During last Tuesday's Nightly News story about a Congressional inquiry into the Gulf oil spill, an on-screen graphic identified Rep. Henry Waxman as "Harry" Waxman. Waxman has been in office since 1975 and is one of Congress's most visible and influential members. But the Nightly News producers couldn't be bothered to spell his name right. Incredibly, on the 11/20/08 broadcast, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was identified as "Henry" Reid. What is it with the Nightly News producers' inability to differentiate between Henry and Harry?
Also on Tuesday, a Nightly News graphic identified Grand Isle, Louisiana Mayor David Camardelle as David "Carmardelle". This is appalling and disrespectful. Brian Williams is always bragging about his broadcast's outstanding coverage of the Gulf oil spill ("Every piece, every night, has been exemplary," he boasted on his June 9 Daily Nightly blog), but his producers can't even get the names right! On June 10, a Nightly News graphic spelled Plaquemines Parish as "Placquemines". It's hard to believe that Nightly News could win two Edward R. Murrow awards with their sloppy and inaccurate journalism. I attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York, and I am embarrassed that Mr. Murrow's name is in any way associated with Nightly News. If Edward R. Murrow were alive today, he would certainly disavow his affiliation with Brian Williams and Nightly News. I think Mr. Murrow would say that a newscast that can't get the small stuff right cannot be trusted to get the big stuff right.