Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brian Williams Shamelessly Protects Tim Poe And "America's Got Talent"

Anyone who watches Nightly News knows that one of Brian Williams's main objectives is to aggressively promote NBC's sports and entertainment programming.  On Sundays during football season, the final Nightly News story of the evening is almost always about football, in order to promote NBC's Sunday Night Football, which airs right after Nightly News.  But the story isn't just about football in general--it's about one of the specific teams or players that will be playing that night on NBC.  It's a calculated (and sleazy) way to keep the Nightly News audience tuned in to football, which is always the highest-rated program on NBC each week.  And every two years Nightly News turns into a blatant promotional vehicle for the Olympics.  During the 2010 Vancouver Games (including the two weeks before and after the Games), Nightly News aired 160 minutes of Olympic-related stories as a shameless way to boost viewership for their Olympic broadcasts.  And Brian constantly uses Nightly News to promote NBC entertainment shows like "Saturday Night Live", "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon", "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno", "30 Rock" and others by inserting gratuitous clips of those shows during news stories.  One NBC show that has enjoyed Nightly News's promotional muscle over the years is "America's Got Talent".  On 8/11/10, Nightly News aired a 30-second clip of "America's Got Talent" featuring a 10-year-old contestant named Jackie Evancho.  And the next night, NBC News correspondent/shill Kristen Welker shamelessly went even further.  She did a two-and-a-half minute "news story" about Evancho, "America's newest singing sensation" (to use Ann Curry's words) who was again appearing on "America's Got Talent".  Here's how Welker began her story: "America couldn't believe its ears when this very big and seemingly seasoned soprano voice came out of a very small girl on NBC's 'America's Got Talent'".  That's not a news story, it's a promotional spot.  A few months later (12/14/10), Nightly News aired a story about Susan Boyle and Jackie Evancho which also included clips from "America's Got Talent".  And most recently, on the 5/14/12 Nightly News, Brian reported a 2:20 story about a young woman who won first place on "Britain's Got Talent" by dancing with her dog.  Even if that was all there was to the story, it would be a ridiculous waste of time for a news broadcast.  But it was really so much more than that.  Here's how Brian introduced it: "Finally tonight, TV talent shows have become national obsessions.  The new season of 'America's Got Talent' debuts tonight on NBC...."  So Brian used an idiotic story about "Britain's Got Talent" as a way to sleazily promote the new season of "America's Got Talent".  It would seem that Brian reports every bit of news about "America's Got Talent", right?  Wrong.

Here's a story we won't hear Brian report: This past week, an "America's Got Talent" contestant named Tim Poe lied about his military service record in order to sway the judges and make his story seem more heartwrenching and sympathetic to viewers.  He falsely claimed to have suffered a brain injury as a result of being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan in 2009.  He also gave the AGT producers a photo purportedly of himself in Afghanistan that actually turned out to be a photo of another soldier.  But after the U.S. military said there was no record of Poe ever being wounded in Afghanistan, Poe admitted lying about his record.  Brian Williams will never report this story because he doesn't report bad news about AGT.  His job is to protect NBC shows, not to give out bad news about them.

However, you would think that Brian would have a special interest in reporting this story.  On the 2/22/12 Nightly News, Brian reported a story he called "Stolen Valor".  It was about people who lie about their military service (either making up a record that never existed or embellishing an existing record).  Brian always pretends to care about military veterans because that stance brings him good ratings.  So he seemed pretty disgusted with people who lie about their military service.  The "Stolen Valor" story ran for more than three minutes, including a segment with Brian talking to Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs.  So now Brian is faced with an actual case of "Stolen Valor" taking place right in his own backyard--on an NBC entertainment show!  Yet he still refuses to mention the Tim Poe situation because it would bring negative publicity to "America's Got Talent".  That's ridiculous considering that virtually every other media outlet has already reported the story, so most people already know about it.  But that's Brian.  No matter how much negative publicity is out there about Tim Poe, his lips are sealed.  It was the same way in March when NBC News was found to have doctored some of the George Zimmerman 911 tapes.  Other media outlets reported it, but not Brian.  In fact, he still hasn't said a word about it.  As if burying his head in the sand and ignoring the story will make it go away.  That didn't work for the Zimmerman story, and it won't work for the Tim Poe story.  Brian Williams isn't a journalist--he's a sleazy hypocrite.  A spineless weasel.  A pathetic snake oil salesman.  He isn't interested in reporting news, he's only interested in promoting and protecting NBC shows (and advertisers--but that's a subject for a whole other blog entry).  This is why Nightly News has no credibility as a news source.  Everyone knows that Brian's goals are to promote himself and his shows (Nightly News and "Rock Center"), promote NBC sports and entertainment shows, and to aggressively promote and protect NBC Universal's sponsors.  When is the FCC going to force NBC to remove the word "News" from Nightly News?  Better yet, when are they going to shut down Nightly News for good?  Let's hope it's soon.  The American public deserves to be rid of this self-promotional pretend news show.

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