Saturday, July 28, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 7/21/12 Through 7/27/12 (Updated--Full Week)

Remember back in 2010 how Brian Williams pretended to care about the Haiti earthquake until NBC's coverage of the Vancouver Olympics started, after which he forgot all about Haiti?  Well, this time around he's pretending to care about the shootings in Aurora, Colorado until NBC's coverage of the London Games begins.  After that, it's Aurora who?  Here's all the great stuff you may have missed this past week:

Sat. July 21--With the Olympics still a week away, most of the broadcast was devoted to covering the Aurora shootings.  In his live report just past 6:30 eastern time, Miguel Almaguer said, "It's been 24 hours since the shooting...."  Actually, by that time, it had been 40 hours since the shooting.  Someone should buy Almaguer a chronograph.  This story also featured a clip of Savannah Guthrie interviewing one of the people who was in the theater that night.  Obviously, it's the responsibility of the Nightly News producers to use their broadcast to avidly promote Guthrie as the new "Today Show" co-host.
***A story about the continuing debate over gun control featured a clip of U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.  I would like to commend the Nightly News producers for correctly identifying Rep. McCarthy.  On March 17, 2009, a Nightly News graphic misidentified Rep. McCarthy as Rep. Carolyn Maloney.  I guess you'd call that progress.
***A story about people who continued to go to the movies despite the shootings featured clips from "The Dark Knight Rises", "The Avengers", "Spiderman" and "Gangster Squad".  As always, one of the main jobs of the Nightly News producers is to constantly pander to the audience by including movie clips in the broadcast.  After all, movie clips help boost the ratings.
***After the second commercial break (more on that later), anchor Kate Snow said, "We want to check in on some of the day's other news...."  So what do you suppose constitutes "other news"?  The civil war in Syria?  The economic crisis?  The presidential race?  The drought?  Of course not.  At Nightly News, "other news" can mean only one thing--the Olympics.  Stephanie Gosk then spent the next 2:42 telling us how the British have caught Olympic fever.  The torch entered London!  Mayor Boris Johnson gave a speech!  The athletes are arriving!  People are dancing in the streets!  They're rehearsing the opening ceremony!  The rain is gone!  The Sun is shining!  And that's the day's other news.  It's absolutely shameless that in the aftermath of the Aurora shooting, Nightly News is still rabidly promoting NBC's Olympic coverage.  Shameless, but not at all surprising.
***Now that the obligatory nightly Olympics promotion has been taken care of, the final story was about the "outpouring of support" and "acts of goodness" being carried out by the people of Aurora.  This is the exact same type of generic story that Nightly News does after every disaster--flood, hurricane, tornado, whatever.  It features sad music and lots of videos and still photos of people with pensive expressions on their faces.  And flags.  Lots of flags.  Because above all else, the Nightly News producers make a point of using disasters to pander to the flag-waving, NASCAR-loving, God Bless America-singing, middle-American demographic.  After all, what's the point of a mass shooting if you can't use it to boost your broadcast's ratings
***Speaking of acts of goodness, this broadcast featured seven-and-a-half minutes of commercials because shooting or no shooting, there was no way in hell that the Nightly News producers and executives were going to give up all that beautiful, beautiful ad money.
Sun. July 22--Lester Holt (in London) and Kate Snow (in Aurora) put up a decent facade of pretending to care about the Aurora movie theater shooting before Lester got down to what really matters--the Olympics.  It was basically the same story they've been reporting over and over--the torch, the weather, security, Brits have Olympic fever, blah, blah, blah.  One aspect of the Olympics that Nightly News is vigorously hyping is the possibility of a terrorist attack against Israeli athletes in London.  The Nightly News producers are hoping people will tune in to the Olympics looking for such an attack.  That would boost NBC's viewership and really help their ratings.  So during her Olympic story, Michelle Kosinski showed a clip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing the subject of terrorism on CBS's "Face the Nation".  But in keeping with Nightly News's policy of never mentioning other networks, Kosinski refused to mention either CBS or "Face the Nation" by name.  All she said was, "Today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose his words carefully on American television."  Any network other than NBC gets referred to only as "American television" (or a variation such as "late night television") because the Nightly News producers and correspondents are the pettiest sleazebags in all the land.
***Wait!  Stop the presses!  Lester has breaking news!  Michael Jackson's mother was reported missing before she was found safe and sound.  Lester took 34 seconds to report this story.  Earlier, he spent 24 seconds reporting on the crisis in Syria.  So obviously, Michael Jackson's mother is more important than Syria.  Only on Nightly News.  And "Access Hollywood".
***The broadcast ended with a story about Yoko Ono's current art project in London--photos of people smiling.  Of course, this cannot remotely be considered a news story, but that's not important to the Nightly News producers.  Yoko is a celebrity who was married to a Beatle and that's ratings gold.  Not only did Nightly News waste 2:50 on this silly fluff piece, but they also ran four promos (totalling 40 seconds) for this story during the broadcast.  So not only did Michael Jackson's mother get more air time than the Syria story, but Nightly News spent more time promoting the Yoko Ono piece than they spent covering Syria.  Does anyone need further proof that Nightly News is a fucking joke?
Mon. July 23--The lead story about Aurora shooter James Holmes featured a clip of Savannah Guthrie delivering some of her pointless, banal commentary.  Of course, it doesn't really matter what she says, just as long as her face is plastered on the air as a reminder that she's the new "Today Show" co-host.  Hilariously, in this clip, Guthrie was identified as the "NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent" so we know that she's, you know, really smart and not just a bubble-headed morning host.
***Kate Snow's report on the shooting victims was yet another shameless attempt to exploit these poor people for ratings purposes.  Most of the clips in this story had been previously aired over the past few days, but of course that never stops the Nightly News producers.  They show more rerun clips than any other network newscast and they're damn proud of it!
***Michael Isikoff's story about the NCAA's punishment imposed on Penn State's football program featured commentary from Bob Costas.  Costas was reporting from NBC's Olympic studios in London--with the Olympic rings directly behind his head.  Subtle--not.  Nightly News actually reported two stories--totalling five minutes--on Penn State.  The second story was from the idiotic Anne Thompson, whose role at NBC News seems to be continually stating the obvious without introducing any new information on any subject.
***Obviously, Nightly News had to promote NBC's Olympic coverage.  Again, this 2:45 story was the same old stuff they've been reporting for days.  The torch, the London subway system, security--watching these stories over and over is like being in "Groundhog Day".
***Here's some breaking news: If you try to walk across hot coals, you may burn your feet.  This happened at a Tony Robbins motivational event, and Nightly News spent 2:05 telling us about it.  Thanks for the news flash.
***Also on this day, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for bombings that killed 115 people across Iraq--that country's deadliest day in two years.  And President Obama issued a stern warning to Bashar al-Assad against using chemical weapons in Syria's civil war.  Nightly News didn't report either of these stories because obviously they don't meet Brian's definition of important news (meaning these stories wouldn't generate high ratings).  But the broadcast spent a total of fifteen minutes on three stories--the Aurora shootings, Penn State and the Olympics.  Not to mention the Tony Robbins hot coals story.  Yeah--that's responsible journalism, alright.
Tues. July 24--Nightly News continued to exploit the Aurora shootings with another segment about "stories of bravery and survival" and "acts of heroism".  Obviously the producers know that a shot of a victim lying in a hospital bed is great for the ratings.  How do these people sleep at night (I mean the Nightly News producers, not the shooting victims)?
***As Brian introduced the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal presidential poll, there was the obligatory animated U.S. flag waving behind his head.  Because Brian is a real American, goddammit.  I bet he owns a pickup truck and a hunting rifle.  Or at least he'd claim to if he thought it would boost his ratings.
***In his obituary for Sherman Hemsley, Brian mispronounced the actor's name as "Helmsley"--three times.  I guess Brian was too busy trying to be funny--he made sure to use the phrase "DEE-luxe apartment in the sky" and tell us that "Sherman Helmsley [sic]--of the East Side--was 74 years old."  Hilarious.
***In a story about the end of publication for the "Weekly Reader" school magazine, Brian told us that, "Millions of US...grew up on it...."  Us.  As always, the news is first and foremost about Brian.  He should change the name of his broadcast from "Nightly News with Brian Williams" to "Nightly News About Brian Williams".
***Meredith Vieira ended the broadcast with a story about the Olympics.  Apparently, this is the year of the woman.  Or so says NBC in a desperate effort to pander to female viewers.  At least it wasn't another one of Stephanie Gosk's repetitive reports about the torch, the subway, the weather and security.  Of course, it's still shameless promotion--just in a different form.
***Here's some other news that happened on this day: The President of Ghana died and Congolese rebels backed by Rwanda continue to fight government troops.  It goes without saying that Brian didn't report these stories.  He rarely reports stories about Africa because those stories register low interest among viewers.  And if people aren't interested, they'll change the channel (and that hurts the ratings).  So he continues to broadcast his mushy baby food version of the news--heroic shooting victims, celebrity obits and Olympic promos.  Well done, Brian.
Wed. July 25--After rabidly promoting the Olympics for weeks (and in various forms for months), Brian finally arrived in London to start the full-on promotional assault.
***After a story on the Aurora shooting suspect, Brian showed us his interview with Mitt Romney.  Obviously, Romney conducts dozens of interviews every week.  He uses the media to sell himself in the same way NBC uses its networks to sell the Olympics.  Yet Brian is under the impression that HIS interview with Romney (or with anyone) is somehow more incisive than other interviews.  That's hilarious.  Here are some of the hot topics Brian asked Romney about: His Massachusetts assault weapons ban, his income taxes, his religion and his potential vice-presidential pick.  These are the types of dull and unimaginative questions that you would expect from a small market local news reporter, not a network news anchor.  When Brian asked Romney about his VP candidate, he read this quote: "You are looking for an incredibly boring white guy for your vice-presidential nominee.  Can you confirm or deny?"  To which Romney replied, "You told me you were not available."  Oh smack--Romney just dissed Brian!  Amazingly, Brian Williams is one of the few people that can actually make Mitt Romney seem like a dynamic personality.  It should be noted that during this 5:15 segment, Brian spoke for 2:40 while Romney spoke for 2:35.  So as usual, Brian's "interview" consisted of him talking for longer than his subject.  Because the news is always about Brian.  Always.
***Okay, now that the unimportant stuff is finished, time to move onto the Olympics.  Kevin Tibbles, who will shamelessly shill for anything his producers tell him to, presented what amounted to a 3:05 commercial for the Olympics.  Not surprisingly, his "news report" began with women's beach volleyball because women in thongs and bras is one of NBC's major selling points for their Olympic coverage.  There's nothing like soft-core porn to sell sports (except maybe hard-core porn and I'm sure NBC is busy working on that for the 2016 Brazil games).  Tibbles's report included the same old topics that Nightly News has been reporting on: security, doping, social media.  At one point, Tibbles interviewed a Chilean cyclist who was identified in a Nightly News graphic as "Paolo Munoz".  Actually, her name is "Paola".  You'd think that the network broadcasting the Olympics could take a moment to get the athletes' names right.  Obviously not.
***Next, we got another story on the heat and the drought.  Actually, it was the same story Nightly News has been reporting all summer.  At one point in the story, we heard this comment from a person-on-the-street in St. Louis: "Oh it's hot.  It's real hot."  Ya think?  I guess the producers felt that this comment would help to inform and enlighten the viewers.  But then again, come to think of it, I don't think that's ever their goal.
***Heading into the commercial, we heard The Clash's "London Calling".  Brian and his producers frequently use pop songs to pander to the viewers' appreciation for music because it boosts their show's ratings.  And of course, Brian likes to show how cool he thinks he is by playing songs by niche bands.
***A story about Kim Jong-un's new mystery wife featured a clip of Kate Middleton at her wedding.  Brian includes Kate as often as possible in his broadcast because people love her and thus are likely to keep watching Nightly News.  Just another ratings gimmick from the slickest weasels in the news business.
***In the Kim Jong-un story, Victoria Nuland was identified as a spokesperson for the "US State Department"--with no periods after "US".  Earlier, during the Olympics story, several athletes were identified as being from the "U.S. Men's Gymnastics" team and the "U.S. Women's Volleyball" team.  So I guess the producers use periods when they feel like it.  Periods, no periods whatever.  This is not a professional newscast.
***Here's some breaking news: An 11-year-old Manchester boy stowed away on a flight to Rome.  Although I can't blame him for wanting to get out of Manchester, this hardly qualifies as news. 
