Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brian Williams--A Boob At The Beeb

This is from the March 29 "BBC World News America anchor Matt Frei spoke with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for Frei's BBC Radio 4 programme, 'Americana.' (like how we added the -mme?) During the show, Williams describes himself to the UK audience as a 'Rapidly graying, hunched over, 50-year-old white American male, college drop-out, came up the hard way, six-feet tall, slim build, increasingly haggard looking' anchorman."

Did Brian Williams also talk about how he deceives and bamboozles the American public every night? About how much time he spends reporting on his favorite things (American cars, Springsteen, firefighters, the space program, Medal of Honor winners, etc.) at the expense of real news? About his inability to distinguish between a story that is important and a story that is important to him? Did he talk about how he favorably reports on certain products because they advertise heavily on NBC (Heinz, Walmart, McDonald's and Kraft Foods are some recent examples)? Did he talk about how he protects his pals at Pfizer, Glaxo and other big pharma companies by not reporting harmful news about their products? Did he talk about the whopping 160 minutes of Olympic-related stories that Nightly News aired before, during and after the Olympics? Did he talk about all the time he wastes every night reporting on skateboarding bulldogs, popular youtube videos, little girls who throw back foul balls at Phillies games, birthday messages to Springsteen, centenarians, blind and deaf dachshunds, the Second City comedy troupe, teenage jazz singers, military challenge coins, pink dolphins, McDonald's new gourmet coffees, Susan Boyle, White House party crashers, children who like to hug each other, how painful it is to dance in high heeled shoes and countless other stories that have not a shred of news value? Did he tell Matt Frei about the way he shills for NBC shows by doing "news stories" about Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Tina Fey and other NBC stars? Did he mention that he flat out lied on the Jan. 8 Jay Leno Show when Leno asked him how many Tiger Woods stories Nightly News had reported (Williams claimed only two, although Nightly News had reported at least five)? Did he talk about how he frequently brags on-air about NBC's ratings, even though he often fudges the numbers? Did he talk about his bizarre and inappropriate use of African American jargon (on Feb. 5, he told Jimmy Fallon that, "I've been a white guy all my life", "I mean that as a brother", and that network news was, "The one bro and Katie and Diane.")? Did he talk about the numerous spelling, math, grammar and factual errors on his supposedly professional news broadcast? Did he talk about how he makes a point of reporting obituaries for former NBC stars just so that NBC Universal can earn some extra money on their DVD sales (Merlin Olsen, Fess Parker and Robert Culp are some recent examples)? Did he discuss his insufferable sanctimony when it comes to talking about members of the military (he often uses phrases like "wounded warriors" and "fallen heroes") or the Afghan orphanage he solicits money for? Did he talk about how he thinks he knows so much more about music than everyone else (he lectured viewers recently about how the "Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East" album was "on the list, by the way, of mandatory albums.")? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Brian Williams didn't mention any of these things during his BBC interview.


I would like to thank the Nightly News producers for their Tuesday "Making A Difference" story about Scott Anderson, the National Guardsman who performs magic tricks for injured children in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, that night's broadcast did not contain a single story from South America, Africa, Western Europe or Asia. But at least we know all about the National Guardsman who pulls rabbits out of his hat. Thanks guys. Keep up the great work. Maybe Anderson can wave his magic wand and transform Nightly News into an actual news broadcast.

The Congressional Medal Of Sanctimony

Here's Brian Williams's Daily Nightly blog entry for March 23: "Begging your forgiveness today, I won't be able to post today because I have to attend a board meeting of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation...meeting at a hotel not far from 30 Rock. Tonight we have a big gala and fund-raiser, and many of our living recipients have traveled to New York for the event. Tomorrow in Washington, they will mark Medal of Honor day at Arlington and elsewhere. So forgive me, but my time and attention is needed by some of the men I admire most in life."

If congress ever decides to award a Medal of Sanctimony, Brian should be the first recipient.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Show Notes--March 22 Through March 26

Some random notes on this week's Nightly News broadcasts:

*On Tuesday's story about how the portion sizes depicted in the Last Supper have increased over the centuries, Tintoretto's "The Last Supper" painting was attributed to "The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art." I can assure the Nightly News producers that to the best of my knowledge the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art have not merged.

