Here's what happened on Nightly News this week:
Tuesday--According to a newly released study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, heartburn drugs classified as proton pump inhibitors can increase the risk of pneumonia by 25%. But Nightly News did not report this story because they wanted to protect the PPIs (such as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid) that advertise on the broadcast.
* In a story about the results of the 2010 census, a list of states that will gain or lose seats in the House of Representatives is scrolled alphabetically down the screen. For some reason, Texas comes after Utah and Washington.
* During a story about student debt (excerpted from a CNBC special), Scott Cohn tells us that the University of Phoenix is "the largest university in the country" with "$3.8 billion in revenue in 2009". As he says this, this figure appears on screen: $3,775,491.90. That's not $3.8 billion, that's $3.8 million. Can someone please tell Cohn and his producers the difference between billions and millions. Naturally, the story was followed by a promo spot for the CNBC special airing later that night.
* In his obituary for Steve Landesberg, Brian Williams tells us that Landesberg "...made his comedy debut on NBC's 'Tonight Show'." But when Brian mentioned "Barney Miller", the show that Landesberg was most closely associated with, he refused to say that the show had aired on ABC. This is not an accidental omission or an oversight. Brian will not mention CBS or ABC because he thinks that mentioning those networks will take viewers away from NBC shows (especially his own broadcast). Remember Brian's interview with Sally Field on May 15? He listed all her best known television work--"Gidget", "The Flying Nun", "Sybil"--but he refused to mention her current starring role on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters", despite the fact that she won an Emmy Award for that role in 2007. This is beyond absurd. It is without a doubt the pettiest display imaginable from a supposedly professional network news anchor.
Wednesday--In his obituary for Fred Foy (announcer for "The Lone Ranger"), Brian refuses to mention that Foy worked as an announcer for ABC radio and television for 25 years, more than twice as long as he spent announcing "The Lone Ranger". Again, Brian will not mention ABC.
All this week, Nightly News has ignored the disputed election in Ivory Coast. However, they managed to find time to air reports about Christmas shopping, babies using sign language, a Florida school with no rules, a 70-year-old woman who robbed a bank in Minnesota, the UConn women's basketball team, a new coin commemorating the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and five "Making A Difference" stories that contained no news value whatsoever. But they couldn't find thirty seconds to talk about what's going on in Ivory Coast. Of course, it's not surprising that Nightly News has ignored this story. Nightly News only covers Africa when George Clooney goes there.