Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sleazy NBC Weasels Use Nightly News To Promote NBC's Fall Schedule

On Monday (9/10/12), NBC Nightly News ran a "news story" about the debate between letting your baby cry all night or rushing to comfort it as soon as it begins crying.  First of all, this idiotic story does not in any way qualify as news.  With so many actual news events going on across the country and around the world, it's appalling that Brian Williams and his producers would allow this story to air on a news broadcast.  But that's hardly the worst part of this horrible situation.  The title of the story was "Up All Night"--the same title as the NBC sitcom starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett that will have its season premiere on Sept. 20.  And as if that wasn't bad enough, the story began with an 11-second clip from the NBC sitcom.  So it's obvious what's going on here.  The weaselly NBC executives think "Up All Night" could become a hit, so they collaborated with Brian and his producers to manufacture a sham "news story" for the sole purpose of promoting this show.  It's hard to imagine that a so-called professional news organization could do something so sleazy and unethical.  But then again, NBC News these days is rarely mistaken for a professional news organization.  One of the main goals of Brian and his producers is to use Nightly News to promote NBC's sports and entertainment programs (and to promote their sponsors as well--but that's a whole different topic.  For more on Nightly News's product placements, see the 4/8/12 edition of The Nightly Daily:  Here's another recent example of Brian using his broadcast to promote NBC's prime-time programming: During the 17 days of the London Olympics, Nightly News spent a total of two-hours-and-twenty-seven minutes airing Olympic-related stories as a way to entice viewers to watch NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage.  That's almost nine minutes a night--roughly half of each broadcast when you factor out the commercials and other extraneous non-news material.  Obviously, the more viewers that watch the Olympics, the more ad revenue NBC earns.

But perhaps the sleaziest promotion Nightly News ever did was last Feb. 13.  Two days after Whitney Houston's death, a story about Houston was given the title "The Voice", which also happens to be the name of NBC's singing competition show.  There is absolutely no doubt that the producers gave the story this title in order to promote the NBC show "The Voice", which would be airing later that same night (the words "the Voice" remained on the screen for more than fifteen seconds).  Brian and his producers should be deeply ashamed of themselves for using Houston's death to promote an NBC entertainment show.  But of course, they're not.  That's what they do.  In fact, they're probably proud of themselves for figuring out a nifty way to promote "The Voice". 

It is a common practice for Brian to use Nightly News stories to promote the Olympics, Sunday Night Football, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and many of NBC's sports, entertainment and news shows--including, of course, his own Rock Center which is heavily promoted on Nightly News.  This is not just sleazy and unethical--it falls under the category of journalistic malpractice.  Viewers tune in expecting to see news, and instead they see fake news stories promoting NBC shows.  So where's the outrage?  Why isn't anyone doing anything about this?  Why aren't angry viewers marching on 30 Rock with torches and pitchforks demanding the resignation of Brian Williams and NBC News President Steve Capus?  When is the FCC going to shut down Nightly News once and for all?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 8/25/12 Through 8/30/12 (++)

From watching NBC Nightly News this past week, you'd think there were only three stories: The death of Neil Armstrong, the Republican National Convention and Hurricane Isaac.  Apparently, Brian Williams, Lester Holt and the Nightly News producers don't see their job as reporting all the week's news--they see their job as overreporting those few stories that are guaranteed to earn high ratings while ignoring the rest of the important news from across the country and around the world.  Here's what happened this week--according to Brian, Lester et al.:

