Monday, December 13, 2004

My stint as research assistant to an unwitting Jonah Goldberg

Tracking down a transcript from NBC News

Several weeks ago National Review's Jonah Goldberg posted a bleg requesting the transcript of an NBC Nightly News segment on the Ukraine.

Since I knew from experience that MSNBC posted transcripts of shows like Scarborough, I searched the (MS)NBC website, but I came up short. I e-mailed the the Nightly News ( and received a polite reply referrring me to a wire service story on the topic posted on

I e-mailed back that I really wanted a transcript of the Nightly News segment. (Meanwhile Jonah announced that he no longer needed the transcript, so I lost interest.)

Fast forward to today, about three weeks after my initial requests. NBC e-mailed me the transcript in question. (At least I think it is the transcript in question. It arrived without any reference either to the date of the broadcast or to my request.)

And so without further ado, Jonah, here is the month-late transcript of the Ukraine segment, presumably from the NBC Nightly News of November 23, 2004:

TOM BROKAW, anchor:

Now, to an escalating political crisis involving a presidential election, a disputed vote count, charges of fraud and a country divided. Sound familiar? It's not happening here but rather half a world away in the Ukraine. And what's at stake is the survival or the defeat of old Soviet-style politics. Here's NBC's Jim Maceda.

JIM MACEDA reporting:

Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy Ukrainians in the streets today protested against the results of the presidential election, pitting their candidate, the West-leaning challenger, Viktor Yushchenko against the pro-Moscow prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych. They claim Yanukovych's victory was rigged, with reports of ballot stuffing and voter intimidation.

Unidentified Man: This country deserves fair political process and this country deserve democracy. And it's on the verge of it.

MACEDA: Today, Yushchenko called for civil disorder. He marched on Parliament and even took the oath of office, challenging the government to take it away. On Monday, the authoritarian Yanukovych was declared the winner with a 3 percentage-point lead. In a TV appearance, he warned his opponent to accept defeat. But international observers, including the US Representative Senator Richard Lugar, called the election fraudulent.

Senator RICHARD LUGAR: A concerted and forceful program of election day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities.

MACEDA: Experts say the former Soviet Republic is at a crossroads. Either it moves toward NATO and a market economy with Yushchenko, who gets most of his support from the young, more European voters in Ukraine's west, or it keeps the status quo, under Russia's heavy wing, the option favored by older, pro-Russian voters in the East, and by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, who even campaigned for Yanukovych. With riot police out in force tonight, Yushchenko led a march to the presidential palace, calling on the government to listen to the will of the people.

Mr. MARTIN McCAULEY (Russia Analyst): Yushchenko will not give up. He will declare himself the legitimate president, and this dual power will continue until it is resolved, one way or the other.

MACEDA: The government has called for talks, but with the country split in half, this crisis could still turn violent. Jim Maceda, NBC News, London.

Update: Thanks for the link, Jonah.