Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Reruns At Nightly News

I understand that NBC shows reruns of entertainment shows. That's to be expected. But why is Nightly News showing reruns of news stories? Here are just a few recent examples:

Thursday 12/8--Tom Costello reported a 2:25 story about how airline passengers' personal electronic devices may interfere with a jet's navigation system. This story was virtually identical to an Oct. 10 story Costello did about...how airline passengers' personal electronic devices may interfere with a jet's navigation system. That's right--the exact same story two months later. The later story used many of the interviews and much of the video that had been seen in the earlier story. The only difference was that the 12/8 story included lots of footage of Alec Baldwin after he got kicked off a plane for refusing to turn off his cell phone game. So Costello and his producers dusted off an old story and reran it just so they could give lots of free publicity to NBC's "30 Rock" star. And in case there was any doubt, the story even featured a clip from "30 Rock". Rerunning an old Nightly News story to promote an NBC entertainment show is shameless.
Sunday 12/11--The final story of the night was a two-minute piece about Operation Record-A-Story, an organization that provides Navy personnel aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln with the production facilities and equipment to record DVDs of themselves reading stories that are then mailed home to their kids. Two months ago (on Oct. 11) Nightly News did a "Making A Difference" story about Reach Out and Read--an organization that encourages and helps military personnel read to their kids, either in person or on DVD. And on 3/22/10, Nightly News did a "Making A Difference" story about an organization called "Staying United Through Reading", that produces DVD recordings of deployed military parents reading to their kids. So the 12/11 story was the third Nightly News story in less than two years about organizations that produce DVD recordings of military parents reading to their kids. And none of these stories even belong on a news broadcast because they don't contain any news. When is Nightly News going to stop being the propaganda arm of the U.S. Military? How many more of these rah-rah, gung-ho, flag-waving, eagle-soaring, Uncle Sam stories is Nightly News going to force us to watch? Sadly, many more.
Monday 12/12--Brian Williams read a 30-second obituary for Cardinal John Foley (which, of course, included footage of Brian himself interviewing Cardinal Foley). One day earlier, Lester Holt read a 45-second obituary for Cardinal Foley. Monday's obit was just an edited version of Sunday's obit--no new footage had been added. Regardless of his accomplishments, Cardinal Foley does not merit identical obituaries on two consecutive Nightly News broadcasts. Also on Monday, Richard Engel reported from Iraq. His report was virtually identical to his Sunday report from Iraq. Much of the Monday footage had already been shown on Sunday. More reruns.

Here's a thought: If they didn't show the same tired old stories over and over and over again, Brian Williams and his producers would have time to show more actual news. More news--what a concept. But that will never happen. It's cheaper to recycle old news than to show new news. Perfect example: On Monday, Brian spent 40 seconds narrating a story about female fire fighters during the Pearl Harbor attack. How about showing some current news instead of seventy-year-old news? NBC News shows more reruns than NBC Entertainment. How proud Brian and his producers must be.

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