UPDATE, 3:45 PM: NBC News finally broke its silence on Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s quarantine violation today on its evening newscast — but only to read a prepared statement from its chief medical correspondent, who appears to be unclear as to the whole “quarantine” thing.
At the tail end of the newscast’s lead segment about the nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital stricken with Ebola after coming into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, anchor Brian Williams noted “our chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman has been in the news herself these past few days.” Saying “we” spoke to Snyderman earlier today, Williams then read a prepared statement from her. “While under voluntary quarantine guidelines which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed,” Snyderman said — forgetting to mention that she’s the one sighted by Princeton locals double-parked outside a local eatery late last week.
“We remain healthy and our temperatures are normal,” Snyderman continued in her statement, explaining that “as a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public,” but not explaining what prompted her to violate the voluntary quarantine agreement with health officials to make a take-out food run. She did, however, say she is “deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused.”
PREVIOUS, 1 PM: After accidentally hitting the motherlode when a freelance cameraman it hired to work with Dr. Nancy Snyderman on its Ebola reporting in West Africa came down with the disease, giving its chief medical correspondent an up-close-and-personal angle to her coverage, NBC News went all radio-silent after neighbors reported seeing Snyderman at a local eatery, violating her voluntary quarantine agreement.
Other networks, however, had a field day today with Nancy Snyderman and Her Mandatory Quarantine story — a state of involuntary stay-at-homedness to which she’s been sent by the New Jersey Department of Health.
CNN’s media navel lint gazer Brian Stelter noted that, even though every member of Snyderman’s crew is asymptomatic, the quarantine busting “goes to her credibility as the chief medical correspondent at the network.” CNN’s legal analyst Paul Callan observed that Snyderman faces 60 days in the slammer if she violates this mandatory quarantine. And the cable news network’s deep-thought-thinker Don Lemon predicted Snyderman’s predicament would be discussed tonight on NBC Nightly News “because that’s where she does the bulk of her reporting … with Brian Williams.”
(He’s likely right, given that Planet Princeton reports Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser is slated to attend the Princeton Council meeting tonight at 7 PM to update officials about the Snyderman situation. This information according to Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, who, Planet Princeton reports, performed the wedding for Snyderman’s daughter in Snyderman’s Princeton home in June,\ and who declined, when asked, to say whether she was disappointed in Snyderman for violating her voluntary quarantine deal.)
“You had no business,” ABC’s The View moderator Whoopi Goldberg did not hesitate to weigh in today, addressing Snyderman in absentia. “That’s why they make a telephone. Maybe Nancy, you don’t know this. You can call and say, ‘Hey, can you deliver?’ They will deliver food for you. What the hell, Nancy!”
Fox And Friends, meanwhile, reported Snyderman broke her quarantine “to visit her favorite soup restaurant,” adding, “Great!” while the headline “For the Love of Soup” flashed on screen.
“We cannot comment on any individual case due to privacy concerns,” NBC News told Deadline today, in re its Snyderman situation and non-updating. “Upon returning from Liberia, our team was deemed to be low-risk, and agreed to follow guidelines set by local health authorities. We fully support those guidelines and continue to expect that they be followed. Our team are all well with normal temperatures, which they check multiple times a day, and they are also in daily contact with local health officials.”
To think it was not so long ago that Snyderman was on the phone with Williams on his evening newscast, telling him, “We start this 21-day quarantine with the firm belief that we’ll come out the other end OK.”
This morning Planet Princeton, which broke the Snyderman soup-scouting scoop, reported the Princeton Police Department is enforcing the mandatory quarantine issued by the state Friday night for Snyderman and Crew after they violated their previous deal. Police are regularly patrolling the area where she and her crew are isolated, the publication reported.
“We are acting in conjunction with the health department to ensure the quarantine stays in effect and is secure,” the report quotes Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter as saying. “We have increased patrols in the area given the attention the area is getting. Basically, if the health department needed any assistance with security issues, we would be responsible for that.”
NBC News’ troubles began late last week when locals near Princeton University contacted Planet Princeton, reporting they’d seen Snyderman in the back seat of a Mercedes the publication said it has identified as belonging to her, parked outside the Peasant Grill near Princeton University. She was accompanied by other people – one of whom went into the restaurant to pick up a food order. Some media outlets have identified that person as being part of the news crew that was working with Snyderman on her ebola coverage and also participating in the voluntary quarantine.
“Unfortunately, the NBC crew violated this agreement, and so the Department of Health today issued a mandatory quarantine order to ensure that the crew will remain confined until October 22,” the health department spokeswoman told the Associated Press late last week.
On Saturday, NBC News reported that Ashoka Mukpo, the American freelance cameraman working with Snyderman in Liberia who’d tested positive for ebola earlier this month, was showing signs of improvement in health. In that report, NBC News made no updates on the Snyderman angle of the story. At the time of Mukpo’s diagnosis in early October, Snyderman was flown back to the United States on a private charter flight to be placed under voluntary quarantine for 21 days as a precaution. In a written statement on October 3, NBC News President Deborah Turness announced, “We have agreed with state and local health authorities that our team will not come to work, and they will stay at home taking their temperatures twice daily and staying in touch with the local health authorities for the remainder of the recommended 21-day period.” The group would be closely monitored and was showing no symptoms or warning signs of Ebola, the network said at the time.