At least three times this week, Brian Williams bragged about how Nightly News has reported from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast 26 times since Hurricane Katrina hit. He first wrote it last Monday on his Daily Nightly blog, he then said it during his ridiculous Olbermann-esque "special comment" that closed Monday's Nightly News broadcast, and he said it again on David Letterman's show Thursday night. 1714 days have elapsed since Katrina hit the Gulf. So the 26 days that Nightly News was in the region represents a mere 1.5% of that elapsed time. If that was a batting average, it would be .015. Not exactly Ted Williams territory. If Brian wants to brag about something, he should pick something he does more frequently than five times a year. Like reporting about Bruce Springsteen.
Meanwhile, it's no surprise that Brian was in the Gulf region on Monday (he had intended to stay there all week, but the attempted car bombing in Times Square brought him back to New York--as Brian explained on his Tuesday Daily Nightly blog). Monday marked the beginning of the first full week of the current Nielsen sweeps period, which is when networks establish their ad rates for the coming quarter. Networks always try to air their most attractive programming during sweeps periods in order to earn the highest ratings and therefore set the highest ad rates. Season (or series) finales almost always end during sweeps--this month "Lost" and "24" will both end their runs during a sweeps period. Not surprisingly, the recent Vancouver Olympics (on NBC) took place entirely during a sweeps period. So it's obvious that Brian was in the Gulf this week as a sweeps stunt, just like he was in Iraq last October for the October-November sweeps period. I wonder what Brian has planned for the rest of this sweeps period. Perhaps we'll see him dancing with Kate Gosselin or singing with Susan Boyle.