Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nightly News: Completely InAPPropriate

Of all the low down, sleazy, unethical things Nightly News has done (such as using their "news reports" to promote NBC shows; inserting product placements and sponsor plugs into news stories; acting as the propaganda machine for the U.S. military; continually pandering to the viewers), this has to be the worst. On Monday's "news story" about Will & Kate's upcoming wedding (the 643rd Will & Kate story Nightly News has aired so far), they actually put up a banner ad for an NBC News Will & Kate iPad app across the bottom of the screen! So they're using the Royal Wedding as bait to try to lure viewers to NBC-owned networks. This is completely inappropriate. News should be presented for its own sake--because it's important--not as a way to entice people to watch other NBC Universal networks. And now we find out that Brian Williams will be anchoring Nightly News from London starting on April 27--two days before the wedding! Obviously, NBC is using the wedding as a way to attract viewers so they can increase their ratings and, ultimately, earn more money. Money, money, money. That's all that matters to NBC. And they don't mind exploiting Will & Kate to get it. Here's a great idea: Why doesn't Brian just stay in London after the wedding? After all, the 2012 Olympics begin in only 15 months. So that way, Brian could exploit the Royal Wedding for another six months and then immediately begin exploiting the Olympics.

Meanwhile, it's business as usual at Nightly News. On Friday's broadcast, a "Meet the Press" promo identified David Plouffe as a Senior Presidential "Advisor". On Saturday's broadcast, a MTP promo identified Plouffe as a White House Senior "Adviser". And on Sunday's broadcast, a MTP clip featured a graphic that once again identified Plouffe as a White House Senior "Advisor". In New England, they're fond of saying that if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change. At Nightly News, if you don't like the spelling of "advisor", just wait a minute and it will change.

Saturday's Nightly News featured a story they called "Puppy Patrol". Ostensibly, this story was about puppies that are trained to be bomb-sniffing dogs for the TSA. But in reality, this was just another excuse for Nightly News to show cute puppies because their research has shown that that's what the viewers want to see. So this story was just a way to pander to the viewers in the hope of getting good ratings. This "Puppy Patrol" segment was identical to the Animal Planet Puppy Bowls, which air every year on Super Bowl Sunday. Why doesn't Nightly News drop the pretenses and just show 22 minutes each night of puppies running around? That would certainly bring in higher ratings. And in case the Nightly News producers are concerned that showing nothing but puppies would mean that viewers won't be getting enough news, there's no need to worry. "The Daily Show", SNL's "Weekend Update" and David Letterman's monologue already provide more news than Nightly News, so viewers can just watch those shows to keep informed.

On Sunday's broadcast, Lester Holt spent 40 seconds talking with the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee about Tiger Woods's fourth place finish at the Masters. Here's how Lester introduced the segment: "A big afternoon at the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia as Tiger Woods came on strong." Incredibly, not once did either Lester or Chamblee mention the small fact that Charl Schwartzel had already won the tournament! It's obvious what's going on here. The name Charl Schwartzel doesn't mean anything in terms of ratings. So Lester and Chamblee spent the entire segment talking about Tiger Woods because his name means something to the viewers. And of course, Lester never mentioned that the Sunday coverage on CBS was the second highest-rated final round of Masters coverage in the past ten years. If the tournament had aired on NBC, Lester and Brian would have been raving about the ratings. This was really just an excuse for Nightly News to talk about Tiger Woods and to promote the Golf Channel--which is owned by Comcast. Charl who?

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