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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  July 19, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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murdoch's life, he says, but then he went on to say he does not accept blame for the hacking scandal and then he was hit by a pie in the face. then his wife struck the attacker. a wild day in the scandal consuming his media empire. what do you want? that group of people in washington mulling over a new plan to avoid economic armageddon, that's onene thing. tonight, in our nbc news poll, what the voters want to see come out of it. it's hot and getting hotter for millions tonight. what's behind the dynamic they're calling the "heat dome." and making a difference, by honoring americans who never should have been forgotten. "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. while rupert murdoch is an american citizen, the head of a media empire that is well known and widely watched here, the current scandal involving his company is mostly unraveling in great britain where he's already shut down one newspaper. where we know people's cell phones were hacked and where today, murdoch and his son and former employee faced members of parliament in a hearing. both murdochs tried to stay above the fray and then the fray came to them in the form of a guy with a cream pie aimed right at the face of the patriarch. it was that kind of day. it's been that kind of scandal. we begin our reporting here tonight with nbc's stephanie gosk in london, stephanie, good evening. >> reporter: good evening. brian. the police were armed with machine guns outside the front doors of parliament today, a good indication it was not going to be business as usual.
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many here in london said today that this was one of the most important days in parliament's history. the murdochs made a business out of covering the story. today, they were the story. the man who runs the second largest media company in the world side-by-side with his son, in front of members of parliament. apologetic. >> i would just like to say one sentence. this has been the most humble day of my life. >> i would like to say as well, how sorry i am and how sorry we are to, particularly the victims of illegal voice mail interceptions and to their families. >> reporter: from the beginning, james took the lead. >> i think my son can perhaps answer that in more detail. i think that's a question for james. >> reporter: at times jumping in to help when his 80-year-old father searched or stumbled for answers. but it was rupert murdoch's wife who stepped in at the most critical moment. throwing a right hook to protect
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over husband from a surprise pie attack. the protester, an amateur comedian that calls himself jonnie marbles was arrested and led away by police. for most of the question about phone hacking at "news of the world" the committee focused on who knew what and when. both of the murdochs repeatedly denied prior knowledge and never assumed responsibility. >> i don't know. >> i have no knowledge. >> that's the first i've heard of that. >> i don't have direct knowledge of that. >> i can't answer. i don't know. >> reporter: at one point, murdoch claimed his company is too big for him to know the details of each business. >> "news of the world" say small percent of our company and i'm employing 30,000 people around the world and i'm spread watching and appointing people in my trust. >> reporter: james defended executives rebekah brooks who resigned last friday. both led british newspaper's arm.
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>> there's no evidence that i'm away of that ms. brooks or mr. hinton or any of those executives, had knowledge of that. nonetheless, those resignations have been accepted. >> reporter: later in the day, brooks faced questions by herself from the same panel. she was arrested on sunday over allegations of phone hacking and payments to police for information. she, too, denies any knowledge of wrongdoing. >> i have never paid a policeman myself. >> reporter: but for the murdochs today's questioning was about salvaging news corp.'s reputation, a business rupert brought up with one paper. >> i was brought up by a father who was not rich but a great journalist. before he died, it was a small paper. >> reporter: james hopes to one day lead the family business but first he'll have to repair the damage sustained over two weeks of an ever-widening scandal.
