On Friday, CBS Evening News ran a story about a new Consumer Reports reader survey of fast-food burgers. Twenty-eight thousand Consumer Reports readers rated the best and worst burgers. Some of the best burgers were from Fuddruckers, In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys Burgers & Fries. The worst burgers? McDonald's. They came in dead last. I can guarantee that we will never, never, EVER see this story on NBC Nightly News. They would never report a story that gives bad publicity to McDonald's--a major NBC advertiser. Of course, if the survey found that McDonald's burgers were the best, Nightly News would report it as top-of-the-broadcast breaking news. That's because Brian Williams and his Nightly News producers are hypocrites. They have a documented history of airing favorable "news stories" about their sponsors, while ignoring or downplaying news that casts their sponsors in a negative light. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brian chomping on a Big Mac in some future Nightly News broadcast. I mean, if they can air a two-minute-and-fifteen second "news story" about the launch of McDonald's "delicious" new gourmet coffees (as they did on 5/5/09), they can certainly show Brian chowing down on a McDonald's burger. Hey Brian, do you want fries with that?
Meanwhile, on his Aug. 31 Daily Nightly blog, Brian thanked JetBlue for getting him back from New Orleans. This week, Nightly News began airing a commercial for GE Capital that features...JetBlue. It features JetBlue planes. It features JetBlue CEO Dave Barger. It features a joint GE Capital/JetBlue website. The entire commercial is devoted to JetBlue. Are we supposed to believe that Brian's shout-out to JetBlue is somehow unrelated to the ads? Clearly, Brian plugged JetBlue as a thank-you for their partnership with NBC's parent company GE. Once again, Brian is using his blog to reward a sponsor. How corrupt and inappropriate is that? The only thing worse is when Brian uses his Nightly News broadcast to reward a sponsor (which he often does).