During Wednesday's story about Lee Grace Dougherty and her gun-toting bank-robbing police-evading brothers, a Nightly News graphic identified an FBI spokesman as "Phil Niedringhausm". His last name is actually "Niedringhaus". Minutes later, a promo for "Meet the Press" spelled Michele Bachmann's first name as "Michelle". With all the attention she has received over the past few months, I would guess that most fifth-graders probably know how to spell Ms. Bachmann's name. Too bad NBC News doesn't have a fifth grader on their staff. It's also too bad that they don't give a damn about accuracy. I guess they just like adding letters to people's names. They should talk to Pat Sajak about buying consonants in bulk.
On Thursday's broadcast, Brian Williams told us that Chuck Todd was reporting from Ames, Iowa when Todd was actually reporting from Des Moines. Maybe someone should buy Brian a GPS device to help him keep track of his correspondents.
Meanwhile, here's what passes for news at Nightly News. Friday's final story was--as Brian put it, "Some of the news we didn't get to during this very busy week." So what stories, pray tell, were included in this "news" wrap-up?
*A mocking story about the Flying Wing plane crashing--complete with animation and wacky sound effects.
*A woman who paid for an aerial banner "thanking" S & P for the downgrade.
*Two space shuttles passing each other on a NASA runway while the song "Reunited" plays.
*Brian's reassurance that Bert & Ernie are not gay. Obviously, the only reason Brian did this story was to promote the PBS Kids Sprout network which is owned in part by Comcast--NBC's parent company ("Sesame Street" airs on PBS Kids Sprout).
*Gratuitous shots of Vladimir Putin performing feats of strength. Brian derisively criticizes Putin's ego, seemingly without a shred of irony or self-awareness of his own massive ego.
*An obituary for Johnny Cash's bass player.
*A shameless plug for a song that Brian likes by the group Foster the People.
*A story about how the French came up with a vending machine that dispenses baguettes.
*Fifteen seconds of Mishka the talking Husky saying, "I Love You".
That's right--these were the important stories that Nightly News didn't have time for this week. Apparently, they were too busy bringing us stories about Lucille Ball (on three consecutive days), the death of Don Imus's brother, dogs that help people testify in court (obviously Mishka could do her own testifying) and a woman who threw out the first pitch of a minor league baseball game without knowing that the catcher was her husband who was just home from Afghanistan. Of course, the funniest part of this final story was when Brian flat-out lied to us. He said, "So in our last two minutes of the week here, let's get caught up." Actually, the story lasted 3 1/2 minutes, but who's counting. Is it possible that Brian intentionally misstated the time of the story because he felt embarrassed for passing off this pointless load of drivel as news? Nah, he probably just got befuddled when he heard Mishka's dulcet tones.