Ed Driscoll

'NBC News Appears Adrift'

And so does the New York Times, which reports on NBC News’ collapse in ratings and credibility without ever mentioning the words MSNBC, Trayvon, Fast & Furious, or heck, even Wawa, as deceptive edits and lack of coverage of key stories have badly tarnished the once-respected network’s credibility. As John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:


Our so-called media analysts, like the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, and Politico’s Dylan Byers are nothing more than figureheads installed by the very people they’re supposed to hold accountable. They’re not watchdogs, they’re lapdogs, created to fool the public into thinking someone’s actually policing The Biased and the Beautiful.

Case in point, yesterday’s New York Times analysis of the ratings trouble NBC News is having of late:

NBC News has long been a dominant presence on network television, regularly winning the ratings competition against its evening news and Sunday morning political show competitors, and reveling in the “Today” show’s 16-year winning streak in morning television, a record not broken until April.

Struggling with declining ratings across all three franchises, however, and with news this week that the network is preparing to replace Ann Curry on “Today,” NBC executives are facing a new narrative that is being embraced by the competition. For the first time in more than a decade, NBC News appears adrift.

NBC’s major news shows, including “NBC Nightly News” and “Meet the Press,” have lost ground to rivals in the last year, causing wider concerns about the health of the news division, which has been the No. 1 television news operation in America for the better part of two decades. For now it is still No. 1 by almost every measure, but it appears to be more vulnerable than it has been at any time in years.

The most visible manifestation of this is “Today.” The morning show is a profit center for the news division, raking in several hundred million dollars each year and effectively subsidizing other news shows.

The writers are Bill Carter and Brian Stetler and the piece is a long one, almost a thousand words. But two words you won’t find are “credibility” and “scandal.”

Not once do Carter or Stetler mention the appalling history of NBC News’s race-baiting, including the “Today Show’s” unforgivable racial tampering with the audio of a 911 call made by George Zimmerman.

No mention of this or this or the hundred other examples of NBC News’ bias that has been viralized in New Media.

And you know the Times would never consider this as something that might turn viewers away in disgust.

Something else you won’t see in the piece are the letters M,S,N,B, and C, all gathered together up against each other. Apparently, the Times wants to pretend that the MSNBC fever swamp just doesn’t belong in a story about NBC News, even though Steve Capus, the man who oversees NBC News and was interviewed for the Times piece, is also in charge of MSNBC.


The results have been a long time coming, and entirely predictable. In 2004, Brian Williams was sold as Tom Brokaw’s more Red State-friendly replacement by his boss. In 2008, we could get a sense of how that was working out at the Republican convention, when attendees made their displeasure with the network known, as Matthew Sheffield of Newsbusters wrote at the time:

About a year into MSNBC’s strategy of refashioning itself into the network for Bush haters, some consequences are starting to emerge for the cable channel and its corporate parent NBC.

Internally, the lurch to the left has resulted in numerous outbreaks of hostility as the remains of the old guard fight to protect themselves and the token conservatives find themselves increasingly marginalized.

Some external consequences are emerging a well now. While apolitical liberals still haven’t kicked their CNN habit (and likely won’t), MSNBC’s corporate leftism has antagonized conservatives. It showed last night here in St. Paul as conventioneers held up signs denouncing the network and began a derisive chant of “NBC! NBC!” when Alaska governor Sarah Palin took a pronounced swipe at the media in her vice presidential nominating speech.

“I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone,” Palin said in one of her biggest applause lines of the night.

Immediately thereafter, the audience started booing loudly and clapping. Within a second or so, various crowd members starting chanting out “NBC! NBC! NBC!” This quickly spread throughout the packed arena. Many conventioneers followed it up by pointing toward the MSNBC temporary studio inside the Xcel Energy Center, conveniently positioned next to the Arab television network Aljazeera by someone at the RNC.


A year earlier, the GE-owned network urged its viewers to turn their lights off and stop using a key product of GE:

[flashvideo file=http://pjmedia.com/media/video/lightsoutonNBC-SNF.flv width=352 height=288 image=http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/files/2009/05/nbc-green.jpg /]

There’s another way to reduce consumption of a GE product: turn off NBC and its affiliated networks — surely NBC can’t be all that surprised that viewers finally took the network’s own advice.

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