***The final story of the night was about members of the U.S. Olympic Sailing team who are being trained by Navy Seals.  It was reported by the fawning and obsequious Chris Jansing, who may be even more of a shill than Kevin Tibbles.  This story focused on two of Brian's favorite things: Promoting the Olympics and his sycophantic obsession with the U.S. military.  I think that he must have come in his pants while watching.
***Here are some stories Brian didn't report: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before a U.S. House Financial Services Committee.  A carbomb killed five police officers in Thailand.  And in Syria, the battle for Aleppo intensified as Assad began using his air force against civilians.  Brian ignored these stories, but at least he told us all about the 11-year-old stowaway, Navy Seals and the heat in St. Louis.  And the Olympics.
Thurs. July 26--The big story on Nightly News this evening was about...Brian Williams.  According to Brian, "The backlash here in London over what Mitt Romney said to us here yesterday about the Olympics--it erupted today in public and now the question is: How did a Romney campaign overseas trip end up offending so many people here in London?...Something Mitt Romney said during our conversation with him here yesterday exploded here in London today and actually caused a lot of tension with the British Prime Minister."  This story--about Romney's comments regarding London's preparedness for the Games--took up 4:36 of valuable news time.  Obviously, the story wasn't about Romney, but rather it was about that fact that his comments were made to Brian.  Let's be clear: There's nothing Brian likes reporting on more than himself.  It's sad and pathetic that Brian would make himself the lead story of his own broadcast, but I guess it's not surprising for an anchor who has the biggest ego in all of television.  And after that story, Brian spent another two minutes talking about his interview with Romney and showing more clips.  Brian finished up with a full-screen promo for Romney's appearance on the following day's "Today Show", because Brian is desperate to extend this story about himself for as long as possible.  So Brian spent a total of six-and-a-half minutes--more than a quarter of the broadcast--reporting on himself.  What an appalling display of narcissism.
***Next, he told us about storms in the northeast.  Every night, without fail, Nightly News devotes two, three or four (or more) minutes to the weather.  Why?  Several years ago, NBC spent $3.5 billion to buy the Weather Channel.  And in order to justify this huge expense (and promote their property), the NBC weasels require Brian to devote a chunk of his broadcast to the Weather Channel each night.  Obviously, weather is a local issue and people get their weather information from local news stations.  But at NBC News, weather is seen as a profit center, and there's nothing more important than profit.  By the way, one of NBC's partners in the Weather Channel acquisition was Bain Capital.  That would explain Brian's softball questions to Romney in their recent interview.
***After a perfunctory 90 seconds on Syria, Brian got around to the big story: "Less than 24 hours to go now until the opening ceremony.  The Olympic flame took a majestic victory lap today, all around this beautiful city."  Excuse me, I have to go vomit.  The idiotic Chris Jansing then spent two-and-a-half minutes following the Olympic torch around London and asking British people what they thought of it.  Exciting.  Naturally, there were the obligatory shots of Will, Kate and Harry because Brian is obsessed with the Royal Family (and they bring in good ratings).  And Michael Phelps was featured because as one of the faces of the Olympics, Nightly News is using him to try to maximize NBC's Olympic viewership.  Chris Jansing is like a trained seal.  Her producers tell her what to do and what to say, and she does it.  I wouldn't be surprised if they throw her a fish each night after her story is done.
***For the second straight day, Brian reported on the 11-year-old kid who stowed away on a flight from Manchester to Rome.  Obviously, focus groups indicated that they liked this story so it was featured on the broadcast for another day.  That's the way Brian and his producers operate.  Stories make it onto the air based not on news value (obviously), but on their ability to generate ratings. 
***The broadcast ended with Brian's interview with composer John Williams, who composed the Olympic theme.  But most of the segment involved John Williams playing another of his compositions--a piece called "The Mission", which Brian had specifically requested.  Why this piece?  Because it's better known as the Nightly News theme music.  This report was an excerpt from a longer story that would be appearing later on "Rock Center".  So basically this "news story" consisted of Brian appearing on-screen while the Nightly News theme music was being played as Brian plugged his show "Rock Center".  Where does he get the fucking nerve to be so pompously and arrogantly self-promoting?  If this wasn't a news broadcast, I'd think it was a "Saturday Night Live" sketch about the world's most egocentric news anchor.
***Elsewhere in the world: In northern Pakistan, a bomb exploded at a busy market, killing eleven people.  The wife of a formerly powerful Chinese politician was charged with murdering a British businessman.  And Congolese civilians are fleeing to avoid being killed by fighting between rebels and government forces.  Brian didn't report any of these stories, but he told us all about HIS interview with Romney, the Olympics and (for the second consecutive night), the 11-year-old stowaway.  Why is this man allowed to anchor a news broadcast?
Fri. July 27--Do I really need to say it?  The first 5:50 of the broadcast was devoted to the Olympics because at NBC, promoting their Olympic coverage is far more important than anything else going on in the world.  Brian used the word "spectacular" twice in less than 40 seconds to describe the opening ceremony because he's kind of shallow and his vocabulary really isn't all that large or varied.  Chris Jansing offered her usual litany of pseudo-feel-good moments and opening ceremony teases as part of her desperate attempt to get us to watch the festivities later on NBC.  And just when you thought she couldn't get any more shameless, she then began reading tweets and posts from people who had already seen the ceremony (due to the five-hour time difference between the U.S. east coast and London, the opening ceremony was well underway).  Then there was another minute-and-a-half story about Michelle Obama giving a pep talk to U.S. athletes.  That's extra good for ratings because Mrs. Obama is popular in her own right, but even more so as part of an Olympic story.  Both of these stories featured the exact same clip of Mrs. Obama greeting Will, Kate and Queen Elizabeth.  The Nightly News producers are notorious for using the same clips over and over and over again.  And they're not the least bit concerned about doing it.
***Speaking of which, the next story was about Mitt Romney "trying to right the ship after he questioned the city's preparedness for the games during OUR interview with him which drew the full-on heat of the British press, the Prime Minister and members of the British public."  So the story wasn't so much about what Romney said as it was about the fact that he said it to Brian Williams.  That's what really matters.  The story also featured a 25-second clip of Romney talking to Matt Lauer, because promoting "Today" is one of the Nightly News producers' most important jobs.  And this "Today" clip also included Romney picking Michael Phelps over Ryan Lochte, because promoting the Olympics is still paramount.
***After the first commercial break, Mary Carillo was brought in to preview the Olympics.  Without a doubt, Carillo is far too intelligent to be on Nightly News, but let's face it--this was just another 2:20 promotion for the Olympics.  This was one of Brian's "questions" to Carillo: "You and I both have kids--they say the Olympics is the last event that puts families together watching something.  What is that?"  Obviously, this was Brian's not-too-subtle way of telling parents that they should make their kids watch the Olympics.  And of course he threw in a reference to his kids, because the news is always about Brian and his family.  Anyone who watched this segment was probably thinking the same thing I was thinking: Carillo should be anchoring Nightly News and Brian should be her assistant.
***Here's some breaking news Brian reported: The taunted bus granny is retiring.  This is the fourth story that Nightly News has reported about this woman.  I wonder if the 11-year-old Manchester-to-Rome stowaway will get that many stories.  Probably.
***Brian ended the broadcast with a 4:25 story about the 1948 London Olympics, because that's a good way to promote the 2012 Olympics.  Naturally, he signed off with a "reminder" to watch the opening ceremony later on NBC.  If there was a gold medal for shameless hucksterism, Brian would win hands down.
***Brian didn't mention Syria on the broadcast, but when you show twelve-and-a-half minutes of Olympic-related promotional stories, there isn't much time left for actual news reports.  But at least he told us about the taunted bus granny.  And his kids.  Great job.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 7/14/12 Through 7/20/12 (Updated--Full Week)

The big news on NBC Nightly News this week?  Springsteen and the Olympics.  Here's some of the other important stuff you may have missed:

Sat. July 14--Rerun queen Janet Shamlian did yet another story about the drought's impact on the Southwest.  This is Shamlian's third story on this subject in the past week and it was virtually identical to the previous two.  She again used previously-aired footage (nearly a week old) of corn farmer Josh Ibendahl and cow farmer Karen Haralson.  And in keeping with the Nightly News policy of never identifying a person the same way twice, Ibendahl was described in a Nightly News graphic as a "Corn Farmer", whereas during the July 9 story, he was identified only as a "Farmer".  Haralson was identified as a "Cattle Rancher", but on July 9, she was an "Arkansas Cattle Rancher".  Whatever.
***Lester Holt told us about all the rain in London.  Now why would he do that?  Perhaps so he could talk about the Olympics?
***Then he reported the important story about two Oregon men who went for a ride in the sky by attaching helium balloons to lawn chairs.
***After that, we heard about a British farmer who planted trees in the shape of a heart to honor his deceased wife.
***The final story of the night was a "Making A Difference" piece about a man who founded an organization that takes pictures of kids with cancer.  Nightly News loves to exploit kids with cancer because it gets them high ratings.  This story featured plenty of shots of sick kids and tearful parents.  These emotional, tear-jerker stories have zero news value, but the producers aren't concerned with news--they're only concerned with ratings.  And they don't care how they get them.  Shame on the Nightly News producers for using these kids as ratings props.
Sun. July 14--In a story about the Sunday morning talk show war of words between the Obama and Romney campaigns, Mike Viqueira refused to mention CNN's "State of the Union"--he only referred to it as "another program".  The exact same thing happened on the July 9 Nightly News--they refused to mention CNN's "State of the Union" by name.  This happens frequently on Nightly News--they refuse to mention competing programs for fear that it will hurt ratings for NBC shows.  This gives us a whole new meaning of "petty".
***We then got 45 seconds of stories on "Lightning Deaths", "Deadly Floods" and "Freak Tornadoes".  Based on these sordid story titles, viewers might conclude that Nightly News is exploiting the weather for sensationalist ratings.  But of course, they would never do something like that.
***The Weather Channel's Kim Cunningham then spent more than a minute talking about dew points.  I'm not sure if I can stand all that excitement.  I don't know what a dew point is, and I don't really care.
***This next story was really breaking news.  At a London concert, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen had their microphones shut off because the show ran longer than the allotted time.  Obviously, this isn't a story that deserves any time on a network newscast.  But the Nightly News producers don't care.  They don't make any distinction between entertainment news and actual news.  Entertainment news is good for ratings, so Nightly News has become indistinguishable from shows like "Extra" and "Access Hollywood".  And I think it's pretty obvious who was responsible for getting this silly story on the air.  Everyone knows that Brian Williams has a pathetic, obsessive Springsteen fetish and uses any excuse to put the object of his man-crush on Nightly News.  There's no doubt that he gave the order.  So how much time did Nightly News waste on this "news story"?  Twenty seconds?  Thirty Seconds? Actually, it was 2:15.  Appalling and irresponsible.  By the way, for comparison purposes, on this night, Nightly News spent 1:20 reporting on Syria.  It's clear where the producers' priorities lie.  Also, it should be noted that this story ran in the broadcast's first segment, which is traditionally reserved for important news stories.  So much for that.
***After that, Lester reported a story about the Tour de France.  What a coincidence--the Tour is being televised on the NBC Sports Network.  But I'm sure that had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to report this story.  Nothing whatsoever.
***Lester then spent an interminable three minutes reporting a story about Booker Wright, an African American man who spoke out about race relations in 1960's Mississippi.  Interesting, but not news.  As it turns out, this story was just a promo for a longer "Dateline" piece that Holt would be presenting later that evening.  A Nightly News anchor using valuable news time to selfishly promote his own prime time show?  It seems that Holt has learned a valuable lesson from Brian Williams, the master of self-promotion.
***The final story was such a benign piece of idiotic garbage that it makes the Springsteen story seem like Peabody material.  It was about the search for the new Benji.  That's right--two-and-a-half minutes of dog videos.  Naturally, it also included clips from old Benji movies, as well as film clips of Rin Tin Tin, Lassie and other big-screen dogs, like Marley and Uggie.  Incredibly, the producers even had the gall to insert clips from "Avatar", "Transformers" and other non-dog movies into this story!  We all know that one of the producers' sleazy ratings tactics is to frequently insert movie clips into their stories to boost viewership, so this really isn't all that surprising.  Even Mike Taibbi got in on the dog-exploitation act.  During one segment of the story, he had a dog perched on his lap.  This happens a lot in Nightly News stories.  Recently, Anne Thompson and Stephanie Gosk also used prop dogs in their stories.  By the way, throughout the broadcast, we were shown four promos--totalling thirty seconds--for the Benji story.  Imagine--they could have reported an actual news story in just the time they wasted on promos for the Benji story.  But of course they didn't.  Why would they?  Dogs get better ratings than news.
