Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NBC Nightly News Show Notes--Dec. 18-Dec. 20

Here's what you missed if you didn't see Nightly News this weekend:

Saturday--During a story about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", a Nightly News graphic misspelled Sen. Lindsey Graham's first name as "Lindsay". Funny thing--Nightly News never misspells Lindsay Lohan's first name.
* Footage of Barack Obama from the 2008 presidential campaign was accompanied by a Bruce Springsteen song. Springsteen is shoehorned into several Nightly News stories each week because Brian Williams idolizes him. Credibility? Who cares about that?
* A story about Amelia Earhart included 20 seconds of footage from last year's "Amelia" movie (starring Hilary Swank). Although there is no shortage of film of the actual Amelia Earhart, the producers included the movie footage because Nightly News is trying to be more of an entertainment show than a news show.
* In yet another story about Prince William and Kate Middleton, Lester Holt described in detail what Kate was wearing on a night out--her dress ("a black and white dress with a fancy neckline"), jacket, shoes ("black pumps")--even her clutch. They should have attached a "breaking news" tag to that story. Meanwhile, Lester said nothing about what William was wearing. That is extremely sexist.

Monday--Brian spent all of 20 seconds reporting on the latest terrorist plot in Great Britain. That's the same amount of time he spent reporting on Tracy Morgan's kidney transplant. Of course, reporting on Tracy Morgan allowed Brian to plug SNL and "30 Rock" (twice). Brian then spent 50 seconds on the Vikings-Bears game to be played Monday night. Brian frequently reports on football stories, because any football story helps to promote NBC's Sunday Night Football coverage.
* Yet again Robert Bazell helped to promote a Bayer product. On Dec. 6, Bazell did a story about the health benefits of aspirin. But the only name brand aspirin Bazell included in the story was Bayer. On June 8, he did a story about how Aleve (a Bayer product) can reduce the risk of heart attacks. And tonight, he did a story debunking the herbal supplement Echinacea as a cure for the common cold. Six minutes after that story, we saw a commercial for Alka-Seltzer Plus cold medicine--manufactured by Bayer. Clearly, the point of Bazell's story was to discourage people from using Echinacea so they would buy Alka-Seltzer Plus. Of course, Bayer isn't the only product Bazell promotes in his "news stories". In the past, he has done stories favorable to Cheerios and Avodart (from GlaxoSmithKline)--heavy Nightly News sponsors. And Bazell is equally happy to discredit a drug to benefit a Nightly News sponsor (as he did with Echinacea). On Sept. 15, he trashed the diet drug Meridia in a "Lifeline" story sponsored by Toviaz (a Pfizer product). The purpose of this story was to benefit Pfizer at the expense of Meridia. And by the way, it was completely unethical of Nightly News to allow Pfizer to sponsor a story about the pharmaceutical industry--an industry in which they are a major player. But that's just business as usual at Nightly News.

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