On Staurday afternoon, I sent the message quoted below to Brian Williams (Anchor/Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News). I did not intend to get a reply... and I'm quite certain that I will not. I as well copied this message to Jeff Zucker (CEO of NBC Universal Television Group).
----- Original Message -----
From: Jason Bell
To: Brian Williams
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 3:20 PM
Subject: concerning NBC Nightly News
Hello Mr. Williams,
Do you accept criticism? I hope so.
You, sir, are the iconic face of NBC News on broadcast television. Millions of Americans depend upon you and your broadcasts to remain apprised of national and world events. However, I have little doubt that many of those Americans would be appalled to learn some of what you and NBC News have been doing to them on a daily basis.
I've been a regular viewer of NBC Nightly News for a number of years, so I believe I'm qualified to pass judgment. As the Anchor/Managing Editor of Nightly News, you have discretion concerning what's presented within or excluded from your broadcasts. My complaint herein is spawned from your use of such discretion. To be more specific, you've demonstrated a consistent pattern of omission on Nightly News with respect to certain political topics and related significant developments. This pattern is particularly disturbing to me. I think such a censored conveyance of important events reflects poorly upon NBC, as well as upon yourself, and I consider it deceptive to your viewership. In my view, your friendly on-air mannerism does little to offset the negative impact of your perpetual disservice to America in this regard. I take your exclusions quite seriously.
You, Mr. Williams, hold a position that commands the trust and attention of millions of Americans 5 evenings per week. What have you done with this responsibility, sir? I can tell you what I've seen you do with it. Beyond the farce that you're objectively serving the public interest, what I've observed is an ongoing conformity to the agenda of a giant corporation (i.e., General Electric). You've persisted to exploit the trust of your viewership by filtering your news coverage to the advantage of that corporation's bottom line. Now if you believe such conduct is consistent with practices of good broadcast journalism, I'd suggest that you have fairly distorted values, sir.
I understand that this is a pervasive problem, Mr. Williams. Your NBC News colleagues have demonstrated the same allegiance. It's clear to me that there's either a prevalent partisan attitude among NBC News employees, or they're somehow entranced with a will to conform to General Electric's best interest at the expense of their own integrity and journalistic merits. I've in fact noted an intent to avoid certain politically significant developments among a number of your NBC News colleagues, such as David Gregory, Tim Russert, and Chuck Todd. Clearly, the Meet the Press crew adheres to the same paradigm -- they're apparently good corporate men and women as well. As such, I've concluded that an absence of objectivity tends to be the rule rather than the exception at NBC News. When individuals such as yourself and your colleagues opt to inform the public of only those political developments that pose no threat to their employer's ongoing prosper, something is seriously broken.
Five years ago, NBC News eagerly echoed the drumbeat that precipitated the Iraq invasion. That cheerleading effort has been ultimately responsible for the needless slaughter of more than 1 million Iraqi civilians and nearly 3,900 US troops. To this very day the carnage prevails with no foreseeable end. It was the rally for public support conducted by NBC News (with its irresponsible conveyance of non-facts) in concert with the same from other mainstream media sources that set the course for: 1) the plethora of ensuing destruction and devastation imposed upon Iraq and its people, 2) the astronomical funding burden placed upon our nation, and 3) the horrible tarnishing of America's reputation on the world stage. In 2002-03, this disastrous and expensive campaign of carnage was set to motion by your illustrious news organization who chose to forgo techniques of good journalism in favor of enhancing General Electric's profit potential. There can be no vindication for the failure of NBC News journalists to ferret out and report upon the lack of verifiable evidence associated with the Bush Administration's outlandish assertions that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States. You and your colleagues shamelessly persisted to promulgate the Bush Administration's unfounded and false justifications for invading Iraq to the American public. In the end, NBC News played a key role in rallying public assent for the decimation of a sovereign nation and its people. The hands of NBC News and its elite management with their plush and comfy lifestyles will forever drip with the blood of innocent Iraqis and US military men and women... all blood that should NOT have been shed. I fear now, Mr. Williams, that you and your colleagues at NBC News are going to engage in a similar effort to promote an unwarranted attack on Iran. NBC News is dangerous to world stability... NBC News is a veritable disgrace in my view.