***So let's recap. On this broadcast, the producers wasted 8:15 on idiotic, pointless or benign stories about Springsteen, Booker Wright and Benji.  Don't Nightly News viewers get sick and tired of being treated like idiots by the Nightly News anchors and producers?  Why are they accepting this?  Why aren't viewers marching on 30 Rock with torches and pitchforks demanding that Nightly News show actual news instead of garbage?  Occupy 30 Rock!
Mon. July 16--A story about the "War of Words" between the Obama and Romney camps was virtually identical to Sunday's story--even using many of the same clips.  And not surprisingly, Peter Alexander was still milking his interview with Romney from the previous Friday.  A three-day-old interview isn't of much value, but no one at Nightly News seems to care.  As Brian introduced this story, he had the obligatory animated flag waving behind his head because he loves to exploit the flag and show people that he damn well loves America.
***Later, we got a nearly-two-minute report about the Olympic athletes arriving in London.  Is there any aspect of the Olympics that Nightly News will not report on?  Clearly, no.
***Brian then took 25 seconds to announce that was now  There's nothing Brian likes reporting on more than himself and his network.
***Well--almost nothing.  Brian took 25 seconds to tell us about the "Spectacular Northern Lights".  This was the tenth story on the Northern Lights that Brian and his cronies have reported this year, and that's in addition to all the other stories they have also reported on eclipses, asteroids, meteors, planets, solar flares, the space station, the space shuttle and the Supermoon.  Isn't it great when you have your own news broadcast and you can report on all the things you personally like and call them "news"?
***Brian spent 30 seconds reporting the death of Stephen Covey, author of the self-help book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".  Really?  He gets an obit on Nightly News?  I guess it's easier than reporting real news.
***Speaking of real news: Brian then spent 36 seconds telling us about how Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen had their microphones shut off at a London concert.  What's that you say?  Nightly News already spent 2:15 on this story Sunday?  You can't possibly imagine that that matters.  On Nightly News, Springsteen gets precedence.  Because Nightly News is about what Brian likes.
***The broadcast ended with a story about new recordings selected for the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.  Is this news?  Of course not.  It was just an opportunity for Brian to pander to viewers (and help his ratings) by playing popular songs by Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Bob Dylan.  Oh, by the way, the story also included an audio clip (and photos) of Bruce Springsteen singing "Born to Run".  So that's the second story this night to feature Springsteen.  Nightly News didn't report any stories about Syria, but Springsteen was featured twice.  Is there any doubt at all that Brian Williams is a fucking joke?
Tues. July 17--The lead story about the effects of the drought was titled "Deep Impact".  The Nightly News producers frequently give their stories the titles of movies, TV shows or songs because recognizable titles keep viewers tuned in and stop them from changing channels.  Another ratings gimmick from the producers.
***Just in case we didn't know how many days there were until the Olympics, Brian made sure to tell us that there were ten days until the Games begin.  And just for good measure, Stephanie Gosk told us again during her story so we can start programming our DVRs.  This was another report about Olympic security.  A cynical person might conclude that the weasels at NBC are actually rooting for a Munich-like terrorist attack, because as the network with the greatest number of people and resources in London, NBC would be in the best position to cover such an event.  And that would boost NBC's ratings.  Good thing I'm not a cynical person.  At the end of the report, Brian again told us that there were "ten days and counting" until the Games.  So that's three times in two minutes that we were told how many days until the Olympics.  I think we got it.
***Brian then told us about a NYC bus driver who caught a 7-year-old girl who fell from a third-story window.  We're all glad he was there to catch her, but this trite story is local news--it certainly doesn't belong on a network newscast.  This type of thing probably happens every day somewhere in the country.  It's sad that Nightly News is now relying on WNBC, the local NBC affiliate, for news stories.  I think it's just a case of laziness.  The story has already been produced and reported by a local correspondent.  All she has to do is put a new signoff on the end, and voila--instant story at no extra cost.
***Brian spent nearly a minute reading an obit for former Washington Post columnist William Raspberry.  This isn't really a story for a national broadcast, but Brian likes pretending that he reads newspapers and that he is part of the literary elite.  Except when he's pretending to be a blue-collar, working class regular guy.  He pretends to be different things to target different audience demographics.
***Air conditioning celebrated its 110th birthday, so apparently this merits 35 seconds of coverage on Nightly News.
***Then he reported the important story about the President and Mrs. Obama being featured on the Kiss-Cam at an Olympic basketball exhibition game. 
***I know what you're thinking--not even an asshole like Brian Williams has the balls to report on the Springsteen microphone shutoff kerfuffle for three days in a row.  Wrong.  This night, he took 35 seconds to tell us that Springsteen played his next scheduled concert in Dublin and his microphone wasn't shut off.  So over the past three days, Nightly News spent 3:25 reporting on Springsteen and 2:35 reporting on Syria.  Are we supposed to believe that Brian Williams is a professional network news anchor?  We certainly wouldn't know it from the stories he reports.
***The "Making A Difference" report this night was about a New Jersey woman who rescued a dog from a shelter and then returned it to its rightful owners in Georgia.  It's truly amazing that this kind of crap is what passes for news on Nightly News.  But as we all know, real news doesn't get high ratings.  Lost dog stories get high ratings.
Wed. July 18--At the top of the broadcast, Brian teased the lead story on Syria by asking, "Is this the final stage in the civil war?"  Funny thing--I can actually remember a time when anchors answered questions instead of asking them as a way to generate interest and ratings.
***Here's how Brian introduced Andrea Mitchell's analysis of the bus bombing that killed five Israelis in Bulgaria: "Andrea, I have to say the world nine days from now is gonna gather in London for the Olympic Games and the last thing the world needs is tension in this area involving Israel and Iran."  Unbelievable.  He used a terrorist bombing to plug the Olympics.  Brian Williams is a truly man without shame.
***In the obligatory story about the "Wild Weather", Brian introduced Jim Cantore as "Our friend" because Brian is desperate to make viewers believe he's well-liked by NBC News and Weather Channel correspondents.  That's not what I hear.
***A story about the drought was identical to all the other drought stories Nightly News has done over the past week.  These drought stories are this month's "gas prices" stories.
***Brian told us that Canadians now have a higher average net worth than Americans.  Fortunately, super-wealthy Americans like Brian are trying to tilt the balance back to the U.S.
***Here's a breaking news story--a monkey in Borneo seemed to be smiling as his photo is captured by a hidden camera.  I'm surprised this wasn't the lead story of the night.  This was part of Brian's commentary: "But it certainly appears the monkey seems to know exactly what's going on here."  So this is what Brian considers responsible journalism?  Implying that monkeys have a human-like consciousness?  Appallingly inappropriate.
***The broadcast ended with a story about Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday.  Nothing wrong with that--it's a legitimate story.  But every time Nightly News does a story about Mandela, I'm reminded of Brian's 7/12/10 Daily Nightly blog post, where he spelled Mandela's last name as "Mandella".  How much respect could Brian have for Mandela if he can't even spell his name correctly?
Thurs. July 19--The lead story about the whooping cough outbreak was really just an excuse to show lots of close-up shots of sick babies.  This is one of Brian's favorite tricks to boost his ratings--playing to the viewers' emotions.  Shots of sick kids appeal to the viewers' sense of sorrow and keeps them tuned in.  It's difficult to watch, but we can't turn away.  The last time Nightly News did a story about sick kids?  Five days earlier, on Saturday (see above).  It's a regular recurring theme on Nightly News.  This story also featured a clip from a whooping cough Public Service Announcement featuring NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.  The use of Gordon's PSA clip on Nightly News was no coincidence--it was also a carefully-planned part of Brian's ratings strategy.  He makes a point of aggressively trying to pander to the NASCAR demographic because that's a lucrative group from a ratings and advertising standpoint.  It's part of Brian's secret coded message that tells the viewers, "I'm a beer-drinkin', flag-wavin', country music lovin' NASCAR fan just like y'all!"
***The story about Syria was titled "On The Brink".  They use this ridiculous generic title for so many different stories they should copyright it. 
***Lisa Myers spent 2:12 reporting on a General Services Administration awards ceremony that cost taxpayers $268,000.  Is this really news?  That amount is excessive, but it only represents a fraction of one percent of the total GSA budget.  Isn't there any other news to report?
***Peter Alexander spent a minute-and-a-half reporting on Mitt Romney's five sons.  In truth, this was just a promo for a longer piece that would be appearing on "Rock Center" later that night.  More shameless self-promotion from circus ringmaster Brian Williams.  Throughout the entire story, the "Rock Center" logo was displayed in the lower right corner, and Brian ended the piece with an outright plug for his show (accompanied by a full-screen "Rock Center" promo still).  I don't know how much good all this promotion actually did--"Rock Center" was creamed in the ratings by a "Person of Interest" rerun.
***Newsshill Anne Thompson spent more than two minutes reporting on an attempted child abduction in Philadelphia.  We're all glad that the abduction failed, but this is a local story, not a national one.  My favorite part of this story: Thompson and her producers showed us just how shameless they are by inserting a clip from NBC's "Law & Order: SVU".  How classy--using an attempted child abduction to plug an NBC entertainment show.  Thompson is without a doubt one of the biggest weasels on network news.
***Brian spent 33 seconds narrating the obituary for Tom Davis, who was a writer, performer and producer on "Saturday Night Live".  For comparison purposes, when Israeli statesman Yitzhak Shamir died on June 30, Nightly News spent 27 seconds reporting his obit.  So Davis got a longer obit than Shamir.  The times spent on those respective obits may seem out of proportion--but we must consider that Shamir never worked for an NBC television show.
***Here's a breaking news story: A wrongly-convicted man who spent 27 years in prison got to sing the National Anthem at a Tampa Bay Rays game.  Yes, Nightly News is a serious news broadcast.
***The final story was a two-minute "news report" about the new Batman movie.  This means one of two things: Either the Nightly News producers ran this piece as a big "thank you" to Warner Brothers for all the advertising dollars they've spent with NBC networks over the years, or else Warner Brothers actually paid NBC to have this "news story" run on Nightly News.  Either way, it's another sleazy move by Brian and his producers.  The story featured 45 seconds of clips from "The Dark Knight Rises".  That's not a news story--it's a movie trailer.  And just for good measure, the producers threw in a clip of Prince Harry at the movie's London premier.  Because Prince Harry is good for ratings.  And when you put Prince Harry together with Batman--that's a ratings bonanza.
***Brian ended the broadcast with--surprise--another shameless plug for "Rock Center".  Who woulda guessed?
Fri. July 20--The entire broadcast was devoted to the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.  Fair enough--all three networks followed that format.  Here's how Brian began the broadcast: "It's one of those huge multiplex theaters, it's in this community, it's the same kind ALL OF US go to...."  All of us.  Of course.  Because the news is always about Brian.  Always.
***He later said, "When WE arrived on the scene this afternoon, WE immediately had a conversation with one of the witnesses...."  Obviously, "we" means "me"--as in me, Brian.  For the next 2:52, Brian did interview one of the witnesses who was in the theater.  And every shot of the witness was a two-shot that also included Brian.  He was in every shot she was in!  Is there any other news anchor so desperate to be on-camera, and so shameless in the way he goes about it?  Clearly, no.
***The rehabilitation of Ann Curry has officially begun.  For the first time since being fired, she appeared on Nightly News doing what she does best--pretending to care.  She interviewed a young couple that had been in the theater--all the time wearing her fake look of concern.  She even got some face time standing next to Brian, which is pretty funny considering how invisible Curry was when Brian was vigorously promoting Savannah Guthrie's ascension as the new "Today" co-host.  Brian ended his chat with Curry by promoting a "special hour of 'Dateline'" that would be airing later that night.
***During Anne Thompson's story about the national and international implications of the shooting, she made sure to show a clip of the Olympic torch arriving in London.  Because even during a report on a mass shooting, NBC still has to plug the Olympics.  How do these people sleep at night?
***As usual, Pete Williams refused to say "Good evening, Brian" when Brian introduced him with a treacly "Good Evening. Pete."  It's obvious that Pete doesn't really like Brian.  Who can blame him?
***Brian ended the broadcast with yet another plug for the "Dateline" special later that evening.  I'm sure Brian was wishing that the shooting had taken place on Thursday, so he could have used it to boost his "Rock Center" ratings.  No such luck.