Sat. August 25--Nightly News spent 9:40 reporting on Hurricane Isaac and 5:40 reporting on the death of Neil Armstrong.  Nearly two minutes of their Isaac coverage was devoted to how the storm is affecting Haiti, as if that somehow makes up for the way Nightly News abruptly discontinued their coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake in order to spend massive amounts of time promoting the Vancouver Olympics (which started one month after the Haiti earthquake).
***At least 330 people were reportedly killed in a government-sponsored massacre in Syria.  So how much time did Nightly News devote to this story?  Two minutes?  One minute?  Nope.  It was given all of twenty seconds.  Obviously, the Nightly News producers do not care about foreign news (unless it's NBC's own Olympic coverage or stories about the British Royals) because foreign news brings much lower ratings than sensationalistic stories about hurricanes.
***The final segment of the broadcast featured weatherclown Al Roker giving a rambling, repetitive litany of previously reported Isaac facts.  He ended his "report" by telling us to stay tuned in to the Weather Channel (which is owned by NBC Universal) and "The Today Show".  So this really wasn't about the hurricane, it was about promoting NBC properties.  Great job, Al!  Thanks!  By the way, Roker's show on the Weather Channel is called "Wake Up With Al".  That's really, really creepy.  I think I need to take a shower now.
Sun. August 26--Nightly News increased their Isaac coverage to more than 10 minutes.  This included a pompous 90-second piece from Brian Williams--making a rare self-promotional weekend appearance--in which he again tries to desperately convince us how much he cares about New Orleans.  Obviously, the NBC News research department continues to inform Brian that the more he pretends to love New Orleans, the more compassionate he seems, and the higher his ratings climb.  So he never misses an opportunity to pander to the people of Louisiana, because pandering is what he does best.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a news anchor who reports on stories based solely on their news value, and not based on how they can help his or her ratings?  Oh yeah--now that I think of it, there was such an anchor--his name was Charles Gibson.
***During one of the reports on Isaac, we were shown a clip of some comments from Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.  However, she was never identified.  I guess the Nightly News producers just assume we all know who she is.
***The broadcast also spent more than five minutes reporting on something just as important as Isaac--the upcoming Republican National Convention.  By "reporting on the convention", what I really mean is "promoting the convention".  In the following week, NBC will be devoting a large chunk of time to the convention, including programming on CNBC, MSNBC, "The Today Show", Nightly News and several hours of prime time coverage.  So by promoting the convention, they are really promoting their own coverage of the convention.  And let's face it--promoting NBC programming is one of the main responsibilities of the Nightly News anchors and producers.  Remember the two-and-a-half hours Nightly News spent shamelessly plugging the Olympics over those 17 days?  Of course you do--it was just a few weeks ago.
***News flash! Ann Romney is the new Michelle Obama.  The Nightly News producers have discovered that Ann Romney is very popular and brings huge ratings to their broadcast, so they now make a point of putting her on the air as often as possible.  Look--there she is making pancakes!  There she is going to church!  Isn't she awesome?  She's almost like Kate Middleton!  First Ladies (and potential First Ladies) are always popular (and always bring high ratings to news broadcasts), so for the Nightly News producers, filling up newstime with Ann Romney is a no-brainer.  And by giving her lots of TV exposure now, they're setting themselves up to be in her good favor should Mitt Romney win the election.  Then we can look forward to seeing Ann with Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Carson Daly, Matt Lauer, Ellen, Steve Harvey and Jeff Probst.  And of course, with Brian Williams.
***Although the Nightly News producers spent more than fifteen minutes reporting on Isaac and the Republican Convention, they nevertheless thought it would be a good idea to waste 2:25 on a pointless story about the TSA and airport shoe removal.  Apparently, air travelers will still be removing their shoes for years to come.  This trite story could have been reported in fifteen seconds, but they dragged it out to ten times that length because this story was easier to present than real news.  And also because Brian has a fetish for stories about air travel.  And we all know that whatever Brian wants, Brian gets.  Even on nights when he isn't anchoring.
***Speaking of real news, the producers devoted 24 seconds to the Syrian massacre that killed 330 people.  That's four seconds more than the previous night's broadcast.  I guess you'd have to call that progress.
***Lester Holt spent another 1:40 on a tribute to Neil Armstrong because the ratings go up every time a Nightly News anchor says the word "hero".
***The broadcast ended with a final minute on Isaac because the more scared they can make us, the more likely we will be to watch tomorrow's broadcast.  The producers are basically using a cliffhanger ending taken right from the soap operas.  Will the levees hold?  Will Darlene be able to save her dog Skippy?  Can Lonnie rescue his bedridden wife?  Will the police arrest Mr. Vandrusz for profiteering?  Will gramps be saved by an army helicopter?  Tune in tomorrow to see how many people lost their homes!  Lots of people will cry!  On "As The Hurricane Turns" (AKA NBC Nightly News).
Mon. August 27--Brian and his producers pared their Isaac coverage down to a threadbare 7:20 so they could spend even more time (nearly six minutes) promoting NBC's Convention coverage.  Real classy.
***Brian then reported these stories: Two U.S. troops were killed by an Afghan soldier, a Taliban mob beheaded 17 people attending a dance where music was being played and Syrian rebels shot down an army helicopter that was firing on civilians.  Brian devoted a total of 37 seconds to these stories.  Brian doesn't give a shit about foreign news because it doesn't help his ratings.
***Brian introduced a story about a possible link between a woman's weight and the recurrence of breast cancer.  At the top of the broadcast, he previewed this story by calling it "an important story".  Um...question for Brian: Aren't all the stories on a network newscast supposed to be important?  Well, yes--they're supposed to be.  But on Nightly News, that's rarely the case.  I guess Brian made a point of calling this story important in order to distinguish it from all the trivial, pointless Nightly News stories about dogs, whales, space travel and planets, British Royals, taunted elderly bus monitors and the Olympics.  So remember, Nightly News viewers, if Brian says a story is important, you'd better pay attention.  Especially because important stories are so infrequent on Nightly News.
***Brian spent 25 seconds telling us that the FAA plans to study whether air travelers really need to put away their electronic devices before takeoff.  A story about a study that may not even change anything?  This isn't even worth mentioning.  But as I already said, Brian has a fetish for air travel stories and he gets to do whatever he wants.
***Brian ended the broadcast with another tribute to Neil Armstrong.  Even though Lester Holt spent more than seven minutes reporting this story over the past two nights, we all know that a story isn't really a story unless Brian himself reports it.  Before the final commercial break, Brian promoted the story by calling Armstrong "The last modest hero we ever had."  After the break, Brian called him "The last truly modest hero our nation ever produced."  So I guess if you say the exact same thing twice, it must be true.  Brian's fetish for air travel stories is only eclipsed by his fetish for space travel stories.  When it comes to astronauts, Brian is a fawning, ass-kissing sycophant.  And his 1:20 laudation for Armstrong was just about the most ass-kissing sycophantic testimonial you could ever imagine hearing.  Brian is too wrapped up in his own personal ego trip to understand this, but if you heap praise on someone over and over and over again ad nauseam, it tends to lose meaning.  Because of his personal fetish, Brian has zero credibility as an objective reporter about Neil Armstrong (or any other astronaut for that matter).  Of course, Brian has zero credibility as an objective reporter about anything.  How can he be objective when his main goals are promoting himself and his broadcast, promoting NBC's sports and entertainment programming, promoting his sponsors and pandering to the viewers with a litany of stories designed specifically to attract ratings rather than provide information?  Brian isn't a reporter, he's a cheerleader and carnival barker for himself and NBC.  Brian is the exact opposite of a "modest hero".  He's self-promoting buffoon.
***The self-promoting buffoon signed off for the evening by telling us to watch "an update on the storm on your late local news tonight and of course the Weather Channel all evening long."  Even down to the last second, he's still shilling, shilling, shilling.  And that's sad, sad, sad.
Tues. August 28--Nightly News spent a combined 17:20 reporting on Hurricane Isaac and the Republican Convention.  So you might think that leaves a lot of time to report on other news.  Wrong.  When you remove all the commercials, the promos and the self-promoting story introductions, Nightly News is essentially a twenty minute broadcast.  So how much time did they spend reporting stories other than Isaac and the Republican convention?  Less than two minutes.  That's ridiculous.  A newscast is supposed to report all the day's news, not just the stories that will bring in high ratings.  It is absolutely irresponsible for a newscast to devote so little time to reporting the rest of the day's news.  But then again, no one ever claimed that Nightly News was a responsible broadcast.
