Saturday, July 10, 2010


From Brian Williams's July 8 Daily Nightly blog: "Also tough to watch, and a dramatic change of subject: A piece we are doing tonight on the stoning of women in Iran. We are airing it (with a parental warning) because it’s important for people to see, and that's a big part of what we do."

1) Brian placed a parental warning on that story because his research department informed him that more people tune in to broadcasts or segments when they carry parental warnings. Apparently, viewers think they will be seeing something taboo. It's a ratings ploy, nothing more.

2) Important? That's a big part of what Brian does? Really? What he does, first and foremost, is report stories that promote himself, his broadcast, his sponsors and other NBC shows. Was it "important" for Nightly News to air stories about skateboarding bulldogs, pink dolphins, how thoroughly United Airlines cleans their planes, Susan Boyle (seventeen minutes total), McDonald's new gourmet coffees, students who like to hug each other, the difficulty of dancing in high heels, a Serbian girl who met the members of U2, a woman who cooks overnight in a Chicago hospital, the Kennedy Center honoring Bruce Springsteen (two separate stories), the dancing wedding video, the 50th anniversary of Chicago's Second City Comedy Theatre, the new Heinz ketchup packets (and a separate story about Heinz reducing the sodium in their ketchup), how Walmart is "slashing prices", Betty White hosting SNL (two separate stories), Hoda and Kathie Lee appearing on camera without makeup, a 90-second interview with Sally Field about her Boniva commercial, the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, the finale of "Law & Order" (four different stories), the Muppets, how Aleve (a Nightly News sponsor) reduces the risk of heart attacks, whether Chevrolet should be called Chevy, free Wi-Fi in Starbucks and McDonald's, the 30th anniversary of "The Blues Brothers" (an NBC Universal property), pianos on the streets of New York, a high school drill team, Chelsea Clinton's upcoming wedding, Lindsay Lohan's trial, LeBron James or Paul the octopus who predicts World Cup winners? These stories are important? Was it important for Nightly News to devote 160 minutes to coverage of the Vancouver Olympics? Perhaps Brian and I have different definitions of "important". And these stories represent just a fraction of Nightly News's frivolous reporting.

The same night Brian reported on the stoning of Iranian women, he also reported on the Emmy nominations. He made sure to tell us that with its 12 nominations this year, SNL has now received the most nominations ever (126). But Brian "neglected" to mention that Jay Leno did not receive a nomination and that The Tonight Show is down 850,000 viewers since 2008 (as reported in Thursday's New York Times). That's because when it comes to stories about NBC, Brian is a cheerleader, not a reporter. Whenever he "reports" a story about NBC, he should pick up a pair of pom-poms and begin by saying, "Rah Rah Ree, I'm From NBC/Rah Rah Rink, The Other Networks Stink".

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