Brian says NBC News "didn't seek this role in this story." Still, he says they worked hard to remain sensitive while deciding what to include in their report. Of the "garbage" that Brian says was in the package, the network aired only 2 minutes and 20 seconds of the 25 minutes of videos it received and just 37 sentences of the 23 pages of writings. "But however uncomfortable it is, that it was on every front page the next day proves this was journalism," Brian says. "This was news and a material advance in this story."
Once the network realized the story had struck a nerve with the public, did NBC ever reconsider its decision? "We were very careful, very careful on Nightly News. We talked about it a lot. Seven and a half hours. We took the entire day and we winnowed it down to this small part. We introduced it carefully on Nightly News. Then everybody's tape machines were rolling. Then it was off to the races. And that night, by the time I got home, my wife and I turned on the cable channels…it was what we call wallpaper," Brian says. "We, in our house, ended up turning it off and looking away."
By the time Brian saw the footage at home, he says NBC had placed restrictions on the video. "So by the time the Today show came on in the morning, we were already being very careful as to how many pictures we were showing, and I think today, now, it has all but disappeared," he says. "We get it. We saw it. This is a madman. But it needed to be seen."
"It disappeared, Brian, because the people said, because the public said, 'We don't want to see it,'" Oprah says.
"Also because the news organizations who are made up of fellow citizens and moms and dads and husbands and wives said, 'Okay. We get it.' It spoke materially to the biggest story in our country," Brian says.