***When Brian introduced John Yang's report from the convention floor, he made sure to tell us that Yang was with the delegates from "the great state of Maine."  These major political conventions must pose a real logistical challenge to Brian.  So many states to shamelessly pander to, so little time.
***Right after that, Brian told us that Luke Russert "has made his way to the great state of West Virginia".  Why doesn't Brian just take a few minutes at the beginning of the broadcast to call each individual state "the great state of..."  Then he won't have to worry about doing it during the broadcast.  Russert sounded like he was doing an ad for the West Virginia board of tourism.  Of course, the larger issue is this: Why is Luke Russert even on the air at all?  Before being hired, he had no experience whatsoever as a journalist.  His only credential is that he's the son of Tim Russert.  And since Brian liked Tim, he gave Luke a coveted on-air job.  There are hundreds--maybe thousands--of experienced television correspondents looking for work, and Luke Russert gets handed a plum job.  It's nice to see that nepotism is alive and well an NBC News.  Obviously, Brian has taken Luke under his wing and is personally guiding his career as a favor to Tim's memory.  It's the same way Tony Soprano took Christopher Moltisanti under his wing and guided his career.
***Brian spent 40 seconds reporting the death of photojournalist Malcolm Browne.  Brian likes to report the obits of real journalists because it allows him to pretend that he's in that club.  He isn't.
***The final story was about a man in New Orleans' lower ninth ward who is going door to door checking on his neighbors.  That's a nice thing to do, but how is this news?  It isn't.  But sappy human interest stories like this get higher ratings than actual news, so every year, Brian packs his broadcast with hundreds of minutes of this drivel.  On a night when Nightly News presented so little actual news, it's shameless that they would include this story.  But shameless stories get good ratings, and that's all that matters to Brian and his producers.  On this night, Nightly News did not even bother reporting on Syria.  But at least we know all about the man who goes door to door checking on his neighbors.
Wed. August 29--The lead story on the effects of Hurricane Isaac featured four different shots of dogs (with their owners) being rescued.  This is not an accident.  Nothing on Nightly News happens by accident.  NBC News research shows that Nightly News viewers like dogs, so part of Brian's strategy for boosting his ratings is to include dogs as often as possible in news stories.  If research showed that viewers liked armadillos, he would use armadillos in Nightly News stories.
***Here's how Brian introduced a segment with the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore: "Jim, I'm watchin' the coverage--seeing a lot of streets and neighborhoods--even structures that I'm familiar with...."  That HE's familiar with.  Because the news is always about Brian.  And notice how Brian dropped the "g" from watching (and pronounced it as "watchin'")?  That's part of his strategy to appear less patrician and more like the "regular good old middle-American folks" whose ratings he so desperately craves.  At the end of Cantore's report, Brian said, "Jim, I do remember seven years ago tonight the water approaching that very intersection where you're standing...."  Again, the news is about Brian and what HE remembers.
***Brian spent more than three minutes talking with Ann Romney.  She's popular now and trending on many social media websites, so Brian makes a point of including her on Nightly News as often as possible (she was also featured prominently in the preceding story).  Dogs, Ann Romney--anything that can be used to pander to viewers and grab ratings is fair game to be exploited by Brian and his producers.
***Next, we saw a three-minute story about the new book by a former Navy SEAL detailing the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Meanwhile, over at CBS, Scott Pelley actually interviewed the book's author, who goes by the pseudonym Mark Owen.  Brian spends a good chunk of time kissing ass to Navy SEALs (and every other member of the U.S. military) and Owen chose to ignore Brian and speak with Scott Pelley instead.  It seems as if Navy SEALs don't really like Brian.
***Later, Brian spent twenty seconds telling us about the opening ceremonies for the Paralympic Games.  Brian doesn't really care about the Paralympics because they don't generate any money or ratings for NBC, like the London Olympics did.  In fact, NBC is so uninterested in televising a ratings loser like the Paralympics that they've relegated those Games to their NBC Sports cable channel, where they will get a paltry few hours of midweek coverage--but nothing on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  The only reason Brian aired this story was because it allowed him to show a clip of Will & Kate.
***Once again, Nightly News did not report on the civil war in Syria.  But at least we know all about dogs being rescued in Louisiana and Ann Romney.
Thurs. August 30--The broadcast began with nine-and-a-half minutes worth of coverage on the Republican Convention.  Part of this time was devoted to Brian's "interview" with Paul Ryan.  During this interview, Brian incorrectly asserted that the Republican platform does not allow for abortion exception in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.  Ryan had to correct Brian--twice--by reminding him that the platform is silent on the issue and the President sets policy.  It's obvious that Brian's main goal in this sham interview was to try to trip up Ryan and catch him in a contradiction, but Ryan ended up running circles around Brian.  Score: Ryan 1; Brian 0.
***Next, Brian brought in Tom Brokaw for some commentary.  Big mistake.  Whenever Tom appears with Brian, he reminds viewers what it was like to have an actual journalist as anchor of NBC Nightly News, instead of a talking head reading off a teleprompter.  Tom's enormousness makes Brian seem feeble and slight by comparison.  Note to Brian--it's not a good idea to have Tom Brokaw on your broadcast.
***Pete Williams is still my hero.  On this night--as he does on all nights--Brian introduced Pete with a treacly, "Good evening, Pete."  And as usual, Pete refused to return Brian's greeting with an equally syrupy, "Good evening, Brian."  Instead, Pete ignored Brian and launched right into his story on voter ID laws in Texas.  Contrast Pete Williams with fawning Nightly News sycophants like Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander who always respond to Brian's greeting with a hearty, "Good evening TO YOU, Brian!"  I applaud Pete for having the balls to stand up to Brian.  It's just sad that Brian is so desperate to appear well-liked by the Nightly News correspondents.  From what I understand, that's not the case at all.
***A story on the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana featured multiple shots of dogs being rescued.  Once again, this is just Brian's way of pandering to dog-loving viewers in the hope of getting a ratings boost. 
***Here's how Brian introduced Jim Cantore's segment on Isaac: "Jim, we're gonna come on up there and join you tomorrow to see for ourselves...."  Of course Brian has to draw attention to himself and announce what HE will be doing, because that's much more important than what's actually going on in New Orleans.
***Brian took 30 seconds to tell us that a 100-year-old man in L.A. accidentally drove his car into a group of school children.  It's obvious that Brian has no clue about the difference between local and national news items.  Or perhaps he does, but chooses to report on sensationalistic local stories because they bring in ratings.
***Stop the presses!  Breaking news!  MTV is cancelling "Jersey Shore".  This is what Brian has decided merits 30 seconds of newstime on Nightly News.  Can you imagine Scott Pelley running this garbage as a news piece on CBS Evening News?  That would never happen--even though CBS and MTV are both controlled by the same corporate entity!  But I guess it's not fair to compare Brian Williams to Scott Pelley.  Pelley is a news anchor whose responsibility is informing his viewers about important stories happening across the country and around the world, and Brian is a carnival barker whose main goal is to run stories that boost his ratings and promote his network and sponsors.  Totally different job descriptions.
***Here's how Brian introduced the final segment: "Thanks to the good people of the New Mexico delegation on the floor of this convention, Andrea Mitchell has set up shop there to offer us a few final thoughts" on the convention.  Clearly, Brian's goal for covering the two political conventions is to refer to the people in each of the fifty states as "the good people of..." because shamelessly pandering for ratings is what he does best.  I guess the nine minutes-plus that Nightly News devoted to the  convention at the beginning of the broadcast just wasn't enough, so we needed another 1:10 to close the show.
***The broadcast ended with 30 seconds of theme music, accompanied by shots of the Tampa skyline.  So let me get this straight--Nightly News did not report a single story from outside the U.S.--no Europe, no Africa, no Asia, no Syria--but they wasted 30 seconds of dead air at the end of the broadcast.  That's appalling.  But at least we learned about some important stuff--like the 100-year-old man who ran over some kids and that "Jersey Shore" is being cancelled.  Great job, Brian!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Why Brian Williams Is The Biggest Hypocrite on TV

On the 6/3/11 NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams spoke derisively about Mitt Romney's new wardrobe and his new look of "studied casualness".  Brian accused Romney of buying "new jeans and a fleet of I'm-just-a-regular-guy shirts...," as part of a new and intentional image makeover.  Romney's goal was obviously to appeal to the middle-American heartland working-class, salt-of-the-earth people whose votes he so desperately needs.  Wow--where does Brian get balls that big?  On Friday's Nightly News (8/31/12), Brian reported from New Orleans wearing the exact same type of I'm-just-a-regular-guy shirt and pants that he criticized Romney for wearing!  And Brian was wearing these clothes in order to appeal to the middle American heartland working-class, salt-of-the-earth people whose ratings he so desperately needs.  What a hypocrite!  (Brian is partial to blue shirts and beige khakis.)  Talk about "studied casualness"!  Where does Brian get the nerve to criticize Romney for image management?  There is no one on the planet whose image is more studied, managed, controlled and manipulated than Brian Williams.  Every aspect of his on-air persona is carefully honed and crafted to bring us the character of "Brian Williams" that we see every night on Nightly News.  I'm certain that Brian has ten image managers for every one Romney has.  Hair stylists.  Makeup artists.  Wardrobe consultants.  Personal assistants.  Skin consultants.  Feng Shui advisors.  Astrologists.  I'll bet Brian employs a full-time person just to act as his tie wrangler.  And then there is NBC's team of high-priced behavioral consultants and analysts.  They pore over every microscopic detail of every Nightly News broadcast.  What if Brian sat three inches to the right?  What if he moved his left arm up a bit?  What if he lifted his head up higher?  What if he dropped his "g's" and pronounced words like "talking" as talkin' and "watching" as watchin'?  What if he wore more blue?  Should he wear his eyeglasses more often?  Should he trim 1/4" off his hair?  They search for any tiny change that can improve Brian's ratings.  They constantly conduct focus groups to find out what viewers think of every aspect of Brian and his broadcast.  Do you like his hair?  Do you like his tie?  Do you like his shirt?  Do you like his tone and inflection?  Brian wouldn't dare wear a stitch of clothing on the air unless it had first been approved by a focus group.  If a panel of viewers indicated that they didn't like one of his ties, it would be taken out back and burned immediately.  But the analysis doesn't stop there.  There's also bio-analysis.  Focus group participants are hooked up to medical monitors while watching NBC Nightly News.  Their heart rates are monitored.  Their breathing is monitored.  Their pupil dilation is monitored.  Their eye movements are monitored.  All on a second-by-second basis.  If viewers look away from Brian at a certain point, the analysts need to find out why.  Was it his tone of voice?  The particular news story he was reading?  The camera angle?  The people in the newsroom behind him?  The on-screen graphics?

