Ed Driscoll

'NBC Trapped in Kafkaesque Nightmare!'

That’s what a Kausfiles headline screams today — could you narrow it down a bit, Mickey? Because NBC is currently trapped in all sorts of Kafkaesque nightmares, most of which are of the network’s own making: If NBC drops legendary anchorman Al Sharpton, I hope they have the mother of all disparagement clauses in his contract, because the only reason the network employs Sharpton is as a protection racket to prevent him from devouring their colleagues. (See: Imus, Don.) What to do about Brian Williams, now that Lester Holt is keeping the ratings steady among the network’s elderly viewers? And what to do about far left muckraker David Corn, who’s dying to come on MSNBC — where he’s employed as a commentator — and blast Bill O’Reilly. But does Phil Griffin really want O’Reilly thrashing away at his network for the next two weeks while he’s trying to decide what it will be when it finally grows up? (Or buy time by negotiating a truce with viewer-hating Keith Olbermann.)

But actually, what Kaus is referring to is this:

The Latest Fad — Mindlessness: NBC Nightly News managed to devote almost two minutes of tonight’s opening segment to the standoff over Department of Homeland Security funding — after another, initial two minutes on the terrorist threat to the Mall of America. In that time NBC never says what the DHS funding fight is about, namely Obama’s executive action giving work permits and deportation protection to millions of illegal immigrants. (You can watch the astonishing newscast here.) The word “immigration” isn’t even uttered. Viewers tuning in would have absolutely no idea why the “big fight” — with 200,000 workers facing no paychecks, a possible “security risk,” and the “clock ticking”– is happening. Is it a budget dispute, with Republicans trying to lower federal spending and Democrats trying to raise it? An argument over long TSA lines? Insufficient leg room in coach? A union dispute? Mindless partisan animosity? The NBC story doesn’t even blame Republicans. A Democratic propaganda segment would at least have had a coherent story line.

I can see several possible explanations:

Normally, I consider Mickey to be one of the most astute observers of the national scene — but since when is mindlessness the latest fad at NBC? It seems to be well in place there since at least the Fred Silverman days.

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