he discussed.
We are going to air Snowden's comments next week on the other side of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and in prime time on Wednesday night at 10/9 Central, you'll be able to see and hear him tell his story, including a lot we have not heard before. And as you will see and hear, Edward Snowden has a lot more to say.