***During this broadcast, Nightly News still managed to show eight minutes of commercials.  So I guess no one at NBC News had any qualms about profiting from the shooting.  Why is that not at all surprising?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 7/7/12 Through 7/13/12 (Updated--Full Week)

There was lots of important news breaking on Nightly News this week.  Mars & the Sun.  Tom & Katie.  Kate & Pippa.  Becks & Posh.  The Olympics & more Olympics.  Here's what you may have missed:

Sat. July 7--Instead of just reporting on the heat, Nightly News is now reporting on the "Dangerous Heat".  Because when you put the word "Dangerous" (or "Deadly") in front of something, you get better ratings.  And let's face it--ratings are all the Nightly News producers care about.
***During a story about Stockton, California filing for bankruptcy, the producers put up an on-screen list of local government entities that had also filed for bankruptcy around the country.  "County Hospital SC" was listed twice.  Was it an erroneous double listing or were there two different hospitals that filed for bankruptcy?  We don't know because it was never explained.  Typical.
***Breaking news!  Shark sightings off Cape Cod.  Well, duh.  It's the ocean and that's where sharks are usually found, geniuses.  Another pointless report from the idiotic Anne Thompson, whose job seems to be hanging out in nice vacation spots where she can have a fun time.  Naturally, the producers inserted a gratuitous clip from "Jaws" because it just isn't possible to report a story without using one or more movie clips.  (They also used a "Jaws" clip during the intro at the top of the broadcast because the Nightly News producers don't know the meaning of the word "overkill".  Unless it's part of a sensationalistic story title.)
***More breaking news--it's the running of the bulls in Pamplona.  I think the Nightly News producers really missed a golden opportunity.  Instead of separate stories about sharks and bulls, they should have shown a story about sharks and bulls fighting.  That's what the viewers really want to see and that's a story that would have generated high ratings.  Soon, one can only hope.
***The "Making A Difference" report this night was about former NFL star Tra Thomas who trains and mentors Camden teens.  That's nice, but this isn't news so why is this on a news broadcast?  I'll tell you why--because it's less than two months until the start of the NFL season.  And Sunday Night Football is NBC's highest-rated program.  So this story is just a way to whet viewers' appetites for football.  It's a promo for NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcasts.  It's as simple as that.  This isn't rocket science, people.
***Nightly News spent 26 seconds this night reporting on the Libyan elections--less time than they took to report that Serena Williams had won Wimbledon.  Obviously, the producers have their priorities.
Sun. July 8--Not surprisingly, the lead story was the "Extreme Heat".  Lester Holt told us that since June, 66 people have died from the heat.  Meanwhile, on ABC's World News that night, they reported the death toll at 35.  Hmmm...who should we believe?  The sensationalistic liars at NBC or the journalists at ABC.  I think I'll go with ABC.  Just call it a hunch.
***After the "Extreme Heat", we saw a report about the "Deadly Floods" in Europe.  Is there any doubt that Nightly News is the Daily News of network newscasts?
***Next, there was a 2:05 story about the Wimbledon men's final.  But that wasn't really what the story was about.  We saw clips of Kate & Pippa Middleton and Becks & Posh.  Cool!  And Annabel Roberts made sure to tell us that Wimbledon would be the site of the Olympics tennis competition in less than three weeks.  I've forgotten--which network is televising the Olympics?  Oh now I remember--it's NBC.
***Okay, that story may have been frivolous, but now it's time for some real news.  And here it is:  A report about adult outdoor playgrounds used for fitness training.  Adults go there and work out.  That's really it--that's the story.  No wonder the producers gave this story two-and-a-half minutes of news time.  I hope the Peabody Evaluation Committee members were watching this gem.
***In keeping with the theme of hard news, we next saw a story on ATV safety.  In 2010, 55 kids younger than 16 were killed in ATV accidents.  I'm surprised they didn't title this story "Deadly ATVs".  There's another two-and-a-half minutes of my life that I'll never get back.
***Lester then took 30 seconds to tell us about the death of Ernest Borgnine.  Fair enough--an accomplished Oscar-winning actor like Borgnine deserves an obit on Nightly News.
***The final story was a 2:15 piece about a viral YouTube clip in which a 32-year-old director interviews his 12-year-old self.  Clever, but certainly not news.  Then again, the Nightly News producers aren't at all concerned with what's news and what's not news.  They're only concerned with getting the highest ratings, and stories about viral YouTube clips get the job done nicely.  If five million people watch a clip on YouTube, that's a pretty good reason to show it on Nightly News.  The producers figure that should translate to a lot of TV viewers.  This particular story was given the title "Back to the Future".  The Nightly News producers love to give their "news stories" the titles of movies, TV shows or songs because if a title is familiar to the viewers, they are more likely to watch the story and therefore the ratings will increase.  Here are some of the titles the producers have used for their stories in the past three months: "To Catch A Thief", "Top Chef", "A League of Her Own" (similar to the movie "A League of Their Own"), "Risky Business" (five different times), "All in the Family", "Father Knows Best", "The Natural", "Ring of Fire", "A Star Is Born", "Modern Family", "Moonstruck" (three times), "Coming to America" and "The Rising".  (I think it's obvious which immature Springsteen-obsessed idiot came up with that last one.)  By the way, during the broadcast Lester read four promos for the "Back to the Future" story--totalling an astonishing 40 seconds.  That's more time than they spent reporting on the deadly European floods.  They could have reported an entire news story in the time it took them to promote this silly fluff piece.  And one of these promos included the Steve Miller Band song "Fly Like An Eagle".  Using pop songs to promote stories is another trick of the Nightly News producers.  When viewers hear a classic, familiar song that they like, it reinforces whatever it's being used to promote.  Not unlike Pavlov's dogs.  "Fly Like An Eagle" makes us salivate for the story it's promoting.  And they're not just using random songs.  They employ research to determine which songs resonate strongest among viewers.  That's why this is the third time "Fly Like An Eagle" has been used in Nightly News stories in the past 15 months (the other dates were 4/3/11 and 4/16/12).  Remember--nothing happens randomly on Nightly News.  Everything the producers do is part of some calculated scheme or trick to get the viewers to watch.  That's how the Nightly News producers operate.  Like sleazy ad execs or bumbling rogue secret agents.  Like Darrin Stephens crossed with Maxwell Smart.
Mon. July 9--Obviously, the lead stories were about the hot weather.  Brian Williams told us that 90 people have died from the heat so far this summer.  Over at CBS, Scott Pelley put the number at 65.  Oh oh--someone's not telling the truth.  If Brian continues to lie like this, his surgically-altered nose will start growing back to its original size--just like Pinocchio.  Janet Shamlian spent two minutes reporting on how the heat was affecting Arkansas cow farmers, for all the bovophiles out there.
***During a story about the verbal jousting over tax cuts in Washington, a clip of Mitch McConnell on CNN's "State of the Union" did not identify either the show or the network.  The Nightly News producers don't like to mention other networks because they're scared that their viewers will switch channels.
***Next, Richard Engel spent four minutes reporting on his recent trip to Syria.  Engel is one of the few honorable correspondents at NBC News.  His sole interest is in reporting the news, not in promoting himself or the broadcast.  But Brian Williams--not so honorable.  Brian described Engel's report as "exclusive" even though dozens of networks have correspondents reporting from Syria.  Brian frequently lies about the exclusivity of Nightly News reports in order to help boost his ratings.  I think I just saw Brian's nose grow a little bit more.
***After that, we were treated to a three-minute story about how retirees are being helped by high-tech devices.  Oh yeah--that's really breaking news.  Here's how he introduced the story: "As more and more Americans head down the road to retirement, one of the biggest juggling acts is the one that takes place when WE become caregivers for family members."  We.  Because the news is always about Brian.  At the end of the story, Nancy Snyderman jumped on the "me, me, me" bandwagon and told us that her parents were 85 and 89.  I'm surprised she didn't show us pictures.  Guess what, Nancy--no one watching Nightly News cares how old your parents are. 
***Brian then spent 55 seconds reading an obituary for Ernest Borgnine.  I really experienced a feeling of deja vu when I heard this.  That's because Lester had already read an obit for Borgnine on Sunday.  So Borgnine got two separate obits totalling nearly a minute-and-a-half, but Yitzhak Shamir got only a single 27-second obit on June 30.  Yes--the Nightly News producers really have their priorities straight.  This was part of Brian's obit, "Perhaps the most notable thing about Ernest Borgnine was his ten years in the U.S. Navy."  Uh, no, you idiot.  The most notable thing about Borgnine was his Oscar and the hundreds of films and TV shows in which he appeared.  But Brian is the chief propaganda officer for the U.S Military, so his first obligation is to emphasize military service over everything else.  Just another way in which his personal interests skew the way he delivers news.
***Speaking of which--Brian next told us that the Washington Monument would be closed for a few years for repair.  Brian reports on the Washington Monument like it was breaking news.  Back in September--a full month after the quake that damaged it--Brian reported six stories about the Monument.  I guess he felt the need to inform us about every individual crack that was found.  Obviously Brian reports so frequently on the Washington Monument because it is part of his ratings-grabbing strategy in which he pretends to care so much about Americana.  It's the same strategy that's responsible for the virtually non-stop animated flag that waves behind his head.  By manipulating his image and painting himself as a flag-waving, USA-loving, NASCAR-watching blue collar guy, he insures that he will get high ratings from those heartland viewers between the coasts.  It's a ratings ploy, like just about everything else he does.
***"If you're among those who contend that life is just made better by a dog, well now there's proof...."  This is how an actual network news anchor began an actual news story.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding.  Look it up.  It's absolutely amazing that Brian gets to say shit like this.  He just reports on whatever the hell he wants without any consideration for news value.  He likes Springsteen so we get lots of Springsteen stories.  He likes outer space, so we get lots of stories about the planets.  He likes firefighters, so we get stories about them.  JFK, the British Royal Family, Michelle Obama--they all get lots of time on Nightly News because Brian says so.  And, of course, dogs.  Brian likes dogs so he gets to manipulate his broadcast to include lots of dog stories.  In case you were wondering, the story was about a report concluding that children tend to be more healthy if there is a dog in the family.  Wow do I miss Charles Gibson.  In the three years he anchored ABC's World News, he never ever allowed his personal feelings--positive or negative--to influence his reporting.  I had no idea if he liked dogs, jello, curling, break dancing or building sand castles because he never made the news into a reality show about all the stuff HE liked.  Unlike Brian, who makes every Nightly News broadcast all about HIM.  It's sickening, really.
***Here's a real treat--Brian then spent 30 seconds showing us a photo of a shark pursuing a kayaker.  On Saturday, Nightly News devoted two-and-a-half minutes to sharks off Cape Cod.  And now this.  I guess it must be Shark Week at Nightly News.  But every week is Shark Week (or Whale or Dolphin or Penguin Week) at Nightly News.  Why?  Because Brian likes sharks and whales and dolphins and penguins.  Did you really need to ask?
***Did I mention that Brian also likes outer space?  Because he does.  So he spent 25 seconds showing us a photo collage of the Mars landscape.
***But I wouldn't want anyone to get the impression that Nightly News isn't serious about reporting the news.  On this night, the broadcast ended with a riveting two-minute story about Tom & Katie's divorce.  It was reported by Kristen Dahlgren, who may actually be the shallowest of all the shallow Nightly News reporters.  And that's no easy feat.
***So let's recap:  Hot weather, retirement tips, Ernest Borgnine redux, the Washington Monument, dogs, sharks, Mars and Tom & Katie.  Yes--Nightly News is a serious news broadcast.
Tues. July 10--The lead story was ostensibly about cost-cutting budget measures in Scranton, PA.  But really it was about firefighters and police officers.  Because a big part of Brian's fake "regular-guy" image revolves around exploiting firefighters and police for ratings.  It's a pretty good strategy.  After all, no anchor ever lost viewers by showing stories about firefighters and police.
***Here's something special--Anne Thompson doing a report on climate change.  Well, it's not really that special.  In fact, she does this same story just about every week.  Sometimes twice.  And they're all identical.  She spews the same Wiki-information out over and over and over again ad nauseam.  And her producers use the same old stock videos of fires, floods, hail, droughts and arctic ice in all her stories.  It's like a "climate change's greatest hits" video on an endless loop.  Available from K-Tel.  She last did this story on July 5.  I guess we'll see another one on July 15.
***Brian then took 30 seconds to give us a follow-up on the Colorado firefighters who had no health insurance.  Soon they'll have health insurance.  Great.  Another story on firefighters.  What a surprise.  Brian made sure to tell us it was an update "to a story we aired just a few days back", implying that HIS original story is the reason that the President and Congress are providing insurance to these firefighters.  Add humility to Brian's other traits.
