Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gabby Giffords Loves NBC!

I have a great idea for Comcast, NBC's new owner. They should start a nightly 30-minute news broadcast on NBC that would cover all the important news events going on across the country and around the world. It could air right before (or after) "NBC Nightly News", which is mostly devoted to covering lifestyle, sports, entertainment, animals, weather and emotional tear-jerker stories that have no news value. This new program could be called "NBC Evening News" or "NBC World News" or something like that and it could be anchored by someone with a serious commitment to presenting an actual news broadcast. Perhaps Lester Holt, Andrea Mitchell, Pete Williams or Carl Quintanilla would be a good fit for the job. That would free Brian Williams to devote 100% of his Nightly News broadcast to reporting on Medal of Honor winners, Bruce Springsteen, NASCAR, Mary Thornberry or any other topic that is of interest to him. It would also allow him to spend as much time as he wants plugging other NBC shows or programs on MSNBC and CNBC. (On Wednesday, Brian scored a rare daily double by combining a tear-jerker story with a shameless plug when he told us that Gabby Giffords likes to watch "30 Rock" in her hospital room. Wow. Using Giffords's medical situation to plug "30 Rock" surely represents a new low in so-called broadcast journalism.) It's really a shame to force Brian to cover stories like the revolt in Egypt, the economy or the goings-on in Congress when it's obvious that he would much rather be reporting on Will & Kate or the Westminster Dog Show.

Speaking of which, on Tuesday, Nightly News spent two-and-a-half minutes reporting on the dog show. Immediately after that story, Brian read a promo telling us that we can watch the dog show on the USA Network (which is owned by NBC Universal). Meanwhile, in the business section of Thursday's New York Times, Stephen Burke, NBC Universal's new chief executive, was quoted as saying that USA and Bravo are, "...fantastic businesses and those businesses can do even better than they are doing right now if they get the right investment and the right cross promotion." It's obvious what that means. Comcast plans to use Nightly News to aggressively promote NBC Universal shows. So in the future, Nightly News is going to be spending even more time than usual plugging USA, Bravo and other NBC Universal networks.

On Wednesday, Brian once again introduced Richard Engel as NBC's "Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent", despite the fact that Engel is actually NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent. (Andrea Mitchell is the network's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent.) Meanwhile, in two stories this week about the assault on CBS's Lara Logan in Cairo, Brian correctly identified her as CBS's Chief Foreign Correspondent. So how come Brian knows who CBS's Chief Foreign Correspondent is, but he can't seem to remember that Engel holds that position at NBC?

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