“…Only one heli left on the ground and it’s running”

It’s officially wheels up for Hosni Mubarak. Rather, that particular landmark was reached an hour ago:

I can also see mubarak residence airport. 5 helicopters used to be there, only 1 left on the ground & it’s running

Anyway, the promised statement, as fashionably late as usual, arrived and it confirmed his resignation. This after an incredible afternoon during which Nile TV’s newsreader argued on air at length with the crowds outside the TV headquarters, before apparently apologising for their past coverage after an Army spokesman read out the resignation letter. From Sultan al-Qassemi of The National‘s twitter feed:

Fascinating: Egypt State TV is speaking live with anti-Mubarak protesters surrounding the State TV building http://yfrog.com/gyahfhpj

The news anchor is pleading with the angry protesters “You know there was a period of chaos, we all want there to be more freedom of speech”

Protesters surrounding State TV building: We demand an apology for your coverage of Bloody Wednesday! On air Anchor : Calm them down please

[Sultan Al Qassemi]:The State TV anchors are terrified. There are tens of thousands of protesters surrounding the building who are unhappy with the coverage.

Egypt State TV anchor is speaking to a go between “Please assure the protesters. Please”

And then, from Port_Saeedy:

Egyptian TV News reader : We apologize , we read lies against our own..

The next message recorded the arrival of the Army spokesman. The on-air apology happened in Tunisia, but I’m at a loss for a historical example of a TV station actually arguing with the general public in real time and losing without any actual violence being used.