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?