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>> it's our determination to put things right. make sure these things don't happen again. >> reporter: rumors were floated that the head of news corp. might use today to announce his own resignation. just rumors. >> have you considered resigning? >> no. >> why not? >> because i feel that people i trusted have let me down. i'm the best person to clean this up. >> reporter: and there may be more tough questions to come. british prime minister david cameron has called for a judicial inquiry that could summon both rupert and james murdoch for questioning. and some u.s. lawmakers are calling for their own hearing, another opportunity to question the media mogul on capitol hill, brian. >> stephanie gosk starting off our reporting with the wild day in london, thanks. we're joined in the studio by andrew ross sorkin of "the new york times" and he wrote the book that popularized the phrase "too big to fail" about the financial meltdown and he's the new co-anchor of "squawk box" on
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cnbc. i know people like me have been asking people like you for days, how big does this get and what about coming to these shores? >> at the moment it's still contained in the uk. the census is it could spill over only, and i say only, in the allegations -- and the allegations are and the fbi is investigating, whether the company hacked the phones of 9/11 victims. there's a view that if that was truly the case it would change the game. the fcc could pull their television licenses, advertisers could pull their money. viewers could turn away and just the way they have, frankly, in the uk. until we get to that point it's probably contained to the london world. >> a devil's advocate question. a lot of people and some of the on-air analysts were watching and asking over and over, how could he not have known? but if you're the producer of a fox show "american idol," "family guy" if you were asked you would answer, we don't hear from rupert murdoch. he doesn't meddle in our business.
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he's a hands-off manager. why isn't that answer sufficient today? >> because rupert murdoch is a newspaperman. he loves the news. he loves dialling into his editors and giving them tips and hearing the gossip and finding out what's happening and trying to drive the news and drive the conversation. so when he says he's uninvolved with the newspapers there's some people in the business that say that doesn't ring true. >> spoken like a newspaperman. andrew ross sorkin. thank you. and there was that startling moment during the hearing today when a guy attacked rupert murdoch with a cream pie and then murdoch's wife got up and took a roundhouse swing at the attacker. that kind of fierce devotion and protection seemed familiar to those familiar with wendi murdoch. nbc's andrea mitchell has more on the wife of rupert murdoch. >> reporter: she responded in a flash, leaping forward to
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protect her husband from an attacker. instinctive, fierce, athletic. a former volleyball player in school. all that, plus a lot more. the young, glamorous, chinese-born third wife of rupert murdoch. >> i think all the people are movers and shakers here. >> reporter: for hours, all through her husband's grueling testimony today, wendi murdoch was right behind him, willing him on, clearly ready to respond. >> watching him so carefully, she was the first to be able to get up and, before the police or before anyone else, swat away this aggressor. >> reporter: now, 42, wendi murdoch has been married to the 80-year-old media baron for 12 years since meeting him as a young executive for one of his tv operations in hong kong. the union was controversial at first. rupert murdoch now 102-year-old mother called her new daughter-in-law a designing woman, especially after she challenged her husband's adult children, fighting for their two young daughters to get a stake in the company. murdoch with charlie rose. >> we try to combine the best of chinese and best of american
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method to teach them. >> reporter: and her history, coming to the u.s. on a student visa and then marries her first husband, a man with his then-wife had sponsored her. as first reported in the "wall street journal." >> what ended up happening is wendi, who was a teenager at the time, had an affair with the father of her sort of adopted father. and the two of them ended up getting married for long enough for her to get a green card. >> reporter: now wendi is widely viewed as an important asset to murdoch. helping represent his business interests in china and easing his way through social and charitable circles. >> this is someone what was the daughter of someone that ran a factory in china and made it to yale and a successful business career as well as this very high-profile marriage. >> reporter: those that know wendi murdoch say she's unstoppable. whatever happens to her husband she and her children will have a secure future. brian? >> andrea mitchell rounding out our coverage.
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thanks. and in washington tonight, a plan to cut the federal budget that was dead on arrival a few weeks ago suddenly re-emerged today and the president was encouraging in a quick appearance in the west wing briefing room. the plan was put together by half a dozen senators that call themselves "the gang of six" and its revival comes as a new nbc news "wall street journal" poll tells us what americans would like to see come out of these debt ceiling negotiations. our chief white house correspondent and political director, chuck todd is with us with the numbers tonight. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. lets get the "gang of six" issue out of the way. a similar plan the president pushed a few weeks ago. $4 trillion of deficit reduction over ten years including some tax hikes and some entitlement reform. the reason this picked up momentum today, oklahoma republican senator, tom coburn -- who was a member of the gang of six and then wasn't -- came out and endorsed it.
