Is Brian Williams kidding me? (Part 1): For the lead story on Wednesday's Nightly News, Brian Williams reported that the school year in Joplin started on time. Really. The lead story. Three-minutes-and-twenty seconds. On a network newscast. Apparently, Brian felt that this was much more important than hearing the President talk about jobs or the thwarted Columbine-like attack that was planned in Tampa, Florida. The school year in Joplin started on time. That's the whole story. It could have been done in 15 seconds. And here's how Brian introduced the Joplin story: "Tonight a great story of triumph of the American spirit and the will to rebuild." Where on earth does Brian get this crap? From "The Big Book of Ridiculously Overused Anchor Cliches"? But without a doubt, my favorite part of the story was the old footage Brian used from his report from Joplin three months ago. I guess Brian feels like he doesn't get enough face time on Nightly News so he insists on using old footage of himself every chance he gets. I have honestly never seen anyone with such a laughably massive ego as Brian Williams.
Is Brian Williams kidding me? (Part 2): On Wednesday, we were treated to the third story about Rachel Beckwith's charity which brings fresh water to areas that don't have access to it. Seriously? She was the subject of a "Making A Difference" story on July 29 (and a follow-up story on Aug. 12). And now less than three weeks later, she's the subject of another MAD story (reported, of course, by Lee Cowan)? Clean water for people who need it. Great idea. I think we got it the first time. Naturally, the story ended with Brian begging us to donate to her charity. When is he going to realize that a news broadcast is supposed to report the news, not solicit money from the viewers? That is completely unethical. And did Nightly News really honor Rachel's memory by crassly allowing the story to be sponsored by Tums? Was Rachel also dedicated to bringing antacids to areas that suffer from heartburn? That was absolutely shameful.
And by the way, has Lee Cowan ever once reported a story that has the tiniest shred of news value? On Tuesday, Cowan reported on a San Diego police officer who bought cookies for a kid moments before the officer was gunned down. Does that story really deserve two-and-a-half minutes? Lee Cowan is the new Roger O'Neil. Previously, whenever Nightly News needed a sappy tear-jerker story without any news value, but with plenty of ridiculous cliches and a narration that sounds as if it was lifted from a bad Hallmark card, they would call on Roger O'Neil. Now those stories go to Lee Cowan. A perfect example: His cloyingly saccharine Aug. 2 story about how people in Tucson reacted to Gabby Giffords's surprise appearance on the House floor. Cowan's interview with Giffords's high school history teacher did not exactly rise to the level of Edward R. Murrow. Lee Cowan is a joke. And by the way, Lee, the 1970's called--they want their hairstyle back.