On Monday (9/10/12), NBC Nightly News ran a "news story" about the debate between letting your baby cry all night or rushing to comfort it as soon as it begins crying. First of all, this idiotic story does not in any way qualify as news. With so many actual news events going on across the country and around the world, it's appalling that Brian Williams and his producers would allow this story to air on a news broadcast. But that's hardly the worst part of this horrible situation. The title of the story was "Up All Night"--the same title as the NBC sitcom starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett that will have its season premiere on Sept. 20. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the story began with an 11-second clip from the NBC sitcom. So it's obvious what's going on here. The weaselly NBC executives think "Up All Night" could become a hit, so they collaborated with Brian and his producers to manufacture a sham "news story" for the sole purpose of promoting this show. It's hard to imagine that a so-called professional news organization could do something so sleazy and unethical. But then again, NBC News these days is rarely mistaken for a professional news organization. One of the main goals of Brian and his producers is to use Nightly News to promote NBC's sports and entertainment programs (and to promote their sponsors as well--but that's a whole different topic. For more on Nightly News's product placements, see the 4/8/12 edition of The Nightly Daily: http://nightly-daily.blogspot.com/2012/04/nbc-nightly-news-show-notes-4712.html). Here's another recent example of Brian using his broadcast to promote NBC's prime-time programming: During the 17 days of the London Olympics, Nightly News spent a total of two-hours-and-twenty-seven minutes airing Olympic-related stories as a way to entice viewers to watch NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage. That's almost nine minutes a night--roughly half of each broadcast when you factor out the commercials and other extraneous non-news material. Obviously, the more viewers that watch the Olympics, the more ad revenue NBC earns.
But perhaps the sleaziest promotion Nightly News ever did was last Feb. 13. Two days after Whitney Houston's death, a story about Houston was given the title "The Voice", which also happens to be the name of NBC's singing competition show. There is absolutely no doubt that the producers gave the story this title in order to promote the NBC show "The Voice", which would be airing later that same night (the words "the Voice" remained on the screen for more than fifteen seconds). Brian and his producers should be deeply ashamed of themselves for using Houston's death to promote an NBC entertainment show. But of course, they're not. That's what they do. In fact, they're probably proud of themselves for figuring out a nifty way to promote "The Voice".
It is a common practice for Brian to use Nightly News stories to promote the Olympics, Sunday Night Football, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and many of NBC's sports, entertainment and news shows--including, of course, his own Rock Center which is heavily promoted on Nightly News. This is not just sleazy and unethical--it falls under the category of journalistic malpractice. Viewers tune in expecting to see news, and instead they see fake news stories promoting NBC shows. So where's the outrage? Why isn't anyone doing anything about this? Why aren't angry viewers marching on 30 Rock with torches and pitchforks demanding the resignation of Brian Williams and NBC News President Steve Capus? When is the FCC going to shut down Nightly News once and for all?