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two hours later the president came out. why is this choreography important? republican coburn is the closest republican friend the president has in the senate. they've been talking a lot. why did the president come out for this? if you look at the new poll, you'll see the idea of a mixed package of some tax hikes, combined with entitlement reform and including spending cuts and deficit reductions of $4 trillion over ten years, beats the republican plan in preference among our respondents, 58-36, republican plan being cuts only and no taxes. any sort of deal is putting pressure on both parties. for republicans, a large majority of the country is telling republicans get off the no-new taxes pledge and compromise at 62%. but inside those numbers, tea party supporters, 65% of them say to republicans, "no. stick to your guns and stick to the pledge." as for democrats and entitlement reform look at this one. majority, 52% of everybody we tested, said the democrats stick
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to your guns and don't allow cuts in medicare and social security for deficit reduction. so as you can see, it's a mixed political bag for both parties. but particularly for republicans. we saw a huge divide between independents in our polling and tea party supporters. it explains why john boehner, speaker of the house, has been in this box. where the tea party says one thing and independents say another. they were on the same page in 2010. they may not be in 2012. >> really interesting numbers. chuck todd, thanks. congresswoman and gop presidential candidate michele bachmann today denied a report that she suffers from, quote, debilitating migraine headaches. she said she does suffer from migraines and controls them with medication, but said that they don't ever leave her incapacitated. >> i'd like to be abundantly clear.
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my ability to function effectively will not affect my ability to serve as commander-in-chief. >> website called "the daily caller" cited unnamed sources described as former aides saying that bachmann suffers from stress-induced migraines that have sent her to the hospital in the past. other aides that travel with bachmann dismissed the story as an exaggeration and a political attack. when we come back here tonight, it's no longer just a heatwave. their calling the weather system sliding east more of a "heat dome." and later, honoring some americans whose accomplishments were overlooked for too long.
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i'm in los angeles with late-breaking news. search and rescue teams at yosemite national park are scouring an area below a popular waterfall after witnesses said they saw visitors slip into the water. the rangers closed the trail and record snowfall at yosemite park has resulted in significant runoff and treacherous conditions. at least eight people have died in the park this year. tonight, a search and rescue operation is under way. now, back to brian williams in new york. the soggy awful heat wave that has the country in the middle of its grip is spreading
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tonight. a mass of air that's like a hot, wet blanket covering a huge area from the plains all the way to the northeast now with temperatures in the 90s and 100s for about half of our country. parts or all of 32 states and the district columbia, that's 100 million americans are under some sort of heat advisory. weather channel meteorologist, chris warren, has our report, chris, good evening. >> good evening to you, too, brian. we're in a hot pattern and it's also typically the hottest time of the year going into this week. the pattern we're talking about, this area of high pressure over the middle part of the country and with that you have sinking air and that's a warming process so you have sunny skies. all of this works to warm the land and it gets trapped in there. the hot air gets trapped into this dome of very warm air and keep in mind, also, we also have a lot of humidity trapped at the
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surface as well. that's what makes it so oppressive and so dangerous and it continues to intensify. cold fronts when they go through, would typically cool things down but this dome is so massive it deflects the cold front and prevents the cooling. so the warm air is trapped. in the coming days, this dome will expand. temperatures in the mid-atlantic and the northeast, by thursday and into friday will be in the upper 90s and even triple digits. you factor in the humidity and it will be even hotter. brian, in the coming days and beyond this weekend, the dome will shift a little bit and around the edges you'll get cooling. for the southern plains, the anchor of that dome, no relief in sight. >> i heard you describe it earlier today as an upside down cake pan that made sense. thanks, chris. we're sorry for the folks in phoenix where it happened again, second time in a couple weeks, though not as bad as the last time. another dust storm.