So with all this going on, Brian had the nerve to criticize Mitt Romney for buying a few new shirts--the exact same kind of shirts that Brian himself wears to improve his own image.  Politics is largely about image.  News broadcasting is ALL about image.  Brian has taken one of his own most weaselly and disingenuous traits and used it to mock Mitt Romney.  That is the ultimate in hypocrisy.  And it's hilarious.  It would be like Donald Trump making fun of someone else's hair.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 8/18/12 Through 8/24/12 (Updated--Full Week)

Here's what you may have missed on NBC Nightly News this past week:

Sat. August 18--As Lester Holt introduced the lead story about the Medicare debate, there was a giant animated flag waving behind his head.  No surprise--there is often a giant animated flag waving behind Lester or Brian Williams.  It's just another way for the producers to pander to the God-lovin', NASCAR-watchin', middle Americans whose viewership is so prized.  Another ratings stunt from Nightly News.
***After that, Lester (with the giant flag still waving behind him) brought in David Gregory for some expert analysis.  By "for some expert analysis", I mean "to promote 'Meet the Press'".
***Did you really think the Olympics are over?  Well, they're not.  Lester read a story about Michael Phelps posing for some provocative photos, followed by a story about Olympic Athletes being honored in Des Moines.  This story included footage of Gabby Douglas and Lolo Jones.  NBC is busy selling their Olympic DVDs, so the Nightly News producers are doing everything they can to help with promotion.
***The next story was about an Indiana baseball team in the Little League World Series whose players are competing in the memory of their former coach who died of cancer.  That's nice, but why is this on a newscast?  It's not news.  But that doesn't matter to the Nightly News producers.  To them, news isn't nearly as important as ratings.  And sappy, emotional stories like this one (usually involving cancer) are exactly the types of stories that keep viewers from changing the channel.  If the producers can get viewers to bond with a story, then ratings go up.  Nightly News leads all other newscasts in exploiting cancer as a way to get high ratings.  Congratulations to the producers.  They should be so proud of themselves.  By the way, this story was titled "Field of Dreams".  The producers love to give their stories the titles of movies, TV shows or popular songs because it gives the viewers something familiar to relate to.  And if a viewer sees something familiar, he's more likely to keep watching.  In the past four months, the producers have done this 25 times.  Here are some of the titles they've used for stories: "The Rising", "Coming to America", "Moonstruck" (three times), "The Weather Channel", "Risky Business" (five times), "Modern Family", "A Star Is Born", "Ring of Fire", "The Natural", "Father Knows Best", "All in the Family", "Top Chef", "To Catch A Thief", "Back to the Future" (twice), "Deep Impact" and "Sudden Impact".  Just another sleazy ratings ploy from your friends at Nightly News.
***The final story was about a National Guard veteran who tracks down purple hearts in pawn shops, antique stores and other places and then returns them to the original owners (or the owner's family).  This is another story without a shred of news value.  Like the previous story, it was included only because it's a good way to keep viewers tuned in and boost ratings.  So the final four minutes of the broadcast did not contain any actual news.  What a surprise.  Not really.  Nightly News reports on garbage because garbage gets high ratings.
Sun. August 19--No Nightly News on the east coast because golf ran late.  Let's face it--golf gets higher ratings (and earns higher ad rates) than news, so pre-empting Nightly News wasn't exactly a tough decision for the NBC programming weasels.
Mon. August 20--Brian spent 3:10 on a story about a woman with Parkinson's disease who underwent brain surgery to lessen her symptoms.  We're glad it worked out for her, but this isn't news.  It's just another opportunity for Brian and his producers to exploit someone's serious medical condition in order to help their ratings.  Shameful.
***Speaking of shameful, here's what Brian said about Rosie O'Donnell's heart attack: "She finally took a BAYER aspirin--the way she learned in the TV commercial."  It's no coincidence that Brian mentioned Bayer by name.  Bayer is by far the most frequent advertiser on Nightly News--they usually run two, three or even four commercials a night for their various products--Bayer aspirin, Aleve, One A Day vitamins, Alka-Seltzer products, Phillips Colon Health, Citracal, etc.  Now I don't know what brand of aspirin Rosie actually took, but an anchor who blatantly promotes his largest sponsor on the air is the lowest form of journalistic life.  Of course, plugging Bayer products on Nightly News is nothing new for Brian.  On 12/6/10 and 10/27/11, Nightly News ran sham news stories about the health benefits of aspirin.  In truth, these stories were created as product placement opportunities for Bayer.  In both stories, Bayer was the only national brand of aspirin shown (multiple times, in fact) and both stories included clips from Bayer TV ads.  Those aren't news stories, they're commercials.  And on 6/8/10, Nightly News aired a story about an obscure Danish medical study which concluded that Naproxen (sold in the U.S. as Bayer's Aleve) can reduce the risk of heart attacks.  Needless to say, this story featured many shots of Aleve.  But I wouldn't want you to think that Brian only plugs Bayer products on the air.  For a more complete list of Brian's on-air promotions and product placements, see the 4/8/12 Nightly Daily blog (
***Brian then took 30 seconds to read the obituary for Scott McKenzie, who had a hit (his only hit, actually) 45 years ago with "(If You're Going To) San Francisco".  Brian likes to read obits for musicians because it allows him to show us how hip and cool he thinks he is.  Also, the NBC research department has informed him that playing clips from pop songs is a good way to boost the ratings.  After all, viewers would much rather hear a clip from a classic rock song than hear about an economic summit or another massacre in Afghanistan.  I'm surprised that as he read this, Brian didn't wear some flowers in his hair.
***Brian followed this with obits for director Tony Scott and actor William Windom, during which he showed clips from "Top Gun", "Crimson Tide", "Murder, She Wrote", "Star Trek" and "To Kill a Mockingbird".  Obviously, viewers like seeing movie and TV clips just as much as they like hearing classic rock songs.  Altogether, these three stories lasted seventy seconds.  So that's seventy seconds of pop songs, TV and movie clips.  That's not a news broadcast, it's an episode of Extra or Access Hollywood.
***Here's some important news--Michelle Obama hosted a state dinner for kids.  Michelle Obama is one of the most popular people in America right now, so Brian makes a point of showing her on Nightly News as often as possible.
***The broadcast ended with Brian's 2:10 tribute to Phyllis Diller.  At first I couldn't figure out why Brian would devote so much time to Diller's obit (and why he would narrate the story himself).  But the reason soon became clear--after Bob Hope died in 2003, Diller gave an interview to Brian on his CNBC newscast.  So naturally, Brian used a clip of that interview.  I actually believe that the only reason Brian spent so much time on this story was so he could include the clip of himself interviewing Diller.  After all, there's nothing Brian likes reporting on more than himself.  Because the news is always about Brian.
***After Brian signed off for the night, the broadcast continued with 25 seconds of theme music accompanied by a panoramic shot of the New York City skyline.  Now, Brian and his producers could have used this time to air an additional story--perhaps on Syria, Iran, Iraq or some other country that they didn't cover that night.  But they didn't do that.  As usual, Brian would prefer to waste time than to report news.  Well done.
Tues. August 21--In the broadcast intro, Brian told us about Diana Nyad's "incredible sea quest" to swim from Cuba to Florida.  Later, he spent two minutes on this ridiculous non-story--which ended with a promo for Nyad's appearance on Wednesday's "Today Show".  As always, Brian chooses to cover stories based not on their news value, but on how they can be used to promote other NBC shows like "Today", "Dateline" or "Rock Center".  There's a phrase for what Brian does: Sleazy snale oil salesman.
***Brian reported the breaking news story that starting in January, Jimmy Kimmel's late night show will begin at 11:35 instead of 12:05.  Obviously, this is just a way for Brian to promote "The Tonight Show", which he did by showing clips of Jay Leno.  Sleazy snake oil salesman.
***In another piece of breaking news, Brian told us about this year's Beloit College Mindset List.  For incoming freshmen, Brian said, "exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction."  This is what a network news anchor chooses to report on his broadcast.  How classy.
***Wait--there's even more breaking news.  Michelle Obama gave an interview in which she discussed having "the talk" with her daughters.  Brian reported this as if it was actual news.  Obviously, Michelle Obama is great for Brian's ratings so he reports on everything she does.  But even more important, she gave the interview to NBC Universal website.  So that's the third NBC media property Brian has plugged on this broadcast.  Sleazy snake oil salesman.
***The final story of the night was a "Making A Difference" piece about an organization that takes disabled children scuba diving.  Kudos to them--that's a very noble thing to do.  Unfortunately, in no way, shape or form does this qualify as news.  In fact, of the hundred or so "Making A Difference" stories that Nightly News airs each year, not one of them has ever contained a single shred of actual news.  This is just another opportunity for Brian and his producers to exploit disabled children in order to get a ratings boost.  A story about disabled kids scuba diving is just a variation of the tried-and-true Nightly News "kids with cancer" theme.  It's a story that appeals to viewers on an emotional level, and it obviously tested well with focus groups.  And a positive focus group response translates to higher ratings.  This is what's given 2:35 of valuable news time on Nightly News.  By the way, this MAD segment was sponsored by Prevacid, so Brian and his producers actually got paid for exploiting disabled kids.  Sleazy snake oil salesman.  Now that I think about it--why does Prevacid on Nightly News sound familiar?  Oh yeah--now I remember.  Back on the 5/25/10 Nightly News, Nancy Snyderman reported on an FDA warning about the dangers of proton pump inhibitors--like Prevacid.  Apparently, they can weaken bones and cause users to be at an increased risk for fractures and even osteoporosis.  So in 2010, Nightly News reported that Prevacid can be dangerous to users.  Now fast-forward a couple of years.   Prevacid's manufacturer pays for a MAD sponsorship, so Brian and his producers don't care how dangerous it is.  Sleazy snake oil salesman.
Wed. August 22--Brian took a moment to talk about the New York Times photospread that published pictures of the second 1,000 U.S. military personnel to be killed in Afghanistan.  "I just looked down and saw a kid from MY hometown in New Jersey."  MY hometown.  Because the news is always about Brian.  By the way--does anyone really believe that he just happened to look down and see that?  More likely, he assigned a couple of associate producers to scour the photos until they found someone from his hometown.  And who even knows if Brian was telling the truth?  He may have just claimed to see someone from his hometown.  I wouldn't put it past Brian to lie about this since he lies about so many other things. 
***Brian spent 30 seconds showing photos from the Mars Rover.  In the past six weeks, Brian has spent more than nine minutes reporting on the Mars Rover.  That's far more news time than he has devoted to Africa in that time span.  Here's a thought for Brian: Instead of covering an event 154 million miles away, how about reporting on stuff happening a mere 7,000 miles away in Africa?  And it doesn't even have to be instead of Mars.  There's time to report on both Mars and Africa if he would just eliminate all the idiotic non-news stories he reports on every night.  But let's face it--Africa is a ratings loser for Brian and his producers.  Africa is filled with mostly black people and Brian's mostly white viewers are not really interested in news about black people, especially if they're on another continent.  So Brian continues to ignore Africa unless George Clooney goes there, in which case Ann Curry follows him around like a puppy.
***Brian spent 1:20 reporting on a recently-discovered 1960 taped interview with Martin Luther King, Jr.  Just to prove that he actually does report on black people occasionally.
***The "Making A Difference" story this night was an "update".  That's a code word meaning a previous MAD piece had really high ratings so the producers are going to keep milking it for all it's worth.  This story was about Mini Tyrell, a seven-year-old kid who drives mini-cars to raise money for kids with cancer.  Did I just say "kids with cancer"?  You bet I did!  The Nightly News producers LOVE to air stories about kids with cancer because the ratings for these stories are off the charts!  The story featured lots of heartwrenching shots of kids with cancer because those are the money shots that make viewers so sad.  And sad viewers equal high ratings.  This is the third story Nightly News has done on Mini Tyrell in less than a year (the others were on 10/24/11 & 10/31/11).  So that's seven-and-a-half minutes the producers have devoted to a story with absolutely no news value.  Great job!  By the way, this story spelled Mini's last name as "Tyrell", but when it was reported on some NBC websites, it was spelled as "Tyrrell".  I guess we can pick whichever spelling we like best.  Cool--no reason why reality should intrude on our spelling fun!  This story was reported by newsmoron Anne Thompson because it didn't require any journalistic skills whatsoever.  She just sat there with that idiotic grin on her face as if something was really, really funny.  She was probably grinning because she earns a six-figure salary for reporting the same lame garbage over and over and over again.  I'd grin too, if that was me.
***Meanwhile, on this day nearly fifty people were killed in a dispute over cattle grazing rights in Kenya.  You didn't seriously think that Brian Williams would report this story?  Come on people--it's in AFRICA for Christ's sake!
Thurs. August 23--At the beginning of the broadcast, a tease for the Hurricane Isaac story was given the title "High Anxiety", and a story about Prince Harry was given the title "Casino Royale".  Yet again, the producers gave their stories the names of movies in order to keep viewers interested and boost ratings.
***As part of the Hurricane Isaac coverage, Mark Potter reported on the possible damage the storm could do if it scored a direct hit to Haiti.  Here's what Brian said at the end of the story: "Port-au-Prince, Haiti tonight where perhaps this will focus the world's attention on that nation again."  Is that some sort of a sick fucking joke?  On Feb. 12, 2010, Exactly one month after the Haiti earthquake hit, the Vancouver Olympics began.  And from that point on, Nightly News barely reported on the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake because they were too busy promoting NBC's Olympic coverage in a desperate attempt to boost the network's ratings.  And Brian has the nerve to talk about focusing the world's attention back on Haiti?  He was one of the decision makers who chose to virtually ignore Haiti after the Olympics started!  Brian's pathetic attempt to rewrite his network's own history makes him a hypocrite of the highest order.
***A story about a book on the killing of Osama bin Laden written by a Navy Seal included a 30-second "Rock Center" clip of Brian interviewing Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen.  Hardly surprising, since one of Brian's most important jobs as Nightly News anchor is to promote NBC's prime time shows, including, of course, his own "Rock Center".
***Here's how Brian introduced the very next story: "Tonight on 'Rock Center', we are devoting the entire hour to one subject--the Mormon Church in America."  Brian then spent the next 90 seconds promoting his "Rock Center" broadcast by inexplicably showing an excerpt from his interview with Abby Huntsman (daughter of former Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman) in which she talked about how she met her husband, how much she loves him and what a great guy he is.  Huh?  How is this news?  This is the kind of garbage that Brian chooses to fill his broadcast with on a nightly basis.
***Breaking News!  The U.S. Post Office had to destroy $1.2 million worth of Simpsons stamps due to a lack of interest from the stamp-buying public.  I'm really glad that Brian told me about this important piece of news.
***For the final story of the night, Brian spent 2:45 telling us about Prince Harry's Las Vegas vacation, including the photos of Harry playing naked billiards.  The story was titled "The Trouble With Harry" (as opposed to the "Casino Royale" title it was given at the top of the broadcast).  An earlier promo for the story was accompanied by the song "Viva Las Vegas".  Brian Williams is practicing the most idiotic and base type of sensationalistic yellow journalism.  He airs stories solely because of their ratings value and doesn't give a damn about actual news.  When is the FCC going to shut down Nightly News for being a sham newscast?  When are they going to ban Brian from the airwaves for being a pandering sycophant?  When are irate viewers going to march on 30 Rock with torches and pitchforks, demanding that Nightly News stop its horrible and unethical practice of showing crap instead of news?  When is that going to happen?  When?
***On this night, Nightly News did not report any stories on Syria, but at least we know all about the Simpsons stamps, Abby Huntsman's awesome husband and Prince Harry's naked Vegas romp.  Amazing.
Fri. August 24--Brian was off this night and the broadcast was anchored by David Gregory.  And I'm pretty sure I know why.  Friday newscasts in August are traditionally among the lowest-rated newscasts of the year.  So rather than see Nightly News suffer a ratings drop with his name on it, Brian took it on the lam and got out of town.  Here's what I mean: When Brian is off and doesn't anchor a weeknight edition of Nightly News, his producers understand that the broadcast will have lower ratings than if Brian was anchoring.  So when Brian is off, his producers submit those Nightly News broadcasts to the Nielsen ratings Service intentionally misspelled as "Nitely News".  That way, the lower-rated "Nitely News" broadcasts are counted in a separate category from Nightly News, and they don't detract from Nightly News's higher ratings.  So by taking Friday off (a day when the broadcast would have a low rating anyway), Brian insured that his producers would submit that broadcast to Nielsen as "Nitely News" and that it wouldn't bring down his weekly ratings.  Another ratings manipulation trick from the sleazy weasels at Nightly News.
***A story about Mitt Romney included twenty seconds worth of clips of Donald Trump.  Obviously, the producers are promoting the new season of "Celebrity Apprentice".
***A story about the USADA stripping Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles was narrated by the idiotic Anne Thompson.  It's obvious that she knows nothing about Armstrong or cycling--she's just reading the script that was handed to her.  Any time the producers have a story that doesn't require any knowledge on the part of the reporter, they give it to Thompson.
***During a story about Hurricane Andrew twenty years later, we heard commentary from Erik Salna, of the Florida International University International Hurricane Research Center.  Unfortunately, a Nightly News graphic identified him as being from the "FLU International Hurricane Center".  Note to the producers: Florida International University is abbreviated as "FIU", not "FLU".
***Gregory spent 40 seconds narrating the obituary for Jerry Nelson, who operated the Count von Count muppet on Sesame Street.  Really?  A Muppeteer?  This belongs on a network news broadcast? 
***The broadcast ended with a story about how Drive-In movie theaters are making a comeback.  It's hard to imagine a story more trivial and less important than this one.  Which is exactly why the producers gave it 2:05 on Nightly News.  Because Nightly News is a show about nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  As if to prove that point, this story included a clip from "Grease" because showing movie clips is a great way to boost the ratings without showing any actual news.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams Sets A New Olympic Record!

During the 17 days of the London Olympics, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams devoted 147 minutes to Olympic-related stories in order to shamelessly promote NBC's Olympic coverage.  That's two-hours-and-twenty-seven minutes--the equivalent of more than six entire Nightly News broadcasts (a Nightly News broadcast runs 22 minutes when you factor out the commercials).  That is without a doubt the most appalling, unethical, sleazy, self-promotional display ever put on by an evening news broadcast.  So how much actual news did Brian Williams ignore so he could promote NBC's Olympic coverage?  What news did he sweep under the NBC rug?  Which important stories did he simply refuse to report so he could spend more time desperately trying to funnel viewers to the Olympics on NBC?  There is a phrase for what Brian Williams did: Journalistic malpractice.  People tune in to the news to find out the important stories that are happening across the country and around the world.  But instead of providing viewers with that information, Brian Williams chose instead to use his broadcast as a promotional vehicle for NBC's Olympic coverage.  The FCC should shut down NBC Nightly News and ban Brian Williams from the airwaves forever.