***Next, Nancy Snyderman did a story about a child who needs a bone marrow transplant.  I should say another story about a child who needs a bone marrow transplant.  She already did similar stories on June 14 & June 26.  So in three weeks, she devoted more than eight minutes to bone marrow stories.  Maybe that's not a lot for Discovery Fit & Health or the Live Well Network, but it's a bit much for a general-purpose news broadcast.  And when Snyderman isn't reporting bone marrow stories, she's reporting sensationalist, exploitative stories with alarmist titles like "Hidden Risk", "Hidden Danger", "Health Risk" and "Hidden Hazard".  The "Hidden Hazard" of kids swallowing batteries was one of her masterpieces.
***Did you know that some ultra-wealthy Americans are renouncing their citizenship to live in countries with low tax rates?  After 2:15 on this breaking news story, you know now.  Speaking of the ultra-wealthy, I wonder if Brian is ever tempted to move out of the country for tax purposes.
***Time for some important stories about the Olympic torch and the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team.  Good thing Nightly News isn't over-exploiting this Olympic thing.  Because that would be bad.
***Breaking News--Spam turned 75 years old.  And that's certainly worthy of 25 seconds of Nightly News airtime.  Brian is always happy to do a favor for a regular NBC advertiser like Hormel, maker of lots of great meat and meat-like products.  Here's part of Brian's testimonial to Spam: "All of US who lived on it at one time in our lives came to respect it, if not love it."  All of US.  Again, the news is about Brian.
***The final story was another anniversary--the 50th anniversary of the TelStar Satellite.  It's hardly surprising that Brian would choose to report this story.  After all, satellites are part of TV news, and if there's one thing Brian likes reporting on, it's his own profession.  It's like reporting on himself.  Naturally, the story featured a clip of JFK.  Brian frequently peppers his news stories with Kennedy clips because the Kennedys are very popular and they help boost his ratings.  This is the 23rd time this year that Brian has used a Kennedy clip or photo in a news story (and more than half of these stories were entirely about one or more members of the Kennedy family).  The TelStar story was titled "Back to the Future".  Just two days earlier, the Nightly News producers had given the same title to a completely different story (about a 32-year-old director who interviewed his 12-year-old self).  The same title twice in three days.  The producers aren't very creative, are they?  In fact, they seem kind of stupid.  My favorite part of Brian's narration was when he said, "We just now assume that when something happens from Cairo to Cameroon to Cleveland, Ohio, we will have live pictures of it instantly."  Cameroon?  That's hilarious.  When was the last time Nightly News reported on Cameroon, or even mentioned it, for that matter.  Did George Clooney ever travel there on a humanitarian mission?  If so, that would be the only reason for Nightly News ever to cover Cameroon.  Maybe Brian is confusing Cameroon with British PM David Cameron.  That's an understandable mistake.
***After Brian signed off for the night, there was an astounding 30 seconds of dead air time.  For that duration, all we saw was a video of the New York City skyline accompanied by the Nightly News theme music.  Thirty seconds.  That's an awful lot of time.  That would be enough time to cover an entire story.  For example: Hundreds were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from the Democratic Republic of Congo as rebel troops continue to fight government soldiers.  Also, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga was sentenced by the International Criminal Court to 14 years in prison for recruiting underage children and forcing them to fight as soldiers.  And former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was found guilty of one count of corruption but acquitted on two other counts.  Nightly News could have covered any of these stories--perhaps all three--in those 30 seconds.  But obviously they didn't.  Brian doesn't like to report foreign news because it gets low ratings.  Especially news from Africa.  Well, at least we know all about bone marrow transplants, the Olympic uniforms and Spam's 75th anniversary.  Great job, Brian.
Wed. July 11--During the first three stories, there was an animated U.S. flag waving behind Brian's head.  This flag is one of his favorite ratings ploys--it allows him to pander to the good ol' middle American folks who believe that everything is better if it has a flag on it.  Samuel Johnson famously said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."  He might as well also have said that it's the last refuge of a sleazy, pandering anchor who is desperate for ratings.
***It had been a while since we last got a story about tsunami debris, so we were treated to two-and-a-half minutes of stuff that has washed up on U.S. shores.  This was mostly old footage of the debris that had already been featured in previous Nightly News stories, so it was more like Tsunami Debris's Greatest Hits.
***Next, we saw a 2:45 story about I'll Have Another, the horse that withdrew from the Belmont Stakes after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown.  NBC is heavily invested in televising horse racing, so the purpose of this story was obviously to drum up viewer interest in NBC's race coverage.  Congratulations to the Nightly News producers for continuing to milk this story long after the expiration date has passed.
***Brian then spent 40 seconds showing us footage of the July 4 fireworks mishap in San Diego, where all the fireworks went off at once.  Nightly News had already reported this story on July 5, so this was the second time this story has aired.  During his narration, Brian said, "And WE native New Jerseyans are getting over the embarrassment that it was the Garden State Fireworks Company that misfired."  That's nothing compared to the embarrassment of most New Jerseyans, who are sadly aware that one of their own is the biggest ass on television.
***Speaking of television, here's an important story that Brian reported: Sony and Nielsen got together to announce the most memorable TV moments of the past 50 years.  Brian loves to report stories like this because showing memorable TV moments brings him high ratings.  Certainly higher than if he were reporting actual news.
***The broadcast ended with a story about the archives of the Saturday Evening Post.  They're being digitized so they can be preserved for posterity.  That's good, but it certainly isn't news.  It's just another opportunity for Brian to use Post covers to walk us through some of the landmark events of the twentieth century.  So in other words, it's exactly like the previous story.  It's all part of Brian's ratings philosophy--show lots of stuff that happened years or decades ago as a compendium of greatest hits of the twentieth century.  Reporting past events brings higher ratings than reporting current events, so that's why Brian does it.  This story featured three shots of Post covers featuring John F. Kennedy.  That's also part of Brian's ratings philosophy--JFK remains popular, so he orders his producers to put the former president on Nightly News as often as possible.  The last time Nightly News featured a JFK clip?  Yesterday.
***Here are some stories that BBC News reported this day: In Madrid, miners went on strike to protest low wages and cuts in government subsidies for the coal industry.  In Sana'a, an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber killed 22 police cadets and injured dozens more.  And in Srebrenica, Bosnia, more than 500 newly-identified victims of the 1995 genocide were re-buried.  Of course, Nightly News didn't report any of these stories.  But at least we know all about tsunami debris, I'll Have Another, the San Diego fireworks mishap and the greatest TV moments of the past 50 years.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Nightly News is a serious broadcast.
Thurs. July 12--Brian began the broadcast with 7:20 on the Penn State sex abuse report released by Louis Freeh.  It's certainly a story worth reporting, but does it really deserve a third of the entire broadcast?  No, but Brian wanted to make sure that Bob Costas was given three minutes of air time to talk about it.  Costas had absolutely nothing of value to add to Michael Isikoff's report that had preceded this segment, but Costas was already in London for the Olympics, and the Olympic rings directly behind his head afforded NBC a shameless opportunity to promote their Olympic coverage.  This was one of Brian's silly questions to Costas: "Does this wash up against other programs, other colleges, especially FOR THOSE OF US who have college students in our families?"  For those of us.  Because obviously the news is first and foremost about Brian and HIS family.  Here's how Brian ended the segment: "Bob Costas, who I'll add on this very day was nominated for an Emmy Award for his coverage of this topic on our broadcast 'RockCenter'."  So Costas's segment was included only for the purposes of promoting NBC's Olympic coverage and Rock Center.  Nice.
***During Isikoff's initial segment about Penn State, former Penn State president Graham Spanier's name was misspelled on-screen as "Spainer"--twice.  Obviously, the producers were too busy worrying about promoting the Olympics and Rock Center to bother spelling Spanier's name correctly.
***Janet Shamlian's story about how the drought is affecting crops in southern states was mostly comprised of old footage from her story that had previously aired on Monday's broadcast.  This is the producers' formula--slap some new narration on old footage and voila--you have a new story.  Or so they want us to believe.
***As he did on Monday, Brian described Richard Engel's report from Syria as an "exclusive", despite the fact that every network has correspondents reporting from Syria.  Has Brian seen any of Clarissa Ward's recent reports from Syria on the CBS Evening News?  Probably not--I'm guessing that Brian only DVRs his own broadcast.  Engel's report was followed by a ten-second promo for Rock Center, the second time so far that Brian has managed to promote his other show on Nightly News.
***Time for another exploitative, sensationalist pseudo-medical story from Dr. Nancy Snyderman.  This time, she's warning men about the "Hidden Risk" of propecia, a hair-regrowth drug.  Apparently, it can cause erectile dysfunction.  This is the twentieth time since the beginning of the year that Nancy Snyderman or Robert Bazell has reported an alarmist story about hidden risks, hidden dangers, hidden hazards or some such mumbo jumbo.  My favorite?  The 2/14/12 story about the "Hidden Dangers" of lipstick.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.
***Every Nightly News broadcast (or almost every one) must include a story from outer space, because Brian says so and he gets to do whatever he wants.  On this night, it was another solar flare.  This was the twentieth story about outer space that Nightly News has reported in just the past nine weeks.  Here's a fact: Brian spends more time reporting on the Sun, the Moon and the planets than he spends reporting on Africa.  No surprise--space stuff gets better ratings than Africa.
***Time for the obligatory Olympic stories.  Brian took 1:10 to tell us that former Olympian Michael Johnson took a lap around Stonehenge with the Olympic torch, and that the "snappy and snazzy" Ralph Lauren USA Olympic opening ceremony uniforms had actually been made in China.  It doesn't really matter what Brian says, as long as he keeps saying "Olympics".
***The final story was perfect for Nightly News, which is obviously why Brian selected it.  It was all about the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary.  What could be a better story for a shallow newscast that relies on old pop culture footage to enthrall viewers and boost ratings?  This entire 2:20 "news story" consisted of interviews, photos, videos and concert footage of the Stones.  A definite ratings winner.  Here's how Brian introduced the story: "And while they're not known reflectively as collective as a reflective bunch...."  He really shouldn't drink before he goes on the air.  During the story, correspondent Michelle Kosinski told us that Mick Jagger was 69.  Actually, Mick doesn't turn 69 until July 26, so Kosinski was wrong.  But when did facts ever matter in a Nightly News story?  At one point, Kosinski asked Mick, "Did you get the satisfaction?"  Mick then tilts his head back and says, "Oh my God no, Michelle!", before the producers abruptly cut away to another shot.  Clearly, they wanted us to believe that "Oh my God no" was Mick's answer to the question, but it seems obvious that he was just mocking Kosinski for asking such a hackneyed question.
***Brian ended the broadcast with a promo for "Rock Center"--the third "Rock Center" promo he read that night.  You can smell the desperation on him.
***On this day in Nigeria, more than 100 people were killed when a fuel truck veered off the road and exploded.  Of course Brian didn't report this because he was too busy telling us about solar flares, the Olympic uniforms and the Rolling Stones.
Fri. July 13--With a giant animated flag waving behind his head, Brian introduced Peter Alexander's "one-on-one" interview with Mitt Romney.  Technically, that's true, but Romney gave dozens of "one-on-one" interviews that day to a slew of reporters.  I didn't see Scott Pelley making a big deal out of Jan Crawford's interview with Romney on CBS, but Pelley isn't a self-promoting carnival barker like Brian.
***After that, David Gregory was trotted in for some "stating-the-obvious" analysis.  Gregory had nothing of value to add, but it was Friday and the producers were obligated to promote Sunday's "Meet the Press".
***We saw 4:45 worth of Olympic stories in the broadcast's first segment--a segment usually reserved for actual news.  I guess at NBC, the Olympics is the only news that actually matters.  First, we saw a story about Olympic security.  This story was mostly comprised of previously-aired footage of things like missiles on London rooftops and an interview with British defense analyst Michael Clarke.  And the next story was about the controversy over U.S. Olympic uniforms being made in China.  If there's any aspect of the Olympics that NBC can manufacture into a controversy, they will do it because that would surely boost Olympic ratings.  This story featured several comments from random people on the street, as well as a tweet from Donald Trump, because those things were very helpful in explaining the issues of the story.  Great investigative reporting!  As Kelly O'Donnell ended her report, there were two American flags behind her.  God bless the Olympics!
***Stop the presses--there's breaking news!  Brian took 30 seconds to tell us that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez were leaving "American Idol".  We can always rely on Brian to give us important news.  Actually, the only reason Brian reported this story was to try to pull viewers away from Idol and steer them to NBC shows like "America's Got Talent" and "The Voice".  This isn't rocket science, people.
