Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Brian Williams Celebriduck

On Thursday, Campbell's announced that they were recalling 15 million pounds of Spaghettios because the meatballs may be undercooked. This presents a significant danger to children, who are most likely to eat this product. But this story was not reported on Nightly News either Thursday or Friday. The reason is obvious. Campbell's is a regular NBC advertiser, and they advertise on Nightly News almost every night. It's clear that the Nightly News producers refused to run this story because they didn't want to offend one of their best sponsors. Campbell's ran an ad on Friday's Nightly News, which means they must have been informed in advance that the Spaghettios recall story would not be airing (it will not air this weekend either, since Nightly News is being pre-empted for golf on Saturday and Sunday). It's nice to see such great communication between the Nightly News producers and their friends at Campbell's. Just another example of Nightly News protecting one of their sponsors.

While Nightly News did not report the Spaghettios recall, they did find time on Friday's broadcast to air a "news story" about the 30th anniversary of the "Blues Brothers" movie. This is not surprising. "The Blues Brothers" was released by Universal Studios, a sister company of NBC (they share the same parent company). Every time "The Blues Brothers" airs on TV and every time a "Blues Brothers" DVD is sold, NBC Universal gets paid. The Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando both currently feature Blues Brothers live shows. The online NBC Universal store features a number of Blues Brothers items, including T-shirts, DVDs (of the original movie, of "Blues Brothers 2000" and of Saturday Night Live shows featuring the Blues Brothers) and an Elwood Blues celebriduck. It's obvious that Nightly News ran this story simply as a way to promote their Blues Brothers properties. It was a 30-second commercial for their merchandise. Millions of children are in danger of eating undercooked Spaghettios meatballs, but Nightly News wouldn't report that story. But the Blues Brothers are considered newsworthy. Well, at least we know where to buy an Elwood Blues celebriduck. Great work, Nightly News producers. So where can we buy a Brian Williams celebriduck?

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