By the way, during the 2010 Vancouver Games, NBC Nightly News spent a total of 129 minutes plugging the games so the 147 minutes they spent promoting the 2012 Olympics represents a new Olympic record for NBC!  A hearty congratulations to all the sleazebags at NBC News!  They must be so proud of themselves!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 8/4/12 Through 8/10/12 (Updated--Full Week)

Obviously, the only thing that matters on Nightly News this week is promoting NBC's Olympic coverage.  Here's how it went down:

Sat. August 4--Wow!  After Brian Williams booted Lester Holt from last weekend's broadcasts in order to allow himself to anchor, Brian let Lester back in the studio to anchor this weekend.  Brian must have some research indicating that Lester's presence doesn't hurt Brian's ratings.  Otherwise, he never would have allowed Lester to anchor.
***Surprise--the broadcast began with four minutes of Olympic coverage.  Which means four minutes of shamelessly promoting the Olympics on NBC.  But this wasn't just any coverage, it was four minutes of fawning, ass-kissing coverage from the idiotic Chris Jansing.  She told us it was a day to remember!  The crowds were huge!  The mood was electric!  Michael Phelps!  Missy Franklin!  Oscar Pistorius!  Usain Bolt!  That's not reporting, it's advertising.  I hope NBC News is insisting that NBC Sports pays Jansing's salary during the Olympics, because her only job has been to act as a shill in getting people to watch NBC's coverage.  And by the way, isn't the lead story on a news broadcast supposed to be the most important story of the day?  Obviously not at Nightly News.  Self-promotion trumps news.
***Next, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez turned a story about Oklahoma wildfires into a story about Jesus.  First, he showed a man telling Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin that his only possession to survive the fire was a cross (followed by a tight zoom-in on the cross).  Then Gutierrez said, "Here and beyond they're praying for rain."  He didn't say "hoping" or "wishing"--he said "praying".  As a matter of policy, Nightly News correspondents always inject their news stories with a heavy dose of Christianity.  There are always plenty of shots of crosses, people praying, people talking about the Lord--and why not?  Nearly 80% of the U.S. population is Christian, so you can't go wrong with repeated references to crosses, prayer and Jesus.  Religious pandering is great for the ratings.
***Lester then spent three-and-a-half minutes profiling Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in order to drum up interest in Sunday's 100 meter sprint final.  More
shameless Olympics promotion.
***After the commercial break, we were treated to a shot of the moon inside the Tower Bridge's Olympic rings.  For thirty seconds.  The producers could have reported an actual news story in that time.  But of course they didn't.
***Lester then reported some important news stories: 138 skydivers jumped simultaneously in Illinois and a couple in Buffalo, New York remarried after divorcing in 1964.  Because Nightly News is all about hard news.
***The final story was a Michael Phelps story.  Or, more accurately, another Michael Phelps story.  It was reported by the fawning idiot Kevin Tibbles, who is the male version of Chris Jansing.  This was at least the fifth story that Nightly News has done on Phelps since the Olympics began.  But the producers don't care.  They're not concerned with overexposure or repetition.  They're only concerned with one thing: Constantly and relentlessly driving the Olympics into our heads over and over and over so we tune in.  Because when we watch the Olympics, NBC's ratings go up.  And when their ratings go up, NBC can charge higher ad rates.  It's all about money.  What did you think it was about?  Sportsmanship?
***So let's recap.  On this night, Nightly News spent 11:53 promoting the Olympics, and they spent 7:50 on all other news.  And that includes the 138 skydivers, the couple that remarried after 48 years and the moon inside the Olympic rings.  Nightly News isn't a news broadcast, it's a promotional vehicle for NBC's Olympic coverage.  Nightly News is a joke.
Sun. August 5--Well, that didn't last long.  After allowing Lester to anchor Nightly News on Saturday, Brian again booted him out of the anchor's chair for Sunday's broadcast.  I guess the overnight ratings numbers looked pretty bad.  Sorry Lester, take a hike.
***Like the previous night, Gabe Gutierrez's story on the Oklahoma wildfires was a celebration of Christianity.  One woman in the story said, "The Lord doesn't put any more on you than you can bear."  Aside from the fact that that's an idiotic thing to say, it doesn't belong in a news story.  But Brian and his producers desperately want to attract Christian viewers, so this is what we get as news.
***Here's how Brian began the next story: "Turning to news overseas, we continue our reporting on the civil war in Syria."  News flash for Brian--from London (where he is currently anchoring), Syria is not overseas.  Other than a few rivers, England and Syria are separated only by the English Channel and the Bosporus Strait.  Those aren't seas.  If you can drive from England to Syria, then it's not "overseas".
***Enough bullshit--time for the Olympics.  Mega-idiot Chris Jansing reported all the day's important Olympic news in this 4:30 plug for NBC's Olympic coverage that would be airing later that night.  "The excitement level here in London is absolutely off the charts," she told us.  What a brilliant piece of reporting.
***Breaking News!  Brian showed us a close-up of Kate Middleton's Olympic credential.  And to begin the story--because he has the biggest fucking ego on television--he showed us HIS Olympic credential.  "Look!  Look at me!  Look at my Olympic credential!  See how important I am!"  Remember, the news is always about Brian.  I couldn't fully make out the name on Brian's credential, but it seemed to say "Asshole".  Obviously, this "news story" was just an excuse to show more photos and video of Kate Middleton.  Mission accomplished.
***The final story was a profile of American Olympic weightlifter Sarah Robles.  It was presented by Anne Thompson, who along with Chris Jansing and Kevin Tibbles, represent the Nightly News Axis of Idiocy.  Nightly News--where fawning, obsequious promotional puff pieces pass as news.
***I've got to give Brian and his producers credit.  On this night, Nightly News actually spent more time on non-Olympic stories (11:22) than on Olympic stories (8:34).  I guess you'd call that progress.
Mon. August 6--The lead story was about the shooting in the Sikh temple near Milwaukee.  More specifically, it was about (as Brian put it), "Heroic acts of ordinary citizens."  This is what Nightly News reports on every time there's a shooting, a flood, a tornado, a hurricane--it's their stock story for any disaster.  Instead of reporting the facts of the situation, they use mushy, sentimental drivel to appeal to our emotions because these types of stories cause viewers to be engaged much more so than factual stories.  And that translates to higher ratings, which is what matters most to Brian and his producers.  So at Nightly News, everyone's a hero.
***Even when the Olympics aren't the lead story, they still show up in the broadcast's first segment--a segment traditionally reserved for actual news.  Brian told us that it was "another action-packed day" at the Olympics as he breathlessly described the U.S. women's soccer team's thrilling come-from-behind win over Canada.  And you know it must be true because he wouldn't just say something like that as a way to drive up NBC's prime time Olympic ratings.
***Then, Kevin Tibbles spent 2:40 recapping Usain Bolt's victory in the 100 meter dash the previous night.  Keep in mind that Bolt was already profiled on Saturday's Nightly News.  And let's also not forget that Bolt would still be running the 200 on Thursday, so this was really just a way to keep viewers interested in an upcoming event.  During the story, Tibbles made a point of showing us his own version of Bolt's famous archer's pose.  It was painful to watch.  This is what passes for news at Nightly News.
***Next, Brian spent two-and-a-half minutes on a story about the Mars Rover landing.  Fair enough--it's a legitimate story.  But after that, he spent another 40 seconds talking about NASA flight director Bobak Ferdowsi's mohawk hair style.  Unfortunately, Brian referred to him as Bobak "Fredowski".  Since Brian never misses the opportunity to brag about what a space flight geek he is, you'd think he could take the time to pronounce Ferdowsi's name correctly.  But Brian doesn't care much about proper pronunciation.  On July 24, he repeatedly pronounced Sherman Hemsley's name as "Helmsley".
***Brian spent 20 seconds showing photos of Hillary Clinton visiting Nelson Mandela in South Africa.  While this wouldn't be a big deal for most newscasts, it is extraordinary for NBC because Nightly News rarely reports on sub-Saharan Africa.  Usually, they only report on Africa when Bono or George Clooney visits there on a humanitarian mission.  I guess you can't blame Brian--reporting on Africa doesn't do much to boost his ratings, so why bother?
***Here's an important news story: At the Olympics, they're using a remote-controlled miniature version of a Mini Cooper car to retrieve discuses, pole vaults, shot puts and hammers for the athletes.  Obviously this is important because any Olympic-related story is a way to keep attention focused on NBC's prime time coverage.
***The broadcast ended with Mary Carillo's profile of Oscar Pistorius, who was born without legs and competes in the 400 meter run on carbon-fiber blades.  Now, unlike Chris Jansing or Kevin Tibbles, Carillo is a legitimate journalist.  She's intelligent, witty and compelling.  Her stories are much more than just shameless, bald-faced Olympics promotional pieces.  This story was well-done, but it was actually rehashed from a longer piece that Carillo had already done for NBC's Olympics coverage.  So the Nightly News producers can't take any credit for it.  I guess that's why it was so interesting.
Tues. August 7--Brian, who was still anchoring from London, introduced Richard Engel's report from Syria by saying, "Now to the big story overseas...."  This is the third time in the past week that Brian has mistakenly said that Syria is "overseas" from England.  I think it's about time that Brian got an atlas.  Or a competent producer.