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this one 3,000 feet high and enveloped an area in and around the city just last night. but to borrow an old arizona phrase -- at least it's a dry dust. up next here tonight, another last step in our space shuttle program. i'm carla, and this is my cvs. we look out for patients by offering care 1 on 1. we help them save money with generic prescriptions. we talk to them about prescription safety and -- help them save money. plus we discuss possible side effects and -- help them save money! we help them save money. get care 1 on 1 and talk savings, safety, and side effects when you transfer or fill a new ongoing prescription. i'm carla, and this is my cvs. and his, too. and i count on social security. here's what i'm not...
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the toll of the ship's bell marking the last undocking. a graceful, slow dance in space this morning, 243 miles over new zealand. shuttle detached from the space station for one last time. it did something of a victory lap on its way past toward a landing date early thursday morning. 37 shuttle missions have attached themselves to the mother ship over the years. of course, the end of the manned space program means science fair kids are a lot less likely to want to work at nasa, as we're trying to get back to emphasizing science education in this country, we are, however, happy to report that this year's google science fair was swept by young women this year. lauren hodge, shree bose and naomi shah, and they studied air quality and cancer research, each one more impressive than the next. even though we're not carrying
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americans into space anymore, let's hope we still send spacecraft up to places like this. this is the asteroid vesta. astronomers have been tracking it for years in the asteroid belt between mars and jupiter. it's a huge rock, 330 miles in diameter. these images are thanks to a small spacecraft named dawn, which will now spend a year orbiting vesta and taking pictures, showing us places we can't go ourselves. up next here tonight righting a wrong and making a difference that's long overdue. are smiling... s you're smiling. and when they're laughing... you're laughing. be kind to your eyes... with transitions lenses. transitions adapt to changing light so you see your whole day comfortably... and conveniently while protecting your eyes from the sun.
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geico, saving people money on more than just car insurance. finally tonight, a "making a difference" report, a story we've been trying to bring you for a while during a very busy news season. remember, this is also baseball season. while players these days are thankfully, a diverse bunch, it wasn't always that way. because of the way our country used to be, there used to be something baseball fans know about called "the negro league" full of talented players who never got their due. and now one man is trying to change that. his story tonight from nbc's ron mott. >> reporter: amid headstones of
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chisel and polished granite sits a new marker. topeka, kansas cemetery. the first for a negro league baseball player nicknamed dink, the super substitute laid to rest in anonymity more than 30 years ago. >> i don't want to see him buried forever in anonymity. >> reporter: jeremy crock, a life-long st. louis cardinals' fans learned eight years of go some of these hometown heroes were invisible in death to know they never lived. >> to know these players are out there and know where they're buried and to walk out there and see a plot of grass is an injustice. >> reporter: an injustice he's trying to change, one grave at a time. 22 dedicated so far and more to come. >> each time he uncovers one and brings new-found light to these individuals, it now increases the awareness about the negro league. >> he started the negro league "grave marker" project paying
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tribute whose legacies fill a kansas city museum but memories are largely overshadowed by white players of the era before the color barrier was broken in 1947 by jackie robinson. not all negro leaguers played in the anonymity. there were some of notoriety in the big leagues. for every jackie robinson, there are many more dinks. and patrick hawkins knows this. her dad worked quietly into his 80s after a long career in the negro leagues. he died in '02 and he got a gave -- grave marker last summer. >> it was beautiful. everybody had stories. >> on the ballfield they were good enough to be called "monarchs." ♪ take me out to the ball game ♪ >> reporter: on these fields, finally they're good enough to be remembered for it! ron mott, nbc news, kansas city.
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>> what a great story to end on this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- good evening, everyone. thanks for joining us. >> we begin with some developing news tonight from yosemite national park. we are getting new information from our sister sfags inan d s fresn and sacramento about the search and rescue efforts that are happening as we ntspeak. here's a look now at the map. witnesses say a man and a woman climbed over the safety rail at the top of vernal


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