***Speaking of breaking news, Brian then announced that, "A MASSIVE flare on the surface of the Sun, while technically still on its way here, may give us an EXTRAORDINARY light show this weekend."  Earlier, Brian had promo'd the story by saying, "We're back in a moment with a SPECTACULAR show free of charge perhaps headed to a backyard near you this coming weekend."  Massive.  Extraordinary.  Spectacular.  What an asshole.  This is what gets 45 seconds of time on Nightly News.  When's the last time Brian reported a story on sub-Saharan Africa?
***The "Making A Difference" story was about a woman who travels to Kabul to help Afghan orphans.  That's nice.  She should be commended.  But why is this news?  It isn't.  It's just another vapid human interest story designed to boost ratings rather than inform the viewers.  Let's face it: Nightly News is basically a ten-minute broadcast.  After you take out the commercials and all the crap that isn't news, you're left with around ten minutes of actual news stories.  Apparently, that's good enough for Brian.
***In South Africa, a truck collided with a train, killing 26 people.  But Brian didn't report it because it didn't involve the Olympics or solar flares.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Brian Williams & NBC Nightly News Show Notes: 6/30/12 Through 7/6/12 (Updated--Full Week)

Wow!  A whole week without Brian Williams!  What did we do to get so lucky?  The big news this week was the heat.  How big?  Nightly News spent more than 24 minutes this week telling us it was hot.  That's the equivalent of an entire broadcast devoted to the heat.  Also, there was a chimp attack!  Here's everything that happened this week on NBC Nightly News:

Sat. June 30--The broadcast began with seven-and-a-half minutes about the weather (heat, storms, wildfires).  As usual, they could have covered all this in half the time, but the Nightly News producers understand that weather-related stories are ratings-grabbers.  Much of the reporting involved human interest stories, rather than news, because human interest stories also earn high ratings.  And the story on wildfires included a chunk of time spent reporting on dogs and cats being rescued because putting animals in stories is--you guessed it--a great way to boost ratings.
***Once again, Nightly News did a story about the rising murder rate in Chicago.  They have done this story several times recently, and it seems that it will continue to be the theme of the summer.  When the Nightly News producers find that focus groups like a particular story, they continue reporting the same story over and over and over again.
***Kate Snow (who was anchoring that night) then took 27 seconds to read an obituary for former Israeli Prime Minister (and all-around statesman) Yitzhak Shamir.  Three days earlier, Brian Williams had spent 35 seconds reporting the death of Barry Becher, the inventor of the Ginsu Knife.  So apparently, at Nightly News, the Ginsu Knife guy was more important than Yitzhak Shamir.
***CHIMP ATTACK!!!  CHIMP ATTACK!!!  CHIMP ATTACK!!!  Did you know there was a chimp attack in South Africa?  Well, now you do because Nightly News spent more than two minutes reporting it.  This is the kind of sensationalist garbage that the producers constantly use to boost their show's ratings.  Pathetic.
***Here's a piece of breaking news: Nighttime farmers' markets are becoming popular in some cities.  This is an actual story that was given 2:10 on Nightly News.  It's hard to imagine a story with less news value.  But then again, Nightly News isn't a news broadcast.  It's a show devoted to reporting on lifestyles, celebrities, animals and British Royals.
***Speaking of which--the broadcast ended with a two-minute story about Queen Elizabeth's jewels.  Were they stolen?  Did she leave them on a bus?  Did she try to pawn them?  No, nothing like that.  They're on display as part of an exhibition at Buckingham Palace.  So Nightly News reported it like it was actual news.  Great job, Nightly News producers.
Sun. July 1--Once again, the broadcast began with seven-and-a-half minutes on weather-related events--heat, power outages, wildfires.  That's fifteen minutes in two days.  Just imagine all the real news they could have reported in that time--if the Nightly News producers were actually interested in real news.
***CHIMP ATTACK ALERT!!!  CHIMP ATTACK ALERT!!!  CHIMP ATTACK ALERT!!!  Another story on the chimp attack.  The four minutes the Nightly News producers have spent reporting on the South African chimp attack over the past two days is more time than they have devoted to sub-Saharan Africa in the past month.
***The next story was about cities that have begun accepting advertising on municipal vehicles (buses, fire trucks, etc.) as a way of offsetting budgetary deficits.  Seriously?  Are they kidding me?  A story on paid product placements?  Nightly News is one of the biggest utilizers of product placements on television!  So when are the hypocrite producers going to do a story on Nightly News anchors and reporters who read press releases for advertisers' products or give products free placements in "news stories"?  Here are some examples of product placements that have appeared on Nightly News over the past few years:

>7/18/07--Nightly News airs a story about Restless Leg Syndrome.  The sole purpose of the story is to establish the legitimacy of RLS because many doctors do not acknowledge it as a legitimate medical condition.  One of the main drugs used to treat RLS is Requip, a frequent Nightly News advertiser at the time (Requip was specifically mentioned in the story).  And in addition to their regular advertisements, Requip (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline) sponsored nine Nightly News "Making A Difference" segments from April 2007 to January 2008 (the dates were 4/20/07, 5/25/07, 6/22/07, 7/6/07, 7/27/07, 8/3/07, 9/14/07, 1/11/08 and 1/18/08). There is absolutely no doubt that the story on Restless Leg Syndrome was done as a special favor to Nightly News's pals at Glaxo as a way of saying thank you for all that Glaxo ad money.
>11/13/07--Brian Williams anchors Nightly News from a Chrysler plant in Detroit.  This broadcast is a thinly-disguised 30-minute commercial for Chrysler, a frequent Nightly News and NBC advertiser.  At the end of the broadcast, Brian interviews Chrysler executive Jim Press.  Brian's "interview" is made up of softball questions that allow Press to talk about how great Chrysler's cars and trucks are (Brian even gets in on the act of praising Chrysler products: "This is going to make some buyer somewhere very happy.").  Less than three months later (2/5/08), Chrysler sponsored the entire Nightly News broadcast.  An obvious example of quid pro quo.
>1/31/09--A story about 3-D ads during the Super Bowl prominently features Lifewater beverages--a product that advertised on the following day's Super Bowl.  On NBC.
>2/23/09--Nightly News features a report about how thoroughly United Airlines cleans its planes.  United is a frequent Nightly News advertiser.  This story is just a big thank-you from NBC to United.
>5/5/09--Nightly News airs a "news story" about McDonald's new gourmet coffees.  McDonald's is a major advertiser on Nightly News and other NBC Universal shows.  Ann Curry introduces the story by calling McDonald's coffee a "delicious brew".  More than a third of this story is comprised of excerpts from McDonald's commercials and interviews with McDonald's spokespersons.  This story is simply a commercial for McDonald's new gourmet coffees. (So as not to offend another sponsor, Nightly News also gives Starbucks lots of good publicity in the story.)
>5/12/09--A story purportedly about FDA assertions regarding Cheerios' health claims ends up becoming a fawning two-minute promotional message for Cheerios.  The report intentionally minimized the FDA aspect of the story and instead spent most of its time promoting the positive attributes of Cheerios.  This was Robert Bazell's first line: "It is one of America's iconic products--Cheerios."  Well, that certainly set the scene.  We were then shown 20 seconds of Cheerios commercials while Bazell tells us that, "Soluble oat fiber--a key component--can help reduce cholesterol."  In other words, Bazell just made the very claim that the FDA had expressly forbidden General Mills from making.  He then briefly interrupts his Cheerios love-fest to mention the FDA reprimand: "A letter from the FDA to General Mills, the manufacturer, says that the health claims have gone too far.  The big problem is those claims about how much cholesterol can be reduced in how many weeks.  They are repeated on the box.  The FDA says those are drug-like claims that can only be made after studies have been submitted to the agency and approved."  So rather than acknowledging that General Mills made inappropriate claims, he chooses to defend the claims as if they were mere technicalities.  As Bazell says this, he was sitting at a table with a bowl of Cheerios in front of him, and at least six boxes of Cheerios neatly stacked next to him.  He looks like he is in a Cheerios commercial.  Actually, he is.  Bazell continues, "In a statement, General Mills said, 'The science is not in question and we look forward to discussing this with the FDA and reaching a resolution.'"  The science is not in question!  Bazell does not take issue with the General Mills statement--he simply accepts it as fact.  The General Mills statement also appears on screen alongside a pleasing graphic of a breakfast table with a bowl of Cheerios, a box of Cheerios and a glass of orange juice.  We then see a close-up of milk being poured into a bowl of Cheerios.  There is a brief interview with a doctor who says that three grams of soluble fiber is not really going to help you, but that it's better than eating something that's high in fat.  Bazell then twists this statement into, "Food industry experts say there is no question that Cheerios is a healthy product but the FDA seems to be paying more attention to the claims that companies make."   No question! Bazell's commercial--I mean news story--ends with boxes of Cheerios going by on a conveyor belt, a slow pan down a box of Cheerios, and a mother pouring some Cheerios for her toddler.  Can anyone dispute that this is a product placement?
>7/13/09--The entire Nightly News broadcast is sponsored by the University of Phoenix, an online university.  Four days later, Nightly News airs a report about Western Governors University (also an online university).  This story features a gratuitous plug for the University of Phoenix as well as a prominent graphic displaying their logo.  It seems apparent that University of Phoenix's July 13 sponsorship also bought them a plug on the July 17 broadcast.
>9/6/09--A story about search engines becomes a story about Bing.  Bing is a Microsoft product, and Microsoft was, at the time, a partner of NBC in MSNBC (and current partner in This story is just a plug for one of NBC's corporate partners.
>10/22/09--During a piece about women in the workplace, Nightly News spends 75 seconds profiling Jan Fields, the Chief Operating Officer of McDonald's USA.  The story gives her ample time to talk about things like McDonald's "world famous fries".  Ms. Fields is now the president of McDonald's USA--no doubt thanks in part to her ability to manipulate NBC News into allowing her to plug her greasy burgers and fries.
>2/4/10--Brian Williams reads a 30-second story about the great new Heinz ketchup packages (he also manages to mention McDonald's in the story).  This is just a plug for Heinz.
>3/17/10--Brian reads a 30-second story about how Kraft Foods will be reducing the sodium in their products.  Another plug for a regular advertiser.
>3/19/10--Ann Curry (filling in for Brian Williams) reads a story about how Wal-Mart will be slashing their grocery prices.
>5/14/10--In part one of a two-part interview with Sally Field, Brian spends the entire 90 seconds talking with Field about her Boniva commercials (at the time, Boniva advertised on Nightly News every night).  Three days later, in part two of the interview, Brian again plugs Boniva.
>6/8/10--Nightly News airs a report about an obscure Danish medical study that concluded that Aleve can reduce the risk of heart attacks.  Aleve (and its parent product Bayer) advertise on Nightly News every night.
>6/10/10--Brian introduces a ridiculous "news story" about whether or not Chevys should be referred to as Chevrolets.  Clearly, this is a two-minute-and-ten-second thank-you to the Chevy people for all the advertising dollars they have given NBC over the years.
>6/14/10--Lester Holt reads a "news story" about how Starbucks and McDonald's are now providing free Wi-Fi in their stores.  Interestingly, this is the second time Nightly News has paired these two companies in a fake news story whose sole purpose is to promote them as sponsors.
>6/22/10--Nightly News shows a 30-second clip of Jimmy Fallon playing Microsoft's new Kinnect video game.  Again, since Microsoft is a partner of NBC, this is just another plug for one of NBC's corporate partners (and a plug for Fallon's show, as well).
>7/2/10--A Nightly News profile of LeBron James includes clips from his McDonald's commercials.
>7/21/10--Brian contrives a "news story" about knee surgery in order to call attention to a new Nightly News advertiser--Smith & Nephew Replacement Knees.
>9/24/10--In one of the most egregious examples of product placement, a story on the diminishing use of credit and debit cards for food shopping begins with a couple in a Target store standing in front of a massive wall of Cheerios that was almost certainly assembled by the Nightly News producers just for this story.  We also see the couple walking through the aisles with the Cheerios box and the camera gets a clear shot as the box is scanned at the register.  The first 45 seconds of this story is a non-stop product placement for Cheerios.  (The last shot of the story is the mother feeding Cheerios to her infant.)  Cheerios is a frequent Nightly News sponsor and advertiser.  This story is a great big "thank you" to General Mills.
>10/27/10--Brian reports an important story about how the Scott Paper Company is manufacturing tubeless toilet paper.  The story features plenty of ad clips from Scott products.
>10/31/10--A story on the end of the Pontiac brand is really just some free advertising for General Motors.
>11/4/10 and 11/5/10--Nightly News airs two virtually identical stories about a great new Spiral CT Scanner.  It just happens to be made by GE, NBC's then-parent company.