*On Tuesday's broadcast, the "Making A Difference" segment was about Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets, an organization that finds temporary homes for pets when their owners are deployed in the military. Earlier in the broadcast, the "Lifeline" report (which Brian Williams introduced as "Lifetime") was sponsored by Pfizer--one of the world's largest utilizers of animal testing. Was it really appropriate to allow the animal testers at Pfizer to sponsor a segment in the same broadcast as the story about an organization that helps soldiers' pets?

*On Thursday's broadcast, Brian showed footage of a Miami rally in support of the "Ladies in White", a Cuban human rights group whose members were attacked last week by security forces in Havana. If the Miami rally was newsworthy enough to report, why wasn't the original Havana march that prompted the Miami rally also worth reporting? I think the answer is obvious: Gloria Estefan attended the Miami rally, but no celebrities participated in the Havana march.

*Also on Thursday's broadcast, Brian Williams narrated a story about the dozen or so activities enjoyed by Sasha and Malia Obama on their spring break trip to New York. Back on Jan. 5, 2009, Brian promised the viewers that Nightly News would not report on Sasha and Malia unless there was a compelling reason to do so. That promise didn't last long. On the Aug. 17, 2009 broadcast, we were treated to a story all about Sasha and Malia's totally excellent summer vacation across the U.S. and around the world. And now, once again, we were given a gratuitous story about the Obama daughters on vacation. For the second time in 14 months, Brian broke his promise to the viewers.

*During Thursday's story on the death of rock photographer Jim Marshall, we were shown one of Marshall's photos of Janis Joplin posing with a bottle of Southern Comfort. Brian's comment was, "And the great Janis Joplin, here enjoying a rare cocktail." The next time Brian wants to make a joke about alcoholism, maybe he should think about the millions of Americans who are afflicted with this disease, as well as the many millions more who are living with an alcoholic parent, child, sibling or spouse. Alcoholism is no joke.

*On Friday, Brian reported that Robert Groves, the director of the Census Bureau, apologized to a C-Span viewer for the use of the word "negro" on the 2010 census form. On Jan. 26, 2009, Brian titled his Daily Nightly blog "Old Man River at Obama's Inauguration." (The reference was to Chesley Sullenberger attending the inauguration.) The lyrics for the song "Old Man River" (also known as "Ol' Man River") were written by Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1927 play "Showboat", and unfortunately they are extremely racist. The song's original lyrics repeatedly use the odious "N" word to describe African Americans. Now that Mr. Groves has apologized for the use of the word "negro" on the census form, I think it's time for Brian to apologize for his inappropriate use of a racist song title in a blog about the inauguration of the nation's first African American president.

*Thursday's story about the coyote apprehended in New York City omitted one very important piece of information: Did the NYPD use an Acme tranquilizer gun to catch the coyote?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Roger O'Neil Is A Joke

Thanks a ton for the Monday Nightly News story about United Through Reading, which allows parents in the military to read to their kids in the U.S. via DVD. I remember this story from the last time it aired, on Aug. 21, 2009. Then, it was about Freedom Calls, a company that allows servicemen to witness the birth of a child through a satellite video hookup. So how many more stories is Nightly News going to bring us about military personnel who keep in contact with their families through video or DVD? In what alternate universe does this qualify as news? How about a story on McPatriot Meals, which allows a military family in the U.S. to bring a video hookup into McDonald's, so their loved one serving overseas can watch the family snarfing down Big Macs and fries? Or Patriot Pets, which allows a deployed military pet owner (via a two-way live video feed) to yell at their dog back home to stop chewing on the furniture or to get off the couch? We get it. Thanks to modern technology, people in the armed services can keep in touch with their families back home. How many times do the Nightly News producers need to tell us the same story?

And has anyone else noticed that every Roger O'Neil story is virtually identical, and all his stories seem as if they were lifted right off of bad Hallmark greeting cards? O'Neil isn't a news reporter, he's a propagandist. A news reporter is supposed to present a balanced and informative story about something of importance happening in the U.S. or around the world. O'Neil's stories are for the sole purpose of glorifying the military and praising "brave warriors" and "fallen heroes". "The wreaths...will honor those who served, each to serve as a reminder that freedom is not free. In life they honored their country, today we honor them with gestures befitting for American heroes." Is that from a sappy Hallmark card? No, it's from O'Neil's Dec. 18 story about Wreaths Across America. "Whenever the warrior leaves, the glue holding the family together has always been the military spouse." Hallmark? No, O'Neil (March 4). "It is a solemn and lonely lane they travel, the silence broken by the steady cadence of the horse whose ancestors once carried warriors into battle. But on this day (they) carry a warrior to a more peaceful place with poignant words from a poem." O'Neil again (March 17). What is his ridiculous obsession with warriors? I think he must have seen "Gladiator" a few too many times. This is the kind of corny, hokey prose that makes high school English teachers cringe. Or laugh. If NBC wants to put O'Neil's flag-waving eagle-soaring liberty-torch-waving garbage on the air, fine--but not on Nightly News. Maybe Dateline or Today. Better yet, why not trade O'Neil to the Fox News Channel where his hyper-patriotic rah-rah jingoism would fit right in alongside Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity?


