* Can someone please buy Brian Williams an atlas? This is what he said during Friday's broadcast: "Overseas tonight, a deadly first in Mexico's bloody drug war--a car bomb." Someone needs to inform Brian that Mexico is not overseas. It actually borders four U.S. states.
* Brian spent a combined 30 seconds Friday reporting on the Mexico car bomb (which killed four people) and a double suicide bombing outside a Mosque in Iran that killed 27 and wounded over 300. Meanwhile, he spent 40 seconds on a story about the Obama family's trip to Maine's Acadia National Park ("One of the most beautiful spots on the American east coast," Brian said in his most pandering voice). Most of this story's video centered on Sasha and Malia and ended with the breaking news story that next month, "Eldest daughter Malia goes to summer camp for the first time...." Someone needs to inform Brian that "eldest" is used when there are three or more parties involved. Malia is the elder of the two Obama girls, not the eldest. By the way, does anyone else remember Brian's solemn pledge (made on Jan. 5, 2009) not to do any stories on the Obama children unless there is a compelling reason to do so? I guess it's not surprising that Brian broke his promise again. Last Aug. 17, Nightly News did a story about...Sasha and Malia's totally excellent summer vacation. So much for Brian's word meaning anything.
* On Friday, Nightly News did their fifth story in three weeks about problems with the new Apple iPhone. Since NBC is partnered with Microsoft in MSNBC, slamming Apple (a Microsoft competitor) is just doing a favor for one of NBC's corporate partners.
* In his Friday story about the high number of suicides by current and former soldiers, Jim Miklaszewski did not ask the most important and obvious question. Are all these suicides due solely to military-related stress, or are some of them attributable to the fact that the army may attract people who already have suicidal feelings? If someone wanted to end their life, it seems that the army would be a pretty good place to accomplish that. A person could be killed by the enemy (and die a hero) or perhaps even be killed by friendly fire. Otherwise, the 24/7 access to firearms would provide ample chances for a person to take his or her own life. By the way, Ron Mott reported the exact same story on the 2/6/09 Nightly News (and also failed to raise the possibility that the army may attract people who are already suicidal). I know that summer is the time for reruns, but I don't expect to see them on Nightly News.
* On Thursday's story about the new financial regulatory reform bill, Brian informed us that, "The new law will usher in a new consumer protection agency...." But the on-screen graphic read "New Customer Protection Agency". Consumer, customer. Whatever. On Wednesday, Brian brought us the important story about how the TSA is placing ads on pizza boxes in the hope of attracting new employees. Brian read from the pizza box: "Be part of a dynamic security team protecting airports and skies as you proudly secure the future." A close-up of the box revealed that the sentence actually ended with "proudly secure your future".
* Friday's Nightly News included a two-and-a-half minute "Making A Difference" segment about a woman who donates hay to families who can't afford to feed their horses. Meanwhile, that night's broadcast did not report a single story from Asia, Europe or Africa. But at least we know all about the woman who brings hay for horses. Great work, Nightly News producers.
* From the July 7 tvnewser.com website story about evening news ratings for the week of June 28: "Note: On Thursday and Friday, 'NBC Nightly News' was coded as 'Nitely News' in the Nielsen ratings (similar to last summer) and the newscast was therefore excluded from the average over those two lower-rated days heading into the holiday weekend while Brian Williams was out." Unbelievable. When Brian Williams is not anchoring, the Nightly News producers intentionally misspell the broadcast's name when submitting it to Nielsen so the lower-rated shows won't detract from the ratings of the higher-rated shows. I think the word for that practice is "sleazy". Or maybe "manipulative". Heck, why not both?
* A July 12 Media Decoder article by Brian Stelter in the business section of The New York Times (titled "Oil Spill Makes Celebrities out of Reporters") discussed how some television and radio reporters covering the Gulf oil spill have seen their profiles rise as they continue to cover that story. "Every long-running news story mints new television stars, even if it is sometimes awkward to acknowledge that personal success can be born of a tragic event. Perhaps it’s a show business twist on not letting a crisis 'go to waste,'" Stelter writes. He mentions Amber Lyon and Philippe Cousteau of CNN as providing "memorable" coverage. "Some other correspondents are also well on their way to becoming household names because of their time — now measured in months — spent along the gulf. Matt Gutman, a radio reporter for ABC News, is suddenly a high-profile reporter on television too, having filed nearly two dozen reports for ABC’s flagship 'World News' since mid-May, according to The Tyndall Report, which tracks the content of evening newscasts...Lizzie O’Leary of Bloomberg Television, Mark Strassmann and Kelly Cobiella of CBS, and Steve Harrigan and Kris Gutierrez of Fox News are also among the stand-outs in the spill coverage, according to network executives. Mr. Strassmann, for instance, has filed about 38 reports for the 'CBS Evening News' since the spill started, according to The Tyndall Report, almost as many as he filed in the previous 12 months combined." The only mention NBC received in the article was their hiring of Animal Planet celebrity Jeff Corwin "to beef up its environmental coverage of the oil spill. His title is 'wildlife and science expert.'" In other words, according to Mr. Stelter, no NBC correspondent has distinguished himself or herself while covering the Gulf oil spill. That sounds about right.