>11/9/10--The broadcast airs stories about the end of GM's Mr. Goodwrench ad campaign and the new ad campaign beginning for Planter's Mr. Peanut brand.  Both stories contain lots of ad clips.
>12/6/10--A story about the health benefits of aspirin is nothing more than a product placement for Bayer, a frequent Nightly News advertiser.  This "news report" begins with a five second clip from a Bayer commercial.  Then there are three close-ups of Bayer aspirin: A box on a shelf in a Walgreens, a pill in someone's palm and a bottle of Bayer.  No other name-brand aspirin is shown in the story, just generic or store brands.  Even an animated graphic of a bottle simply labeled "aspirin" is brown and yellow--easily recognizable as Bayer's traditional colors on their aspirin bottles and the main colors on their website.  Not very subtle.
>12/7/10--A story about how San Francisco is banning toys that come with children's fast food meals begins with a cute segment about a woman who collects Happy Meal toys.  The rest of this 2:30 "news story" (which was really just a commercial for McDonald's) contains clips of actual McDonald's commercials and non-stop footage of the McDonald's logo, restaurants and food.
>12/28/10--Brian spends 30 seconds telling us the great news that Frito-Lay products will soon be "all-natural".  With the Frito-Lay logo behind him, he specifically mentions Tostitos, Sun Chips, Lays and Rold Gold.
>1/5/11--Brian spends 30 seconds telling us that Starbucks will be changing their logo.
>1/17/11--Brian announces that Starbucks will be introducing a new size drink called Trenta.  I guess Brian reports on Starbucks so often because he wants free drinks.
>1/20/11--Brian tells us that Wal-Mart will be cutting prices on fresh fruits and vegetables and reducing fats, sugar, salt and trans fats in its store brands over the next few years.  This sounds like a press release written by the Wal-Mart marketing department.
>2/7/11--Nightly News does a three-minute rah-rah story about Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" Super Bowl commercial (featuring Eminem) that aired the previous day (the story features 80 seconds of clips from the ad).  This was little more than a three-minute commercial for Chrysler.
>3/8/11--Brian takes 30 seconds to tell us the important news that Subway now has more U.S. outlets than McDonald's.  So as not to offend McDonald's, he also tells us that McDonald's earns more money than Subway.
>4/5/11--Nightly News does a two-and-a-half minute "news story" about the Vermont Country Store.  This is a promotional story for a company that does $100 million in annual business.
>4/6/11--Nightly News airs a 2:05 story about Pringles.  This may be the most shameless product placement Nightly News has ever done.  Then again--probably not.  The story begins with Brian plugging some of Procter & Gamble's brands--Tide, Crest and Pampers.  We are then shown clips from Pringles commercials--including one that featured Brad Pitt.  We get to see a Pringles-related clip from "Ally McBeal".  But mostly, we get to see Kevin Tibbles having a great time with Pringles.  Just like Brad Pitt!  There's Tibbles sitting with two cans of Pringles.  There's Tibbles with a math professor who explains that the exact shape of the chip is a hyperbolic paraboloid.  There's Tibbles holding a Pringles chip up to the camera.  Then we see some clips of other P & G products--Tide, Gillette, Oral B and Wella.  The story ends with 15 seconds of various closeup shots of Pringles. And the very next night--surprise--a Pringles commercial airs on Nightly News.  I guess the Pringles people bought a combo news-story-and-ad package.
>5/9/11--Brian reads a 30-second "news story" about McDonald's great new redesign plans for their restaurants: "Mickey D's is spending over $1 billion to make their restaurants more chill, more comfortable, more laid back, more Starbucks than Mayor McCheese.  Look for wooden tables, muted colors and faux leather seats coming soon to a Mac's near you.  And you can get fries with that."  That's not a news story, it's a McDonald's press release.  And it's shameless.  Notice how Brian slipped in a Starbucks mention, as well.
>5/18/11--Brian personally defends McDonald's against criticism from parenting organizations and nutritional advocacy groups that accused McDonald's of unfairly using Ronald McDonald to attract children to their high sodium, high cholesterol, high fat food.  In the story, Brian says that this criticism "seems a little harsh".  So much for anchor neutrality.
>7/26/11--Brian read this 30-second press release from McDonald's: "McDonald's said today that it's taking steps to make Happy Meals healthier.  The company is cutting the size of the french fry portion in half for starters and adding apple slices to every meal.  The new meals will have about 20% fewer calories--coming in at under 600 calories total.  First Lady Michelle Obama, who campaigns, of course, for better nutrition, put out a statement today calling this a good step."  It was clear that Brian and his producers mean to imply that Mrs. Obama was endorsing McDonald's--which, of course, she was not.  (As Brian read this, the McDonald's logo is onscreen for the entire thirty seconds, along with the words "Healthy Choices" and a picture of a Happy Meal.)
>9/20/11--Brian takes 30 seconds to tell us all about Heinz's exciting new ketchup packages: "There's a new fast food staple coming our way after years of fighting with the old ones.  Heinz is out with a new vessel for fast food ketchup.  It's shaped differently, it opens differently, contains three times the amount of product in the old packets.  They're already being used at some Dairy Queens, Wendy's gets them later in the year--no comment yet from the really big players--McDonald's and Burger King."  The accompanying video shows plenty of promotional footage of people using the new Heinz packets.  (I'm surprised that Brian didn't conduct a live in-studio demonstration.)  Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah--it's because Brian already told us about the new Heinz packages on the 2/4/10 Nightly News.  I guess Heinz must have paid NBC News for two product placements.
>10/27/11--The lead story is about the health benefits of aspirin as a cancer-fighting drug.  This story is virtually identical to the 12/6/10 story on aspirin.  In truth, this is just another 2:40 product placement for Bayer.  Like the 12/6/10 story, this story features only one national brand of aspirin--Bayer.  All the other aspirin brands are generic or store brands like CVS or Sunmark.  The story also shows two vintage Bayer newspaper ads and just for good measure, it features an 8-second clip from a current Bayer TV commercial.  This story is a joke.  It is nothing more than a shameless way to plug Bayer aspirin.  And the fact that they showed it as the lead story is even more shameless.  The message is obvious--buy Bayer aspirin and you won't get cancer.
>11/17/11--Right in the middle of a story about Congress's decision to categorize pizza as a vegetable, correspondent/shill Anne Thompson takes a ten-second break to read a McDonald's commercial.  With a huge McDonald's logo next to her, Thompson tells us that, "McDonald's got the message--reducing french fries and adding fruit to its happy meals."  This has absolutely nothing to do with the story about pizza being a vegetable--it is just another opportunity for a Nightly News correspondent to plug the Golden Arches.
>1/29/12--A story about fast food restaurants that stay open late is really just another product placement for McDonald's.  This story contains more than a minute's worth of gratuitous McDonald's footage--interiors, exteriors, franchise owners, customers, workers, food--and even includes an extended shot of correspondent Mike Taibbi standing in front of a McDonald's in a way that clearly displayed the McDonald's name and logo.  And just to make sure we didn't miss the point, Taibbi then tells us that, "McDonald's now has 40% of its restaurants open 24 hours--up from 30% seven years ago."  That statement--and the entire report--sounds suspiciously like a commercial.  Obviously, the Nightly News producers' goal in running this story is to inform the viewers that McDonald's has new extended hours so we should rush out later and get some of those delicious Big Macs, Quarter Pounders and fries.
>2/6/12--Brian spends more than two minutes fawning over the Clint Eastwood "Halftime In America" Chrysler ad that aired during the Super Bowl.  He calls it "a big, sweeping and impactful ad."  He shows us 45 seconds of the ad, including a 30-second continuous clip.  But don't let Clint Eastwood's appearance in the ad fool you.  Brian Williams is Chrysler's chief spokesman.
>3/4/12--Lester Holt takes time to tell us about the 100th anniversary of Oreo cookies: "And this week a big birthday for a classic American snack--the Oreo, known as 'Milk's Favorite Cookie' turns 100.  The National Biscuit Company rolled out the first Oreo from a New York City bakery in 1912.  Today the creme-filled chocolate sandwiches are sold in 100 countries earning  $1.5 billion a year.  By the way, Kraft, which owns the brand says half of Oreo lovers pull the cookies apart before eating them."  During Lester's narration, we saw clips from Oreo TV ads and shots of Oreos moving through a production line.
>5/1/12--It had been almost two months since Nightly News plugged a Nabisco product, so Brian took 20 seconds to announce that Nabisco is changing the name of Fig Newtons to just plain Newtons.  He called it "A big product name change in the news tonight".  Clearly, this is breaking news.  Oh wait--it isn't.  Here's what it is: Brian reading a Nabisco press release verbatim as a way of thanking them (and their parent company Kraft) for all the ad dollars they've spent with NBC Universal networks over the years.  Brian and his producers obviously understand the importance of taking care of their pals at Kraft with gratuitous plugs like this one.  Unless it was just a paid product placement.  That's always a possibility at Nightly News.  Needless to say, photos and video of the cookies (or are they cakes?) were on screen for the entire 20 seconds, including 12 seconds of full-screen shots that also included the Newtons' slogan "One Unique Cookie".  Brian also said this: "Few people know they are named after Newton, Mass, near where they were first produced in the late 1890's."  Few people?  He got that right off of Wikipedia.  Brian loves showing us how much more he knows about stuff than we do.  By the way, according to Wikipedia, Fig Newtons were first made in 1891, which isn't exactly the "late 1890's".
>5/22/12--In a story about a new phone app to track eating habits, Brian specifically mentions Mallomars.  What a surprise--another plug for a Nabisco cookie.  Do you really believe that's a coincidence?  Nabisco must have paid a hefty placement fee to NBC News to get all this publicity.
>6/11/12--In a story about items that are often stolen from supermarkets, Miguel Almaguer holds up a bottle of Tide for 12 seconds.  He looks like a spokesmodel.  I'm sure the people at Procter & Gamble appreciated the product placement.  They should--they paid for it.

So next time the Nightly News producers do a report on product placements, they really should consider including their own broadcast as an example of companies who aggressively utilize that practice.
***Kate Snow then gave us an "...update on an incredible photo finish at the U.S. track & field Olympic trials."  Since the runoff between Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix was scheduled to be carried the following night on the NBC Sports Network, it's no surprise that Snow took a moment to promote it.
***The final story was a "Making A Difference" piece about an 87-year-old doctor in Illinois who makes house calls and charges only $5 a visit.  That's nice. But why is this news?  It isn't.  But stories like this are great for the ratings, so the producers run them all the time.  Just about a year ago (7/26/11), Nightly News did a story about a 100-year-old doctor who makes house calls.  So in 13 years, the Illinois doctor will be 100, and I guess we can look forward to seeing another story on him.  I'm setting my DVR right now.
Mon. July 2--What a surprise--the broadcast began with seven-and-a-half minutes on the weather and wildfires.  I think there's a pattern here.  Every night, the producers devote a third of the broadcast to weather-related stories.  Well, it's easier than reporting real news.
***A story about the $3 billion fine levied against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline for deceptive and illegal marketing practices included a clip from a Madonna concert.  The Nightly News producers frequently pepper their news stories with pop music and movie clips because they keep the viewers from changing channels.  Frankly, I'm surprised that Nightly News bothered to cover this story at all.  One of their main goals over the years has been protecting NBC's large pharmaceutical advertisers (Glaxo, Bayer, Pfizer) from negative publicity.  I guess some stories are too big even for Nightly News to bury.
***During the Glaxo story, the producers included video comments from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, but neglected to identify either speaker.
***Natalie Morales (who was anchoring that night) spent 18 seconds showing us "shocking video" of a Syrian funeral procession being hit by a car bomb, killing dozens.  A few minutes later, Morales also took 18 seconds to excitedly tell us about the launch of NBC's new website for Latinos,  So apparently, a car bomb that killed dozens in Syria merits the same amount of news time as a plug for a new NBC website.  It's nice to know that the Nightly News producers have their priorities straight.
***Next, we were shown a two-and-a-half minute story about how New York City firefighters train on Governor's Island.  This isn't news, but that hardly matters.  Doing stories about firefighters is one of the producers' favorite ways of pandering to the audience.  After all, no news broadcast ever lost viewers by showing stories about firefighter.
***After reminding us that there are, "Just 25 days to go until the start of the Summer Olympics in London," Morales told us that the tiebreak race that had been scheduled between Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix was called off after Tarmoh withdrew and ceded the final spot in the 100 meter sprint to Felix.  Here's my theory: I think that the weasels from NBC Sports pressured Tarmoh to withdraw and cede the spot to Felix.  Why?  The NBC research department most likely informed NBC Sports that because of Felix's lighter complexion, she is less threatening to white viewers than the darker-skinned Tarmoh.  And a less threatening athlete will attract more viewers.  Also, Felix is the prettier of the two, and attractive athletes are extremely important to NBC's Olympic ratings formula.   Let's face it--the Olympics, at least on one level, is a beauty contest.  When it comes to viewers and ratings (which translate directly to ad dollars) NBC Sports is not above economic racism.  Or, in this case, I would call it "race-ism".