During Friday's Nightly News story about the health care bill, an on-screen graphic explained that under the provisions of the bill, insurance companies would have to offer free "preventative" care to their insured policyholders. During a similar story the following night, a graphic informed us that they would have to offer free "preventive" care. So which is it--preventative or preventive? The Nightly News producers should be a little more attentive to details. Or perhaps that should be "attentative".

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Disrespecting The Whip

During Friday's story about the health care bill, Nightly News once again identified Rep. James Clyburn only as a Democrat from South Carolina, and not as the House Majority Whip. Meanwhile, moments later, Rep. John Boehner was identified on screen as the House Minority Leader. Why does Nightly News routinely identify white members of congress by their prestigious House leadership positions, but refuses to do the same for an African American congressman? Rep. Clyburn is the third most powerful person in the U.S. House. It's time Nightly News acknowledged that fact and stopped disrespecting Mr. Clyburn.

Also on Friday's broadcast, Ann Curry mispronounced John Boehner's name during a promo for Sunday's "Meet the Press". (She pronounced his last name as "Bonner" instead of as "Bayner".) Maybe Curry should start going to the meetings.

Brian Williams's Hazy Memory

Let it be entered into the official Nightly News record: On March 16, Brian Williams read a brief story about Tiger Woods's impending return to golf next month. The reason I mention it is because on Jan. 8 Brian appeared on The Jay Leno Show, and Jay asked Brian about the way in which Nightly News has been covering the Tiger Woods story. Brian's response was, "We have done the Tiger Woods story I think twice and the second time was just the business impact...." Let me refresh Brian's memory: As of Jan. 8, Nightly News had done no fewer than five Tiger Woods stories (and possibly more) beginning with his initial car crash on Nov. 27. Other Tiger Woods stories appeared on the 12/2, 12/11, 12/12 and 12/13 Nightly News broadcasts. Brian must have accidentally understated the number of Tiger Woods stories he'd reported. So in case Brian has any plans to appear on The Tonight Show in the near future, let me be the first to remind him not to forget his March 16 Tiger Woods story. After all, if Jay again asks Brian about how many Tiger Woods stories he's reported, I wouldn't want Brian to inadvertently give the wrong answer.

Zocor No--Walmart Yes!

Not surprisingly, Nightly News didn't mention the FDA warning that was issued on Friday for the cholesterol drug Zocor. According to the FDA, high doses of the drug can cause muscle injury and potentially even result in lethal kidney damage. Perhaps Nightly News didn't have enough time for the Zocor story, since they had to bring us the breaking news story about the nun who keeps a sharp eye on the Xavier University men's basketball team. But it's more likely that the Nightly News producers didn't run the Zocor story as a favor to their friends at Merck (Zocor's manufacturer). After all, Merck spends a lot of money advertising their products on NBC (Afrin, Chlor-Trimeton, Claritin, Correctol, Dr. Scholl's, Fosamax, Lotrimin, Singulair and others), so sweeping the Zocor story under the rug is the least NBC can do. It's always nice to do a favor for a friend. Maybe they'll run the Zocor story over the weekend, when fewer people are watching.

