On 12/1/14, Brian Williams ended NBC Nightly News with a very important news story. It was a story about Farmersonly.com--a dating site for farmers. Here's how Brian introduced the story:
"Finally tonight--how many Americans this Thanksgiving paused right before digging into stuffing to think about where the wheat came from to make the bread to make the stuffing? Well, the answer is: A farm in America where someone cares about that crop. Someone turns in at night before dark and gets up the next morning before sunrise to care for that crop--and that's during a good year. Farming life isn't for everyone and cultivating a meaningful relationship can be tough. That is where a new website comes in as we hear tonight from bona fide Midwesterner Harry Smith."
Anyone who's watched Nightly News more than a handful of times knows that Brian is a serial panderer. A fawning, obsequious toady who will ingratiate himself with any demographic that can boost his Nielsen ratings. On this night, farmers got the nod. Some of his other favorite targets for pandering include sports fans (especially fans of so-called blue-collar sports like football, hockey and NASCAR), car owners (most often American cars like Chevys, Chryslers and especially the Ford F-150 pickup) and Rust Belt or Midwestern cities (the "good people" or "hardy souls" of Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago and Minnesota are frequently singled out for praise). Brian loves to pander, but, of course, being Brian, he does so in a narcissistic, self-referential way. He'll extol your sports team, car or city while craftily painting himself as a clock-punchin', jeans-wearin', beer-drinkin' good ol' boy--albeit one whose annual salary has been estimated at $13 million per year. He loves to burnish his faux-working-class image by using phrases like, "For those of us who love football...," "For all of us who've ever loved a Mustang" and "Those of who enjoy riding up high [in a Chevy Suburban]." Yes, Brian is just like you--the middle-American, sports-loving, working-class viewer he's pandering to. In fact, you and Brian have something else in common--you both love watching Brian every night on the TV news.
Here's what Brian said on the 7/9/13 Nightly News after a map on the previous day's broadcast omitted New Hampshire:
"And this calls for a reminder of great things about New Hampshire: It's got the best motto--'Live Free Or Die'--and it is the home of the first-in-the-nation primary. Its entire elected delegation is women--Governor, two U.S. Senators and members of Congress. And while they are all serious people, New Hampshire has also given us Seth Meyers and Sarah Silverman. And the inventor of Tupperware is from there and paper towels were invented in New Hampshire. So to the great people of the great state of New Hampshire--from the peaks of the White Mountains to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee--please accept our apology." It should be noted that Brian pronounced "Lake Winnipesaukee" with a fake New England accent, because his superior ego just can't resist the urge to mock the people he's pandering to.
Brian probably doesn't have many Canadian viewers, but that didn't prevent him from saying this on the 7/1/14 Nightly News:
"If you've been unable to reach a Canadian friend today, that's because it's Canada Day, celebrated throughout the land by our neighbors to the north in a number of ways--including beverage consumption. In the hands down best video of the day, which we have put on our website tonight, two brothers from Canada--one of them a national hero--celebrate their nation in song. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and his brother Dave composed and recorded a song called 'In Canada'--as you might have gathered. And it will make you happy because it's as sweet as maple syrup and they embrace their own wholesomeness and corniness and their own unabashed love of country."
And here's how Brian began Nightly News on 11/19/14:
"Good evening. The people of Buffalo, New York don't scare easily. President McKinley was assassinated there in 1901 and they moved on. They have loved their Buffalo Bills from the good years through the bad years and now that they're good again. They have given the world not only Tim Russert, but also Wolf Blitzer. And while Buffalo is a tough town, they may have finally met their match. A relentless snow storm has dropped nearly six feet of snow coming right in off the lake with upwards of two more feet on the way. Daily life has simply come to a halt for many across a big area and the storm has already cost several lives. It is officially a state of emergency tonight across a whole region."
Now, if Brian Williams hasn't heaped a proverbial ton of praise on the place where you live, don't feel bad. It doesn't mean that you're not hardy, tough or nice. It doesn't mean that you scare easily. It doesn't mean that you don't live in a great (or iconic) American city or that you and your neighbors aren't good people. It doesn't mean that you don't love football or Chevys. It just means that Brian hasn't yet gotten around to pandering to your particular town, city or state. But he will. Sooner or later. Remember Brian's motto: So many places to pander to, so little time.