***Brian's obituary for Marvin Hamlisch was really just an excuse to show film clips from "The Sting", "The Way We Were" and "The Spy Who Loved Me".  Brian always shows lots of movie clips on Nightly News because the viewers love to see them.  Entertainment gets much higher ratings than news.  He also showed a clip from "Saturday Night Live" because the death of a famous composer is a great opportunity to plug an NBC entertainment show.  Real classy move, Brian.  I'm surprised he didn't figure out a way to work an Olympics plug into Hamlisch's obit.  Maybe if he had a little more time....
***Brian then took more than a minute to read obits for art critic Robert Hughes and film critic Judith Crist.  No offense to these fine people, but they don't exactly deserve obits on a network newscast.  But Brian likes to report the deaths of critics because it makes him seem smart.  I guess we're supposed to believe that he reads art and film criticism.  Well, at least the Crist obit allowed Brian to slip in a clip from "The Sound of Music".
***We almost made it through an entire broadcast without hearing the idiotic Chris Jansing do one of her fawning, obsequious, ass-kissing Olympics stories.  Almost.  She ended the broadcast with a 3:15 "news report" about how these Olympics represent "The Year of the Woman".  Yeah--we already know that because Nightly News aired a "Year of the Woman" Olympics report on July 24.  So this was just another Nightly news rerun.  Brian and his producers always make a big effort to pander to women in order to boost the broadcast's ratings among the female demographic.  Hence, all the stories about women in the workplace, women in the military, women in the Olympics.  It seems pretty demeaning, if you ask me.  Brian even went so far as to tell us that, "We learned viewership among teenage girls has skyrocketed 55% since the last Summer Games."  Obviously, NBC has devised a strategy to attract female Olympics viewers, and that strategy includes lots of Nightly News stories about female athletes and "The Year of the Woman".  This story included a brief piece on female archery participants, so naturally it featured a clip from "The Hunger Games".  Did you expect otherwise?
***This Nightly News broadcast featured clips from "The Sting", "The Way We Were", "The Spy Who Loved Me", "The Sound of Music" and "The Hunger Games".  When your goal is to pander to viewers (and boost your ratings) by showing movie clips, I'd say that's a successful broadcast.
Wed. August 8--The lead story was the hot weather, because apparently at NBC Nightly News, hot weather in August is important news.  Over at CBS Evening News, they had the nerve to begin the broadcast with election news.  The nerve of them--starting the broadcast with real news.  What were they thinking?
***The next story was about gas prices.  Neither of the two lead stories could be considered anything close to breaking news, but then again, Brian's priority isn't to present breaking news.  His priority is to present stories that will hold an audience and keep them tuned in.  At Nightly News, ratings matter much more than news.
***Soon it was time for the first Olympics story of the day.  Beach volleyball!  Allyson Felix wins gold!  Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells dissed their 100 meter hurdles teammate Lolo Jones because they were jealous of all the attention Jones was receiving!  Then Jones offered a tearful response!  Meow--an Olympic catfight!  German's discus gold medalist Robert Harting celebrated his medal by leaping over hurdles!  Which prompted Kevin Tibbles to say something really stupid: "But I suggest he doesn't want to go up against Usain Bolt."  Why would he?  Bolt doesn't run hurdles.  It seems that Tibbles doesn't know this.  But why would he--Nightly News correspondents like Tibbles and Chris Jansing aren't paid because of their knowledge, they're paid to promote, promote, promote NBC's Olympics coverage.  To that point--job well done.
***Speaking of idiotic reporters--the next story was Anne Thompson's "inspiring story" of U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova.  Look--she's crying!  How emotional!  Newscasts aren't supposed to inspire us, they're supposed to inform us.  But remember--ratings are what matters at NBC, not news.  Just for comparison purposes, this story was given three minutes of news time while Richard Engel's report on Syria was given half that time.  Priorities.
***Brian then spent fifty seconds reporting on Hillary Clinton's dirty dancing in South Africa.  Let's be clear--Brian rarely reports on Africa.  He doesn't care about Africa because it doesn't generate ratings for him.  But when Hillary does some dirty dancing--all of a sudden that's big news.  Just like Germany.  Brian goes months without mentioning Germany (which has Europe's largest economy), but he made sure to report that a waiter spilled beer on Chancellor Angela Merkel (2/28/12 Nightly News).  Brian Williams is a joke.
***Since we already heard from two-thirds of the Nightly News axis of idiocy (Kevin Tibbles and Anne Thompson), it makes sense that we would hear from the remaining one-third: Chris Jansing.  Jansing told us about some "astounding acts of sportsmanship" at the Olympics.  A soccer player consoles her losing rival.  Jordyn Wieber roots for Gabby Douglas after Wieber failed to qualify for the gymnastics all-around competition.  Fans cheer for a rower from Niger who came in dead last.  Liu Xiang is helped to the finish line after injuring his foot in the 110 meter hurdles.  Eventual gold medalist Kirani James exchanges name bibs with Oscar Pistorius after a semi-final heat of the 400 meter run.  Usain Bolt pauses during a TV interview while the U.S. national anthem plays for a medal ceremony.  Naturally, this entire 3:08 story was just another excuse to show hackneyed Olympic reruns and promote NBC's Olympic coverage.  Here's how Jansing ended her story: "It's about the promise in the Olympic oath--pledging competition for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."  Where does she get this idiotic crap--from the back of a Wheaties box?  Jansing is the biggest hack on TV news.
***While Nightly News was spending 8:45 promoting the Olympics, here are two stories they didn't cover: Egyptian President Morsi ordered an air attack on Sinai terrorists, killing 20; and torrential rain and flooding in the Philippines killed 15, forced 250,000 to flee their homes, and submerged half of Manila.  But let's face it--these stories don't matter compared to plugging Olympic coverage on NBC.
Thurs. August 9--Brian decided not to bother wasting time with unimportant bullshit, so he lead with the Olympics.  The idiotic Chris Jansing, sounding like a broken record, again proclaimed the 2012 Olympics to represent the year of the woman.  Maybe if someone smacked her in the head, the phonograph needle in her brain would become unstuck and stop repeating the same thing over and over and over again.  Proving again that she has not an original thought in her, Jansing called Usain Bolt's victory in the 200 meter sprint "a race for the ages".  That doesn't really even mean anything.  The U.S. women's soccer team won the gold medal.  Claressa Shields won a boxing gold medal.  Manteo Mitchell ran his 4x400 lap on an injured leg, which was "an inspirational act of bravery".  Another bit on Oscar Pistorius.  She ended with this gem: "The Olympic spirit--and the excitement--is alive and well at these Games."  Wow, is Jansing an idiot.
***Speaking of idiots, Brian again introduced a story on Syria by calling it "overseas".  This is the fourth time since August 1 that Brian has called Syria "overseas" from England.  Really, it's not.  I'm not kidding.  Look it up.
***Just in case we weren't paying attention to the opening segment about the U.S. women's soccer team, we were treated to a 3:20 story on midfielder Megan Rapinoe.  Thanks.
***After that, Brian spent nearly two minutes on space and aviation-related stories: The Mars Rover, the Morpheus spacecraft, the Shuttle Endeavor, the best on-time performance for airlines.  Brian likes aviation and space stuff, so he gets to report on it as much as he likes.  Who's gonna tell him he can't?
***Going into the final commercial, we heard Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London".  Brian and his producers frequently play pop music because it keeps viewers tuned in and helps the ratings.
***The final story was a four-and-a-half minute unfocused behemoth from Tom Brokaw.  It featured multiple clips of the Royal Family (Will, Kate, Harry, the Queen).  It also featured clips of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, photos of Cary Grant, Judi Dench, Michael Caine and Helen Mirren.  And clips from "Downton Abbey", "The King's Speech", and "Shakespeare In Love".  With lots of commentary from Tracey Ullman.  I guess the purpose of this story was to show the viewers lots of fun British stuff that they really like so they won't change the channel.  Well done.
***This broadcast devoted 11:15 to Olympic-related stories and 8:49 to all other news.  Is that really a newscast? 
Fri. August 10--The lead story about Mitt Romney showed a Democratic PAC ad featuring a man who claims his wife died because his health insurance ran out.  Then we saw a Romney ad which responded by saying, "What does it say about a President's character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman's death for political gain?"  Here's another question: "What does it say about a news anchor's character when his broadcast tries to use the tragedy of a woman's death (or a child's death) for ratings gain?"  Because Brian Williams does that all the time.  He specializes in exploiting people with cancer (especially children) to boost his broadcast's ratings.  Brian has no problem with this because he has no ethics or moral compass.  Anything that will increase his ratings is fair game.  And stories about little children suffering from cancer and other hideous diseases are great for his ratings.  Viewers become emotionally involved with these stories, and that leads to high ratings.  By the way, here's how Brian introduced the lead Romney story: "In a matter of days when the Olympic flame in the stadium behind us here is put out and the non-stop television coverage signs off and the American summer of 2012 continues and thoughts turn to politics--in a matter of days we will know Mitt Romney's choice for a running mate."  Unbelievable.  Even a story about politics is refracted through the prism of the Olympics in order to promote NBC's coverage.  Brian is a shameless huckster.
***A story on the drought included this comment from a Kansas cattle rancher: "We rely on pond water and to get pond water we rely on the man upstairs."  This quote is irrelevant to the story, but Brian and his producers never miss an opportunity to inject Christianity into a news story because pandering to America's Christian majority helps boost the ratings.
***In order to generate interest in the men's and women's relay races being broadcast later on NBC, we were shown a 2:45 story about fumbled baton passes.  By suggesting that a baton may be dropped, the producers are enticing us to watch in the hope that a SNAFU like this may actually happen later.
***Brian spent 30 seconds showing us video of an army blimp--"a rare sight in the skies over the Jersey Shore".  Obviously there is zero news value to this idiotic story, but since it features the army and the Jersey Shore, it's important to Brian.  And that's what really matters--how important a story is to Brian.
***Here's some breaking news: Neil Diamond got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Brian reported this as if it was real news.  I guess that makes sense because on Nightly News, entertainment news is real news.
***For the final four-and-a-half minutes of the broadcast, Brian answered "frequently asked questions" about the Olympics.  Why doesn't sand stick to beach volleyball players?  Why do athletes kiss their medals?  What percentage of gold medalists cry?  What percentage of gold medalists sing along with their national anthem?  And he also offered up some Olympic factual oddities: Bronze medalists may be more satisfied than silver medalists with their medals.  Ireland has a female gold medalist in boxing.  Some medalists are older than 50.  The pace bike at the London velodrome.  BMX bike accidents.  A German diver does a backflop.  The man sitting behind Aly Raisman's parents at the gymnastics competition.  And the most important story of all: Gabby Douglas and her family paid a visit to the Nightly News set and posed with Brian.  Obviously, this wasn't really a story about Douglas--it was a story about Brian.  Because Brian's number one favorite subject to report on is himself.  The news is always about Brian.  By the way, this idiotic "news story" took up a full 20% of the broadcast.  Clearly, Nightly News is about hard news.  No wait, that's not right--Nightly News is about promoting the Olympics.  And promoting Brian Williams.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 7/28/12 Through 8/3/12 (Updated--Full Week)