But at least Ann Curry found time on Friday to tell us all about Walmart and their new low prices. According to Curry: "Walmart today confirmed it's about to slash grocery prices heating up a food fight to attract customers. The world's largest retailer says it will begin the new discounts on April 1." This is an actual news story presented on a network evening newscast. (So was last Wednesday's 20 second "news story"--read by Brian Williams--about how Kraft Foods will be reducing the salt in their products by 10%. It's amazing what a few million dollars of advertising money will buy you on Nightly News.) So Nightly News viewers won't know about kidney damage from Zocor, but at least they'll know all about Walmart's new low prices. Keep up the good work, Nightly News producers!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spoiler Alert

Concerning Saturday's Nightly News story about WW II Marine Corps hero (and Medal of Honor recipient) John Basilone: Was it really necessary for Anne Thompson to tell us that Basilone died at Iwo Jima, several years after his heroic acts at Guadalcanal? Basilone was a real person of course, but he is also one of the main characters on the new HBO miniseries "The Pacific", which premiered the night after Thompson's story ran. Obviously the Nightly News producers knew that many of their viewers would also be watching "The Pacific", and Thompson promoted the show heavily in her story. In fact, it was only because of the HBO miniseries that the Nightly News producers got the idea to do the story on Basilone in the first place. So why did they have to tell us the circumstances of his death? That's like revealing which characters die in "Green Zone", "The Hurt Locker" or "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel". At least when Nightly News showed Olympic results before NBC aired the events, Brian had the courtesy to give us a spoiler alert so we could look away until the results were taken off the screen. Thanks a lot, Nightly News producers. Care to spoil the deaths of any other real-life characters featured in "The Pacific"? Maybe next week, Thompson can tell us that Rosebud was a sled.

But Thompson and her producers have a bigger problem. Everyone knows that Brian doesn't allow anyone other than himself to announce the deaths of Medal of Honor winners. So by announcing the death of Basilone (even if it occurred 65 years ago), Thompson stepped on Brian's toes big time. I think we can expect to see Anne Thompson reporting from Siberia real soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who Stole The News?

The final two-thirds of Thursday's Nightly News didn't actually contain any news at all. We saw a two-and-a-half-minute tribute to Merlin Olsen, followed by a two-minute-and-fifty-second story about Navy Seals. We then saw eighty seconds combined on the weather, the wealthiest counties in America, and where President Obama donated his Nobel Prize money. After that, it was 45 seconds on Brian Williams and his Afghan orphans. The broadcast concluded with a two-minute-and-twenty-five-second "Making A Difference" story about Los Angeles high school students who volunteer at homeless shelters. There was not a shred of news in any of those stories. But of course, the Merlin Olsen story contained more than thirty seconds of clips from "Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy" (both of which aired on NBC), as well as an interview with Melissa Gilbert. Obviously, the whole purpose of the story was to exploit Olsen's death in order to earn some money for NBC Universal by selling "Little House" and "Father Murphy" DVDs. The Navy Seals story (the second in two days) was another rah-rah flag-waving we-love-the-military tale from the red-white-and-blue patriots at Nightly News. The Afghan orphans story was just an excuse for Brian Williams to tell us how wonderful he is (again). And the "Making A Difference" story was about...well, I'm not really sure what that was supposed to be about. Meanwhile, it had been four days since hundreds of Christians were massacred by Muslims near Jos, Nigeria, but Nightly News didn't feel that was worth mentioning. But at least we know all about Merlin Olsen and the Navy Seals. Thank you, Nightly News producers for giving us all these wonderful stories! But in the future, it might be nice if you covered some actual news.

Higher Education Standards For Nightly News

It is appalling that last Wednesday, when the Nightly News lead story was about the decline of the American educational system and the need for uniform teaching standards among all the states, the broadcast contained no fewer than three glaring errors (one grammatical, one mathematical, one historical).

>The lead story on education began with several on-screen facts that were attributed to the "National Governors' (sic) Association". The organization is actually called the National Governors Association. If the Nightly News producers don't even understand the proper use of an apostrophe, is it any wonder that our children have such poor grammar skills? (During the same story, an interview with Dane Linn from the NGA correctly omitted the apostrophe. If the producers can get it right once, why can't they get it right twice?)

>In another story about how a number of states are facing budget deficits that will result in cuts to education, John Yang said, "...Illinois is among the ten most financially stressed states in the country...." As he said this, a map of the U.S. appeared on the screen, with eleven states highlighted in red (CA, OR, NV, AZ, WI, IL, MI, FL, NJ, DE, RI). If Yang and his producers can't even manage to accurately count ten states, is it any wonder that our children lag far behind the children of other countries with regard to math skills?

>At the conclusion of a story about the Women Airforce Service Pilots who flew in World War II, Brian Williams said that it was "fifty-five years now after World War II." In fact, the war ended 65 years ago. If a network news anchor doesn't even know how many years it's been since the end of World War II, is it any surprise that our children have such a poor knowledge of history?

