Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If A Tree Falls At The White House, Is It More Important Than A Bombing?

It is astounding that Brian Williams had the nerve to write the following on today's Daily Nightly blog: "Yesterday a bomb went off outside a hotel in Peshawar in Pakistan. It may say a lot about our world, our culture or our business that the story merited only a scant few seconds on our broadcast last night." This is truly unbelievable. What it says a lot about, actually, is the way Brian and his producers run Nightly News. I would remind Brian that the reason this story merited "only a scant few seconds" is because that's all he chose to give it. Brian talks as if there are secret external forces controlling the makeup of a Nightly News broadcast. HE is the managing editor. HE decides (with his producers) what goes on the air. HE is the reason this story was given only a few seconds. Meanwhile, there was apparently enough time on Tuesday's Nightly News to air a pointless two-and-a-half-minute "What Works" segment about Miami Gardens, Florida. This report did not contain the slightest bit of actual news, but Brian chose to run it instead of devoting more time to the Peshawar bombing. The reason is obvious: The Miami Gardens story was sponsored by Aricept, a Pfizer product. There was no way Brian or his producers were going to bump a sponsored segment and forego that Pfizer money just so they could spend more time reporting on a bombing halfway around the world. It should also be noted that on Tuesday, Brian spent more time telling us about the tree that fell on the White House lawn than he did on the Peshawar bombing. It is shocking and inappropriate for Brian to blame "our world, our culture or (the news) business" for his own corrupt decisions. But at least Pfizer got their name on the "What Works" segment, and NBC got paid. And at Nightly News, that's all that really matters. I bet that if the Peshawar bombing had been sponsored by Pfizer, Brian would have given it a lot more air time.

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