If you don't know the dominant theme on Nightly News this week, you just haven't been paying attention.  (Hint--it's something to do with the Olympics.)

Sat. July 28--Even though this was a Saturday, Brian Williams anchored the broadcast because he didn't trust Lester Holt to do a good enough job in an Olympic week.  Obviously, Brian believes that he can do a better job--of anything--than anyone else.
***Of course, Brian began the broadcast by reporting the important news that Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps in the 400 meter swimming individual medley.  This was the lead story--not Syria, not the economy, not the drought.  Lochte and Phelps.  As if we needed any further proof that Brian is a carnival barker and snake oil salesman, not a journalist.  And anyone who knows Brian won't be surprised by what he did next: He shamelessly bragged about NBC's viewership for the opening ceremony.  "Last night's dramatic opening ceremony, which it turns out was seen by 40-plus million Americans making it the most-watched of any of the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies."  Real classy move.  But hardly unexpected.  Brian always brags about NBC's ratings, whether it's for the Olympics, the Super Bowl or Nightly News.  He's like the kid you used to know in third grade who was always bragging about how much money his father made or how he got better test scores than you.
***All in all, the broadcast began with 6:50 worth of Olympic stories, including more (much more) on swimming and the other events of the day, a recap of the opening ceremony, clips of the Queen, reaction from spectators and yet more swimming commentary from Dan Hicks.
***After all the Olympic stories, Nightly News then spent a paltry 1:23 on Syria.  But I guess you can't blame Brian and his producers.  After all, Syria doesn't help boost NBC's ratings so it's really of no value to him or his broadcast.  Poor Richard Engel.  Most of the Nightly News correspondents are in London promoting the Olympics, and he's stuck in Syria reporting what has become, for Nightly News, the forgotten, unimportant war.
***Brian then took 25 seconds to report on Mitt Romney's trip to Israel.  Here's how he described Romney's arrival in Israel: "Mitt Romney left London today for Tel Aviv where he is hoping for a better reception than the one he got here after questioning this city's preparedness to host the games in his conversation with US."  So even though Romney is beginning a new news cycle in a new country, Brian is still rehashing Romney's old news simply because it involves Brian.  Brian's rule #1: Any news that involves HIM is much more important than other news, regardless of when it happens.  The news is always about Brian.
***A story about the shootings in Aurora was just an excuse to show lots of crosses and flags.  Because that's what Nightly News is about: Christianity and the good, ol' U.S. of A.  And don't you forget it.
***The next important news item was Matt Lauer's 3:45 interview with Michael Phelps.  Because apparently Nightly News hadn't spent enough time this evening covering Olympic swimming.
***Brian then spent a minute-and-a-half reporting that former Olympic runner Pat Porter was killed in a plane crash, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has entered the Mayo Clinic and a World War II German U-boat was discovered off Nantucket.  Yeah, that makes sense.  On a night when most of your broadcast is devoted to shamelessly plugging NBC's Olympics coverage, you want to make sure to also include some pointless, irrelevant stories.  Especially if one of them allows you to say "Olympics".
***What do you suppose the final story was about?  If you said Africa, you probably don't watch Nightly News that often.  No, the final story was another 3:15 about the Olympics.  Specifically, the Royal Family and the Olympics.  Here's how the idiotic Chris Jansing began her "news report" (talking about Kate Middleton): "She's amazing! She's beautiful, she's charming, she's been a game changer for the Royal Family...."  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's the kind of idiotic, sycophantic drivel that passes for reporting at NBC Nightly News.  Obviously, this entire story was comprised of footage of the Royals (or people talking about them).  And all of it was about Will, Kate, Harry and the Queen, because those are obviously the Royals who bring in the highest ratings for Brian and his broadcast.  When is the FCC going to put an end to this bullshit and shut down Nightly News once and for all?
***Let's recap.  Nightly News spent 13:50 reporting on (translation: promoting) the Olympics, and a total of 5:52 on other stories.  Appalling.  Yet, I doubt that anyone is actually surprised.
Sun. July 29--Brian anchored again tonight, because he obviously feels that Lester just isn't competent enough.  He began the broadcast talking about Mitt Romney, a desperate attempt to try to trick us into believing that he actually cared about something other than the Olympics.  Here's how Brian started the story: "When he was here in London just days ago, in a conversation with US, Governor Mitt Romney said he didn't want to be critical of the President or be fashioning foreign policy, as he put it, while he was on foreign soil."  Absolutely incredible.  No matter what Romney does between now and election day, Brian will begin every single story about Romney by referencing his "conversation with us".  Brian even ordered his producers to include clips in this story of his old interview with Romney because the news is all about Brian.  What Romney said to Brian is old news, but that doesn't matter.  All that matters is that it involves Brian.  Welcome to the biggest fucking ego on TV.
***The Romney story included a clip of Robert Gibbs, who was identified in a Nightly News graphic as an "Obama Campaign Senior ADVISER".  Two days earlier, a clip of Stephen Hadley identified him as the "Former Bush National Security ADVISOR".  Adviser, advisor, whatever.  The Nightly News producers don't care.  They're too busy peddling the Olympics to bother with consistent spelling.
***Almost as an afterthought, we got a 1:44 story about Syria.  I'm surprised that Richard Engel hasn't jumped to another network, considering how little time his important reporting is given at NBC News.
***Okay--enough bullshit.  Time for important stuff.  Here' show Brian began the day's first story about the Olympics: "Now let's switch our attention to this global gathering here in London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games".  What a pompous ass.  And as if listening to Brian wasn't bad enough, we also had to listen to newsmoron Chris Jansing's idiotic ramblings.  Here's how she began her part of the story: "This was a classic day at the Olympics--chills, spills and those stunning upsets."  Who writes that crap?  She is the very definition of a hack.  Of course the recap of the day's events included clips of the Royal Family and Michelle Obama--they're ratings producers.  This idiotic piece was so vapid that it even included an interview with the man who was the Queen's stunt double in Friday's opening ceremony James Bond sketch.  Breaking News!  By the way, the stunt double's name is Gary Connery.  It seems quite amusing that a man involved in a James Bond-themed parody would have the name Connery, but Jansing was too dense to notice or comment on it.
***The next story was--surprise--also about the Olympics.  Beach volleyball is one of the sports that NBC expects will generate huge ratings for them, so there was little doubt that Nightly News would use valuable news time to promote it.  How much time?  3:45.  It was basically a big commercial for Olympic beach volleyball.  With a clip of Will & Kate thrown in, of course.
***Brian took 37 seconds to report the death of William Staub, who had developed the treadmill for home use.  Seriously?  Is this someone who deserves an obit on a network newscast?  No, but Brian gets to do whatever the hell he wants.
***Next, we learned that Gray's Store, which had been operating in Rhode Island for 224 years, would be closing.  I think the producers should have attached a "breaking news" banner to this one.
***Then Brian spent 45 seconds telling us that all the U.S. flags on the moon (except one) are still standing.  Wow am I glad I know that.  Thanks, Brian.
***The final story was a ridiculous three-and-a-half minute piece about the Yeomen Warders (also known as Beefeaters) who patrol the Tower of London and answer visitors' questions.  All of these men were former members of the British military, so as the world's biggest military wannabe, Brian immediately adopted his fawning, sycophantic attitude towards them.  He called them, "The few, the proud, the brave."  And later he said, "These are great men".  No, you ass-kissing idiot.  Winston Churchill, FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr. were great men.  The Beefeaters are basically tour guides.  Brian is such an asshole.
***Nightly News only spent eight minutes on the Olympics this night.  I guess Brian needed the extra time time to report on William Staub, Gray's store and the Beefeaters.
Mon. July 30--Brian continued to report on Mitt Romney's European trip, but only because it allowed him to include himself in the story.  This was the first sentence of Brian's intro: "Mitt Romney tonight continues what was supposed to be a low risk and statesman-like three-nation overseas trip.  Instead, and beginning with HIS CONVERSATION WITH US HERE IN LONDON, it's been controversial."  US.  Almost a week has passed since his interview, but Brian is still milking it and still making the news about himself.  Romney will give an interview to virtually any network that requests one because it's free publicity.  But as far as Brian is concerned, only HIS interview counts.  David Muir of ABC News interviewed Romney on Sunday, but of course Brian never mentioned that interview because it didn't take place on HIS broadcast.
***The Romney story included a clip of Victoria Nuland, who was identified in a Nightly News graphic as being from the "U.S. State Department".  On the previous Wednesday, a Nightly News graphic identified Nuland as being from the "US State Department".  Periods, no periods...whatever.  It doesn't matter.  No one at Nightly News cares about these things.
***Once again, Brian introduced the night's first Olympics story by saying, "Now to this gathering of the world going on--the Olympic Games here in London."  If there was a gold medal awarded for being a pompous ass, Brian would win hands down.  Blah, blah, blah--the day's Olympic events, blah, blah, blah--watch the Olympics on NBC, blah, blah, blah.  And here are some clips of Will, Kate and Harry.  Another idiotic story from the idiotic Chris Jansing.  This was just a 3:40 commercial for NBC's coverage.  After spending days shamelessly plugging NBC's Olympic coverage, does Jansing really think of herself as a journalist?
***Coming back from the first commercial break, the Clash's "London Calling" played.  For some reason, I felt like I just heard that song.  Actually, I did.  The producers also used it on the 7/25 Nightly News.  Even the songs they play are reruns.  Pathetic.
***Brian began the next story by saying, "As the world gathers here in London..."  He just used that phrase a few minutes ago.  He may be the most unoriginal news anchor of all time.  He just uses the same idiotic phrases over and over and over again.
***Before the next commercial, here's how Brian teased a story: "Why emergency rooms are busier these days because of something A LOT OF US are doing these days."  A lot of us.  Of course.  The news is always about Brian.
***The broadcast ended with a 4:15 profile of swimmer Ryan Lochte.  Obviously, they did this because Lochte would be swimming that night and it's the best way to maximize his promotional value for NBC's Olympic coverage.  So on this night, Nightly News spent 7:55 on Olympic stories and 2:22 on Syria.  Nice.
Tues. July 31--After stories in which Brian pretended to care about the blackout in India, the war in Syria and Mitt Romney in Poland, he finally got around to the Olympics.  On the agenda: Michael Phelps, the U.S. women's gymnastics team, the female Chinese swimmer who swam faster than Ryan Lochte and Zara Phillips (the Queen's granddaughter), who shared a team silver medal in equestrian.  Of course, this last story featured clips of Will, Kate and Harry.  What a surprise.
***Next, Brian narrated a 3:35 story about London during World War II.  This doesn't remotely qualify as news, but remember--Brian gets to do whatever he wants.  So not only is Nightly News devoting more than a third of their broadcast to promoting the Olympics, but the remaining two-thirds of the broadcast is being packed with non-news filler.
***Brian took 25 seconds to tell us that Michelle Obama will be given a primetime speaking role at this summer's Democratic National Convention.  Brian puts Mrs. Obama on his broadcast as often as possible because people like her, which means she's great for ratings.
***Brian then reported on the millions of Americans who are watching the Olympics at work when they're supposed to be doing other things.  The message here is clear: It's okay to watch NBC's Olympic coverage at work because lots of other people are doing it, too.  Not very subtle.
***The final story of the night was a fawning 4:15 profile of swimmer Missy Franklin--whose races from that day will be televised later that night in prime time.  What a coincidence.  Since I used the word "fawning", you probably already know that the story was reported by the idiotic Chris Jansing.  Jansing has really carved out a niche for herself doing obsequious ass-kissing stories whose only purpose is to promote NBC's Olympic coverage.  Great job, Chris!  You should be so proud of yourself.
***Brian signed off by letting us know that we could watch Franklin (and lots of other Olympians) later in prime time.  On NBC.  Good thing he said this or otherwise we'd never have known.
Wed. August 1--Brian again introduced the broadcast with his hackneyed and overused phrase of the week: "Good evening from this global gathering here in London."  Anyone care to place bets on how many times he will use the phrase "global gathering" over this two-week period?