***Morales also took some time to report the results of the U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics trials.  She told us that 2008 gold medalist Nastia Liukin slipped and fell from the uneven bars, but finished her routine and got a standing ovation.  Morales described this as "the true Olympic spirit".  That's hilarious.  What does anyone at NBC know about the "true Olympic spirit"?  The NBC weasels only care about one thing--exploiting the Olympic athletes for ratings and profit.  Olympic spirit my ass.
***The broadcast ended with yet another story about "The Search for Amelia Earhart".  This is the third Earhart story Nightly News has done in the past year-and-a-half (the other dates were 12/18/10 and 3/20/12).  There's no new information to report, but obviously the viewers respond positively to these Earhart stories.  After all, if they didn't, do you think the producers would keep showing them?  During this story, a map of Earhart's route spelled "Pacific" as "Pasific".  As long as the Nightly News producers are searching for Amelia Earhart, they should also think about searching for a dictionary and an atlas.
Tues. July 3--The producers trimmed the weather-related stories down to six minutes (from the usual seven-and-a-half minutes) because they had to make time for Andy Griffith's obituary.
***Speaking of which, Nightly News spent a total of 4:40 eulogizing Griffith.  On Saturday, they devoted 27 seconds to the death of Yitzhak Shamir.  So apparently, Griffith was ten times more important than Shamir.
***And I guess Dara Torres is also more important than Shamir, because Morales spent 34 seconds telling us that Torres did not make the U.S. Olympic swim team.  She also told us that the Olympic torch was carried on one leg of its journey by a man flying in a jet pack.  And some people say that Nightly News isn't concerned with reporting important news.
***Here's some real news: A man at an Atlanta Braves game caught a foul ball with one hand while holding his baby in the other hand.  I hope the Peabody Award evaluation committee members were watching this story.
***For the second time in less than a week, we got a story from Chelsea Clinton.  That's not surprising--it's a sweeps month so the producers make sure to use Chelsea as often as possible to boost the broadcast's ratings.  This time, Chelsea reported on  a woman whose organization uses horses as therapy for emotionally and physically disabled kids.  That's a nice thing to do, but it certainly isn't news.  Of course, that doesn't matter to the Nightly News producers.  They constantly use human interest stories like this one to boost the show's ratings--and that's what the producers (and Brian) really care about.  It's the classic bait-and-switch.  Promise people one thing (news) but give them something else (garbage).  Like Neil Young says, "You pay for this, but they give you that."  Chelsea is just a prop in the network news ratings war.  The producers fly her to a location, hand her a script, say "action" and start filming.  She's like a robot.  A robot that gets high ratings.  I think Chelsea films all her stories over a three-month period, then takes the rest of the year off.  So the Nightly News producers have all these Chelsea stories sitting on the shelf to pull out and show whenever they need one.  Like during sweeps periods.
***Also on this day, 40 people died in Iraqi car bombings.  But Nightly News didn't bother reporting it.  Well, at least we know all about Andy Griffith, Dara Torres and a guy who caught a foul ball at a Braves game.
Wed. July 4--The broadcast began with 6:20 on the hot weather and wildfires.  One clip featured a girl saying, "It's definitely really hot!"  That's the kind of incisive reporting that we've come to know and love from Nightly News.  As Kate Snow introduced the lead story about the heat, there was a giant animated flag waving behind her head.  Because hot weather is apparently a really patriotic story.
***Later, Snow told us that, "There has been a shocking new outburst of gun violence in Chicago."  Then she spent all of 19 seconds reporting on it.  If it was so shocking, shouldn't it have been given more time?
***After that, Snow spent 30 seconds introducing a story about the Higgs boson, also known as "The God Particle".  Hearing Snow trying to explain physics was almost as funny as Anne Thompson trying to explain economics, which happened on June 11 and June 12.  By the way, on screen, the particle was described as HIGGS-BOSON, as if it was named after two people--Higgs and Boson.  A "boson" is a particle, so there should have been no hyphen between the two words.  During this story, we were shown a gratuitous shot of a dog (turning its head as if to say "What are you talking about?"), a clip from "The West Wing" and some clips from YouTube.  In a story about physics.  Nightly News truly is a newscast for morons.
***Snow then took more than a minute to tell us about three very important stories.  Oscar Pistorius, who runs on artificial legs, qualified for the Australian Olympic team.  A "spectacular show" took place in California when Blue whales were spotted in Monterey Bay.  And solar flares created a "heavenly fireworks display".  The Pistorius story included a plug for "Rock Center".
***The broadcast ended with a 2:38 story about the battleship USS Iowa being converted into a museum.  During the story, Mike Taibbi told us about the 1989 "accidental explosion" in the gun turret which killed 47 men.  Accidental?  Taibbi never mentioned that the Navy's own preliminary investigation determined that the explosion was deliberately caused by a crew member, possibly in retaliation against another crew member who had ended their homosexual relationship.  Of course Taibbi never mentioned this--because Nightly News does not report negative stories about the military.  At least not any more.  But back in 1989, NBC News reporter Fred Francis was among the first television news reporters to raise the possibility that the explosion had been detonated deliberately by a crewman as revenge for a soured love affair.  My, how things have changed at NBC News.  Naturally, the final shot of the story was a waving flag.  And as Snow signed off, this was followed by 15 seconds of red-white-and-blue July 4th video.  Because Nightly News loves this country more than any other newscast, goddammit!
Thurs. July 5--Guess what the producers began the broadcast with?  That's right--nearly six minutes on the hot weather, wildfires and climate change.  The wildfires/climate change story was reported by the idiotic Anne Thompson, who did little more than repeat the same litany of facts that she spews in her climate change stories every two weeks or so.  Her last line was to tell us that the fires are "altering the very environment that made America's west great."  Who writes this pseudo-patriotic drivel?  My money's on Thompson.
***A story on police departments posting crime videos on YouTube to apprehend criminals was titled "To Catch A Thief".  Just like the 1955 Hitchcock movie that starred Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.  The Nightly News producers intentionally give their stories the titles of movies, TV shows or pop songs because research shows that viewers tend to stay tuned in if they have something familiar to identify with.  People won't change the channel if they think they might see a clip of Cary Grant or Grace Kelly.  It's just another Nightly News ratings ploy.
***Kate Snow then introduced her own report about teens recovering from drug addiction.  This is the third addiction story Snow has reported on Nightly News in the past few weeks.  Did we really need three of these stories?  I don't think so.  The story was immediately followed by a fifteen-second promo for "Rock Center", because promoting other NBC shows is really what Nightly News is all about.
***Time for some important news stories.  A glitch caused a San Diego fireworks display to go off early and all at once, igniting all the fireworks and leaving nothing for the display.  (No one at Nightly News raised the possibility that the explosion was caused by a gay navy crewman.)  A Florida lifeguard was fired for leaving his assigned zone to rescue a swimmer.  And Europe's tallest building has been completed in London.  Certainly, these three stories are deserving of 1:10 of news time, don't you think? 
***The final story was about a fourteen-year-old girl who convinced the editors of Seventeen magazine to stop photoshopping and airbrushing photos to make girls look slimmer or more attractive.  This story is hilarious because of its hypocrisy.  The Nightly News producers alter photos and videos all the time!  They doctor videos to make them look older, and they flip photos around because they want the subject to be facing a different direction.  For example, during a 1/25/11 story on the Oscar nominees, a photo of Jeff Bridges was reversed so he was facing left instead of right.  (It was pretty stupid of the producers to do this to a photo of Bridges--because of his eye patch in "True Grit", the photo reversal was obvious.)  And here is a partial list of stories where the Nightly News producers altered videos to make them look older by adding sepia color, lines, hairs, cigarette burns, etc.:

>2/22/10--In a story about aerial skiing, footage of Jeret Peterson was altered to look older.
>2/20/11--In a story about Olympic ski cross, footage of skier Daron Rahlves  was doctored to look older.
>1/1/10--A story on the 2009 movie box office gross contained an image that had been doctored to appear older.
>12/31/09--A story about 15-year-old singer Nikki Yanofsky contained video that had been altered to look older (the video was only three years old at the time).
>12/28/09--A story on the weekend box office movie gross was doctored to look older.
>12/13/09--During a story about blues guitarist Honey Boy Edwards, video that was supposed to represent 1930's Mississippi had obviously been doctored with specks of dirt, vertical lines, hairs and cigarette burns to make it appear older.  And video of a freight train received the same treatment.
>11/14/09--A story about Ohio special needs students who refurbish bicycles and donate them to needy members of the community contained three scenes that had been altered to appear older.
>9/2/09--A story about light bulbs contained a photo of a bulb that had been doctored to look older.
>8/18/09--A story about the H1N1 virus (which Nightly News was still calling Swine Flu) contained footage of a classroom that had been altered to make it appear older.
>7/16/09--A story about diabetes contained footage of a woman testing her blood sugar level that had been altered to look older.
>6/10/09--A "What Works" segment about Donna Karan's "Urban Zen" charitable foundation contained footage of Karan and her husband that had been artificially doctored to make it appear older.
>4/30/09--During a story about the H1N1 virus, footage of a hospital was altered to make it seem older.
>11/23/08--A story about old NYC subway cars that are recycled as underwater reefs contained footage of a subway car that was doctored to make it look older.  The hilarious thing about this was that the subway car that was made to look older was actually new--the exterior of the subway car had a modern LED digital display and the people riding in the car were dressed in current fashions.
>10/25/08--During a story about department store layaway, videos of newspaper ads from the 1970's were doctored to make them appear much older.
>10/22/08--During a story about geothermal energy in Iceland, the camera panned across some still photos; the images had been altered to make them seem older.

Altering magazine photos to make models appear younger is despicable.  And altering news video images to make subjects appear older is equally despicable.  Furthermore, it raises some serious ethical questions about Nightly News.  In what other circumstances are the producers doctoring images?  Are they digitally adding or removing people from videos or photos?  Are Nightly News correspondents really where they claim to be?  During election night 2008, Brian Williams bragged about NBC's great new technology.  He told us that by standing in front of a green screen, a correspondent could be made to appear as if he or she was anywhere in the world.  So has Richard Engel really been reporting from Egypt and Syria, or has he been standing in front of a green screen somewhere in the bowels of 30 Rock?  Is Chuck Todd really standing in front of the White House?  Is Kelly O'Donnell really reporting from the Capitol?  Who knows.  If the producers deceive the viewers by altering footage to make it appear older, there's no reason to believe they wouldn't also try to deceive the viewers in other ways.  So why should we trust Brian Williams and his producers?  Answer: We shouldn't.  They're weasels who intentionally try to deceive the audience.  If you don't believe this, think back to just a few months ago when NBC News intentionally doctored the George Zimmerman 911 tapes to make him appear racist.  That is not a news division that cares about ethics.
Fri. July 6--OMG--I nearly fell out of my chair.  The lead story wasn't about the heat!  It was about jobs!  Can you believe it?  I can't.
***The heat was relegated to the second story this night.  And now the producers are calling it "Deadly Heat".  Because if you put the word "deadly" in front of anything, it sounds more sensationalistic and more people will watch.  Great job.
***Richard Engel's report from Syria was followed by a promo for "Rock Center".  I guess Brian is so desperate for viewers that he has now instructed his producers to plug "Rock Center" a full week before it airs.  Sad.
***We were treated to a 2:10 story about Georgia public schools that urge students to pick careers as early as sixth grade.  This is news?
***Kate Snow took 48 seconds to tell us that George W. Bush and Nancy Reagan were celebrating birthdays.  Wait--let me get my party hat and noisemaker.
***The "Making A Difference" story tonight was about a group of women who rode bicycles across the country to raise awareness and money to combat obesity and autism.  That's great, but it doesn't contain the slightest bit of news value.  And it doesn't belong on a news broadcast.  But then again, Nightly News isn't a news broadcast, so I guess it's not a problem.  This story was sponsored by Citracal Calcium Gummies, made by Bayer.  What a great idea!  Let's make medicine look and taste like candy so kids will be tempted to eat lots and lots of it all at once!  But the Nightly News producers don't care about the ethical implications of the ads they run.  Especially if it's an ad from Bayer.  After all, Bayer spends so much money advertising on Nightly News that no one at NBC would dare tell them no.