While it is certainly true that we need higher educational standards for our children, it also seems that we need higher educational standards for the Nightly News anchors, reporters and producers.

Mr. Arrogant Goes To Washington

From Brian Williams's March 10 Daily Nightly Blog: "Another week, another Amtrak ride to Washington. I'm here tonight because of a gathering at the Kennedy Center to honor Andeisha Farid, the woman we introduced you to during our last trip to Afghanistan....Just because of what they saw on television, our viewers donated enough money to help enable Andisha to open up three more orphanages and serve even more children—most of whom have lost one or both parents to warfare. I want everyone who reacted in that way to feel good—I'm here as your representative to thank Andisha for her good works and loving heart."

First of all, Brian, do not EVER claim to represent me in any context for any reason. That is incredibly offensive. Nothing you do or say is ever representative of how I feel or what I think. It is absolutely the height of arrogance to claim to represent your viewers. Second, if you want to honor Ms. Farid, how about spelling her name correctly? You spell it as both "Andeisha" and "Andisha". That's not very respectful. Third, why didn't you give a shout-out to all the "sharp-eyed viewers" who noticed that you were in Washington on Wednesday? Don't you like us anymore?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kate Smith Sings Nightly News

Question: What's the difference between a Roger O'Neil Nightly News story and a promotional ad for the U.S. military? Answer: There is no difference. O'Neil's stories are two-and-a-half minute flag-waving, eagle-soaring, hyper-patriotic misty-eyed tributes to our "brave men and women in uniform". His references to "fallen heroes", "warriors" and "loved ones in uniform" are so over the top that I expect his words to be sung by Kate Smith. O'Neil's goal is not to present a balanced news story, but rather to offer a paean to those in the armed forces. His stories should be accompanied by a banner with the 1-800-USA-ARMY (or NAVY or MARINES or USAF) phone number on the bottom of the screen, since they are practically sponsored by the U.S. military. O'Neil's latest bit of self-indulgence, about an army wife who blogs about her experiences and feelings, was no exception. (His story even aired on March 4, a date that sounds like a military order.) This is not reporting. It's adulation and hero worship. O'Neil should gather up his flags, eagles, liberty torches and fireworks and take them over to FOX News where his shtick belongs.

Thank You, Nightly News Producers

I would like to thank the Nightly News producers for Monday's story about the Chicago students who are being taught how to play musical instruments. Meanwhile, that night's broadcast did not include a single story from Europe, Africa, South America or Eastern Asia. On Sunday, hundreds of Christian villagers near Jos, Nigeria were massacred by machete-wielding Muslims. On Monday, dozens died when a 6.0 earthquake hit eastern Turkey. And Toyota spokespersons accused a Southern Illinois University professor of manipulating circuitry in Toyotas in order to show an electronic cause for sudden acceleration. Nightly News did not report any of these stories. But they did spend six and a half minutes on stories about the Oscars, letters written to Jackie Kennedy and the Chicago students who are learning music. Well done, Nightly News producers. Keep up the good work.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

You Must Be Kidding Me (Parts 1 & 2)

You must be kidding me #1: In stories about the high unemployment rate, Nightly News is still showing the same old footage they've been showing for years of people waiting in line outside the Work One job placement center. I don't want to say that this footage is old, but the people in line aren't looking for jobs anymore because they're now old enough to collect social security.

You must be kidding me #2: On Friday, Nightly News devoted two minutes and twenty seconds to a "news story" about a nurse's aide who works in the maternity care area of Chicago's Mt. Sinai Hospital. The Nightly News producers have 22 minutes to bring us the most important news from across the country and around the world, and this is what they choose to report on? Maybe they should have attached a "breaking news" banner to this story.