***The idiotic Anne Thompson reported another story about the drought, and it was the same as all her previous drought stories.  No new information.  Thank goodness for Wikipedia!  Her story featured a clip of Steve Fleischli, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Unfortunately, a Nightly News graphic identified him as Steve "Fleichili".  That really isn't even close.  Thompson and her producers are morons.
***Here's how Brian introduced the next story: "And overseas we continue to follow this fighting in Syria...."  Someone needs to tell Brian that from London (where he is), Syria isn't "overseas".  In fact, if you use a car ferry or the Chunnel to cross the English Channel, you can drive from London to Syria.
***Brian described Richard Engel as "one of the few western journalists covering the fighting from inside Syria."  That's funny--both ABC (Alex Marquardt & Bartley Price) and CBS (Clarissa Ward & Charlie D'Agata) have reporters inside Syria.  So 100% of Nightly News's competition is also covering the fighting from inside Syria.  Once again, Brian is lying to make his broadcast seem more impressive.
***And now it was time for the first Olympics stories of the night.  Kevin Tibbles spent three minutes telling us all kinds of stuff to make us want to tune in to NBC's coverage later that evening.  Great work, Kevin.
***Brian then introduced a report on the opposition to and support for Chick-fil-A after the company's president took a stand against gay marriage.  During his intro, Brian said this: "Chick-fil-A makes a good product and they do chicken well."  Another on-air endorsement from Brian Williams.  Just like all the other ones he's recently done on behalf of McDonald's, Kraft, Wal-Mart, Chrysler, Starbucks, Cheerios, Bayer, Frito-Lay, Heinz , Nabisco and others (for more specific details about Brian's product endorsements, see the 7/6/12 Nightly Daily blog post).  I guess this message of support also lets us know where Brian stands on gay marriage.
***Next, Brian took 25 seconds to show us a full moon and tell us that since there will be two full moons in August, the second will be a blue moon.  He also made sure to tell us that a blue moon isn't really blue.  Thanks for the clarification.  And thanks for wasting our time with yet another story that has no news value.
***An obit for Gore Vidal was, of course, just an excuse to show a photo of John F. Kennedy and a clip from "Ben-Hur".  And it also gave Brian an opportunity to use the word "polemicist" so everyone can realize just how smart he is.
***The broadcast ended with the idiotic Chris Jansing's fawning, obsequious "news story" about Olympic gymnast John Orozco.  No one kisses ass more shamelessly than Jansing.  I wonder why they would run this particular story on this night.  You don't suppose it has anything to do with the fact that Orozco would be competing later on NBC, do you?  Nah--the Nightly News producers would never use their broadcast to shamelessly promote NBC's Olympic coverage.  Would they?
Thurs. Aug. 2--Brian introduced the broadcast's lead story by telling us that it had been "one of the most momentous days of these Summer Games--big news tonight in two signature sports--swimming and gymnastics."  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the lead story on a network evening newscast supposed to be the most important news event of the day?  Not at Nightly News.  At Nightly News, the lead story is, whenever possible, something self-promotional, like one of Brian's interviews or the Olympics.  In other words, it's the most important news event of the day that took place on NBC.  So Gabby Douglas and Michael Phelps winning gold medals was the lead story, as opposed to something the producers feel is much less important--like Syria or the economy.  And as far as Brian using the word "momentous"--well, that's obviously just another shameless attempt to generate interest in NBC's prime time Olympics coverage in order to drive up the ratings.  That is completely unethical behavior for a news anchor, but it's hardly surprising, as it's common practice for Brian and his producers.
***Brian loves to scare people, because scary headlines are good for ratings.  So the next story was given the huge on-screen title "AIR SCARE".  A couple of departing planes at Reagan National Airport came within a mile of each other.  Close, but not OMG-we're-all-gonna-die close.  At CBS Evening News, this story was mentioned briefly near the end of the broadcast, which seems appropriate.  But Brian has a fixation on air travel, so on his broadcast, this is the second most important story of the day (obviously, if it weren't for the Olympics, the Air Scare story would have been the lead).  Irresponsible to say the least.  But by far my favorite part of the story was how correspondent Pete Williams again refused to return Brian's treacly "Good evening, Pete" greeting with an equally treacly "Good evening, Brian".  As usual, Pete ignored Brian's attempt to friend him on-air and just launched right into his story.  You go, Pete!  Unfortunately, Pete seems to be the only Nightly News correspondent with the balls to ignore Brian's syrupy come-ons.  Every other correspondent responds to Brian with a hearty "Good evening, Brian", or, in the case of extreme ass-kissers like Peter Alexander and Kristen Welker, "Good evening to you, Brian".  Brian just loves to show viewers how much the correspondents like him.  They really, really like him!
***Finally, at the broadcast's ten-minute mark, Brian got around to mentioning Syria.  This was the lead story on CBS's newscast, but it's unfair to make that comparison because CBS Evening News is a legitimate news broadcast, while NBC Nightly News is a promotional vehicle for NBC's sports and entertainment programs.  During this story, an interview with NBC News security analyst Michael Leiter was taped at NBC's Olympics studio, because even a story on Syria should be used to promote the Olympics.  The story also featured a clip of British Prime Minister David Cameron talking with Matt Lauer on "Today" (with the London Olympics logo clearly visible in the background).  If you're going to promote the Olympics during a story on Syria, why not promote the Games twice?  And why not also promote "Today"?
***After the second commercial break, Brian spent 20 seconds showing us photos of Fire Rainbows.  According to Brian, "They are iridescent cloud tops that give out color wavelengths in the sky--and they are beautiful."  And apparently they are also newsworthy, even on a day in which Brian spent nine minutes of his broadcast promoting the Olympics.  Well done, Brian.
***After Brian's enthusiastic on-air endorsement of Chick-fil-A on the previous day's broadcast, he took some more time to report that, "That Chick-fil-A appreciation day yesterday was a huge success...."  I guess that's just in case we somehow were not aware of his avid support for the chain.
***Here's an important story Brian reported: "Still more evidence that folks really are watching these Summer Olympic Games at addiction levels."  Apparently, the city of Los Angeles insisted that city employees stop watching the Olympics at work.  And Netflix's business is down 25% because people are too busy watching the Olympics to order movies!  Still more evidence that Brian Williams is a shameless shill whose only goal for two weeks is to promote NBC's Olympic coverage.
***The final segment of the broadcast began with some photos of Will & Kate enjoying various Olympic sports.  Brian shows Will & Kate every night because he has a raging Royals obsession, specifically for Kate Middleton.  (I've heard some rumors about Kate-like things Brian asks his wife to do in bed, but it would be undignified to mention them here.)  Also, Will & Kate are popular and they help his ratings.  Which is important.  That led right into the final segment about Gabby Douglas, who would be competing for the women's all-around gymnastics medal later that night.  Obviously, they aired this segment because she had already won the gold medal (NBC's coverage was on tape delay).  If Aly Raisman (the other American woman in the all-around final) had won the gold, they would have aired a segment about her.  They will air whichever segment is best able to promote NBC's coverage.  As usual, this was another one of Chris Jansing's obsequious ass-kissing Olympic profiles which was completely devoid of any actual news content.  She is truly sickening and I really wonder how she can look at herself in the mirror without feeling a deep sense of shame over what she does.
***Final tally for the night: 9:00 spent on the Olympics, 10:48 spent on all other news.  Is this a professional news broadcast?
Fri. Aug 3--The broadcast began with a story about jobs and the economy reported by the vapid Anne Thompson.  I don't know what qualifies her to report on this topic, but then again, I don't know what qualifies her to report on any topic.  This story featured commentary from CNBC's Steve Liesman, but unfortunately Liesman was never identified.  Maybe the Nightly News producers think Liesman is such a rock star that everyone knows who he is.  Or maybe they're just really sloppy and don't care about stuff like that.
***As Brian introduced a story on Syria, the "NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt" logo appeared in a box over his left shoulder.  I think this must have been Lester's revenge against Brian for being unceremoniously booted off the broadcast during the first weekend of the Olympics.
***Speaking of which, it was a "spectacular" day at the London Olympics.  How do we know this?  Because Brian said so.  And he wouldn't make up something like that, would he?
***After Brian and Kevin Tibbles spent 2:20 recapping the day's Olympic events, the idiotic Chris Jansing took another 3:20 to tell us that this Olympics represents the year of the woman.  To close the segment, Brian said, "As the parent of a daughter, especially that point about the next generation back home watching all of this as they come up is so crucially important."  Once again, for no reason (other than egotism), Brian has injected his daughter into a news story.  As always, the news is about Brian and his family.  I can assure Brian that no one watching Nightly News gives a shit about his daughter.  Then he said something even stupider: "Chris, great piece of reporting."  I don't know how this garbage can be considered reporting at all, much less "great".  Jansing showed clips of the Olympics and added a voice-over.  That's not reporting, it's rehashing.  And by the way, Nightly News just did a story about female Olympians on July 24, so this was also a rerun.  Shameful.
***Brian then spent 42 seconds telling us about the death of British military historian John Keegan.  Obviously, this is not an obit that belongs on a network newscast, but because Brian has a fawning obsession with the military, he chose to include it.  I think he wants people to believe that he's well-read.
***After that, he took another 45 seconds to report that a Vermont man got angry after being arrested for marijuana possession, so he got in his tractor and crushed the town's eight police cars.  Apparently, Brian understands that amusing stories generate ratings, even if they have no real news value.
***And here's how Brian began the next story: "This is a big weekend for US space lovers and interplanetary aficionados" because the Mars Rover is set to land.  Us.  Once again, the news is about Brian and what HE likes.  Can you say "raging narcissism"?
***Here's some breaking news: Queen Elizabeth didn't tell her grandsons Will or Harry that she was going to be appearing in a James Bond-themed sketch during the Olympics opening ceremony.  Or, as Brian called it, "that opening ceremony SPECTACULAR short film."  That's the second time on the broadcast that Brian used the word "spectacular" to promote the Olympics.  Not only is he an idiot, but his vocabulary is extremely limited.
***Brian ended the broadcast with--surprise--another 2:55 on the Olympics.  He answered some very important questions about things like athletic tape, fingernail designs, Michael Phelps, the Nigerian rower and the trampoline.  I'm awfully glad he cleared those things up.
***Elsewhere in the world, Hillary Clinton called for Sudan and South Sudan to settle their differences over oil and the French government seized the Paris mansion of the son of the President of Equatorial Guinea as part of an investigation into money laundering.  It goes without saying that Nightly News didn't report these stories.  For one thing, Brian and his producers don't report stories about Africa because they don't care about that continent.  Stories about Africa don't help their ratings, so they ignore them.  And for another thing, Brian spent nine minutes shamelessly plugging NBC's Olympic coverage, so there was no time to report actual news stories.  But at least we got to hear about John Keegan, the man who crushed eight police cars and the Queen's acting secrets.  Brian has his priorities, after all.