So, if I may ask, are you proud of yourself, Mr. Williams? Are you proud of NBC News? My guess is that you and your colleagues rationalize such bad acts in some perverse and arrogant manner. Am I correct? Your NBC News crew seemed to have no qualms about facilitating the grand scale catastrophe in Iraq, and you've clearly gone out of your way to avoid facilitation of a political remedy that could end the colossal reign of carnage there. Your news organization persists to avoid coverage relevant to the multitude of criminal manipulations perpetrated by the Bush Administration, and you certainly won't inform the public concerning efforts intended to hold the responsible parties to account. You've not been an objective source by any measure, Mr. Williams; you've in fact been a harshly biased facilitator!
I should reiterate here that NBC News is not exclusively responsible for promotional spewage leading to the Iraq disaster. Before the invasion in 2003 (as stated above), other mainstream media sources, including counterpart television news organizations, acted in harmony to promote a buildup of public sentiment favoring an attack. This collective simultaneously embraced, and promulgated as factual, the baseless hype put forward by the Bush Administration. Currently, all of the mainstream television broadcast news organizations are involved in a blackout of newsworthy information relevant to accountability efforts. That says a lot.
So, Mr. Williams, you and your counterpart news professionals can share in the abundance of blame to go around. One of the more perverse aspects of this situation -- there are many -- is that you and your counterpart news anchors/editors well know that a significant portion of the American public maintain tight schedules and thus depend solely upon broadcast television news to remain abreast of current issues, yet you consistently exploit your positions of influence for corporate efficacy. Let's be clear: it's the convenience and accessibility of your terrestrial news broadcasts that allow your duplicitous methods to succeed. The selective filtering practices employed by mainstream television news outlets are easily detected; many Americans simply lack the time to discover and assess them. One merely need compare the coverage carried on the mainstream networks with that disseminated by alternative news sources to learn the nature of what you, your colleagues, and your corporate counterparts have been up to. Such simple comparative research reveals numerous and consequential events unfolding each day that are suspiciously absent from mainstream network news broadcasts. I'm speaking of events pertinent to our constitutional rights, our democracy, our national security, our foreign policy, etc. Such things are important to most Americans, as they should be. I'm convinced that if more Americans had more awareness, interest, and time, NBC News and its mainstream counterparts would find themselves in an undesirable predicament.
It's always a good idea to give a specific case instance so as an example of your omission process at work, let's go back several days. NBC Nightly News knowingly failed to advise the American public of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's November 6 effort to initiate impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney. Rep. Kucinich made his plan known to introduce HR 333 (now HR 799) as a privileged resolution well before November 6, yet NBC Nightly News mentioned nothing about it whatsoever. It's disturbing enough that coverage of this development was absent from your West Coast Nightly News broadcasts of November 5, November 6, and November 7. But factoring in that your broadcast of November 6 (the very day this resolution went to the House floor) was a "limited commercial interruption" edition, the matter becomes infuriating! You had extra time to fill during the November 6 broadcast, yet you avoided mention of the impeachment resolution as if it were an embarrassing secret. I find your conduct in this regard simply unconscionable. A United States Congressman (who happens to be a presidential candidate) presented a case to impeach the Vice President of the United States and you treated the matter as non-newsworthy. There simply can be no valid excuse for such a biased omission in my view, Mr. Williams. When you and your colleagues refuse to tell the American public about important time-critical legislation that's before Congress, you deprive those Americans the opportunity to express their will to their representatives before those representatives vote on said legislation. And that's precisely what you did concerning the HR 333 impeachment resolution. You should not have that much power, sir. General Electric should not have that much power. People place their trust in you to inform them of major events and you respond by abusing that trust in allegiance to your parent company. I can't imagine a more striking example of deplorable journalistic values.
Based on a multitude of related behaviors on your part, Mr. Williams, it's plentifully evident that you and your organization are opposed to an imposition of accountability upon the Bush people for orchestrating their propagandistic campaign of falsehood that ultimately sold the Iraq invasion to mainstream America. However, I suppose it should come as no surprise considering that NBC News assisted in that very campaign of deception.
I'll close by saying that I think the proclivity of NBC News to exclude newsworthy developments from its broadcasts, specifically when those developments highlight the egregious conduct of Bush Administration officials, speaks volumes concerning General Electric's priorities. You, as one who personally implements such exclusions, Mr. Williams, clearly fall into the group that's aiding and abetting those who are mutilating the United States Constitution.