Flashback 2006: NBC's Brian Williams Points Finger At President Bush

As NewsBusters previously reported, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Thursday, reacting with predictably similar disgust as the rest of the media to the picture of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pointing her finger at Barack Obama, asked viewers, "Who have you ever seen talking to the president like this?"

Maybe he should have looked in the archives of interviews he did with George W. Bush wherein he was guilty of making the exact same supposedly offensive hand gesture at the President of the United States (videos follow with loads of commentary):

The video above was posted by a YouTube user named Stulz on January 21, 2007, and linked at Free Republic by Nachum about an hour ago.

Compare this still taken from that video

to this one that has been generating mountains of disgust from media outlets all over the country:

From that Williams still, it looks like he and Bush were in quite a heated argument as opposed to the tremendously cordial exchange they were having, doesn't it?

Remember press members expressing disgust for Williams pointing his finger at the President that way?

Apparently Williams doesn't either, for here's part of his highly outraged report from Thursday: 

7:00PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Also, finger pointing. That photo everybody was talking about today. Who have you ever seen talking to the president like this and what was this all about?

7:06PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: All of this takes us to the photo everybody's been talking about today. The governor of Arizona with her finger in the face of the President of the United States. You don't see that often or maybe ever

You were saying, Mr. Williams?

Maybe folks like him should have considered the full context of this discussion rather than jumping to absurd conclusions from one still shot.

That would have been especially reasonable given the raw video of Brewer's warm greeting of the President as well as the contents of the letter she handed to him.

But doing so would have been too much like actual journalism, wouldn't it?

*****Update: The original article claimed in the headline this Williams interview took place in 2007. Real Clear Politics reported it as August 2006. Upon review, RCP is correct. Actual air date was August 29, 2006. NewsBuster Brent Baker wrote about the interview at the time. Full transcript of interview is available here, video here.

Something else to consider is that this interview took place in New Orleans on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As such, it likely was quite well-viewed.

Yet nobody minded Williams pointing his finger at the President of the United States.


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Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.