160 Minutes

During the 17 days of the Vancouver Olympics, Nightly News devoted 129.5 minutes of news time to Olympic-related stories (that total would have been higher if NBC had not pre-empted Nightly News for the gold medal hockey game on the final Sunday of the Games). In the weeks before and the days after the Olympics, Nightly News devoted an additional 30.75 minutes to Olympic stories. That's a total of 160 minutes of valuable news time given over to Olympic coverage. Two hours and forty minutes. That's the equivalent of more than five entire half-hour Nightly News broadcasts. But because a Nightly News broadcast is actually only 22 minutes long (after the commercials are factored out), 160 minutes is really equal to more than seven full broadcasts. When is Brian Williams going to compensate the viewers for the 160 minutes of news he deprived us of? When is he going to bring us the news we never got to see because Nightly News was too busy acting as a promotional arm of NBC Sports? The answer, of course, is never. We will never get to see those news stories. They are gone forever because Nightly News was too busy "reporting" on Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller and Shaun White and Apolo Ohno. Sadly, the one Olympic-related story that Nightly News refused to report was the one about Vancouver's drug-infested Downtown Eastside slum (a New York Times article about this area can be viewed at Nightly News would not report on the slums of Vancouver because it didn't fit in with the image of the Olympics that Brian Williams wanted us to see. Shame on Brian and his producers for sweeping Vancouver's slums under the rug. And shame on them for depriving Nightly News viewers of 160 minutes of news.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

NBC News Reports Luger Killed By Killer Whale In Chile

Let me make sure I understand this. When a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, Nightly News practically evacuated 30 Rock and sent everyone down to Port-au-Prince (I'm still waiting for an explanation about why it was necessary to send Al Roker down there). But when an 8.8 earthquake hit Chile, they sent only Mark Potter and Ann Curry. Two reporters. Heck, they sent a news team to the Republic of Georgia to cover the funeral of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, but they sent only two reporters to cover the earthquake in Chile? And Ann Curry isn't even a news reporter. She's a celebrity/entertainment/lifestyles reporter for The Today Show coffee klatch. (Her style of reporting can be summed up as "I'm going to do everything I can to make the viewers cry.") It's obvious what's happening here. The earthquake hit Chile during the Olympics, and NBC News was not about to deplete their Olympic coverage even with only one day of competition remaining. I can guarantee that if the Haiti earthquake had hit during the Olympics, NBC News would have barely covered it. NBC didn't even air Nightly News on Sunday (on the east coast, at least) because of the hockey game. Apparently, Olympic hockey is more important than an 8.8 earthquake that has killed 800 people so far. Maybe if some Chilean lugers had died in the earthquake (or if the tsunami had caused killer whales to come out of the ocean and attack people), the Nightly News producers would have sent more reporters down there. Nightly News--covering the world. When it's convenient and profitable, that is.

I wonder if Ann Curry will complain about her accommodations in Chile like she did in Haiti. On her Jan. 14 Daily Nightly blog, Curry wrote, "All hotels are down, so we are sleeping on the tarmac...In all cases, the ground is hard, so we are using blankets, pieces of foam, some of us even suitcases to sleep on top of. We are worried about rats, which are numerous. There are lots of mosquitoes. Hard to sleep because the planes are so loud, especially the c130s. We have to negotiate for bathrooms in nearby buildings, and are currently without one. We brought in water, but are running out of food, which now consists of MREs. We hope for more supplies tomorrow...There are no whiners amongst us." So after whining about the conditions, Curry says there are no whiners. Maybe she should have asked the Haitian people for some help.

Brian Williams: Misinformation

If Brian Williams is going to take time during his Nightly News broadcast to brag about NBC's Olympics ratings success (as he has done several times over the past two weeks), then he is also obligated to inform his viewers that NBC is expected to lose more than $200 million on the 2010 Winter Games. Otherwise, Brian is a cheerleader, not a reporter.

And on Monday's Nightly News, Brian claimed that the U.S.-Canada gold medal hockey game was "one of the most-watched sporting events in television history..." Not even close. The hockey final attracted 27.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen. In football alone, 41 of the 44 Super Bowls had more than 40 million viewers. So the U.S.-Canada hockey final would probably not even crack the list of the top 100 most-watched sporting events in U.S. history. Where does Brian get his information? Doesn't Nightly News have fact checkers? Making stuff up really isn't a good idea for a network news anchor.

NBC Nightly News--Cancelled!

On Tuesday, the Nightly News lead story about the U.S. Post Office was given the on-screen title "Canceled" (apparently Brian Williams and his producers thought this story was more important than the earthquake in Chile). Last Friday, a Nightly News story about the snowstorm that hit the Northeast informed us (in an on-screen graphic) that 1,000 airline flights had been "cancelled". So which is it--"canceled" or "cancelled"? Pick one spelling and go with it. Is anyone at Nightly News paying attention? Does anyone there even care?