Tuesday, July 6, 2010


From Brian Williams's July 5 Daily Nightly blog, titled "The Only Living Boy In New York": "I guess I didn't think it through. I saw that July 4th fell on a Sunday this year, and figured Monday would be a standard workday. I tore myself away from my beloved Jersey Shore...and came into work today, only to find: it was as if someone made an announcement that the last person left in New York City would have cooties. You can roll a bowling ball down 6th Avenue outside our building and watch it fall off the other end of the island into the Hudson River. There's no one here...So I'll say this: we have a broadcast full of news, we've been working on it all day, and we're anxious to share it with you."

Brian must think we're pretty stupid. Like we really believe his "Golly gee, I forgot this was a holiday weekend so I came into work" crap. Brian worked July 5 for one reason and one reason only: July is a Nielsen ratings sweeps period. The ratings for this month are used to set ad rates for the coming quarter. The higher the ratings, the higher the ad rates. Brian knew that both Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer would not be working on July 5, so he chose to anchor Nightly News that day in order to gain a ratings advantage that would ultimately result in higher ad rates for NBC. End of story.

And it's supremely ironic that Brian would title his blog "The Only Living Boy In New York". That title comes from a Simon & Garfunkel song that contains the lines "I get the news I need on the weather report/I can gather all the news I need on the weather report." Obviously, Paul Simon's lyrics mean that there is nothing worth watching on the news (and this was back in 1970). That is certainly true of Nightly News--despite Brian's boast that "we have a broadcast full of news". A two-and-a-half minute story about someone who brought Wi-Fi to a South Carolina town is what Brian thinks of as news? Or maybe he was referring to the two-and-a-half minutes Nightly News spent on the east coast heat wave. There's some breaking news--the east coast is hot in the summer. Or maybe he was referring to Saturday's story about Chelsea Clinton's upcoming wedding. There's some hard news for the viewers. I'm sure Nightly News will be all over that story. And Queen Elizabeth in 3-D glasses--that's journalism at its finest. Someone alert the Peabody committee.

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