Monday, September 26, 2005

NBC's Williams Says Era Of Reticent News Coverage Ended With Katrina

Despite shrinking audiences for the network newscasts, Brian Williams, the NBC anchor who succeeded Tom Brokaw and won plaudits for his coverage of the New Orleans floods, says they are "too important a franchise" to fade.

"When tragedy befalls the United States, when the event takes place that demands our attention, viewers come roaring back to the broadcast networks," he says. "It's the resources we can bring to bear on a crisis that sets us apart. We were able to operate in New Orleans in places where the federal government was not. We beat the first responders. We set the agenda during this particular event. We were witnesses, so we drove the story."

Williams says a long period of reticence by news organizations -- which he dubs "the 9/11 syndrome" -- ended with Hurricane Katrina.
-- Howard Kurtz' "Media Notes" column, Washington Post, 9/26


Anonymous Magic Rat said...

i doubt that we were supposed to see more serious news coverage after 911 and the media actually got worse, covering missing kids that should have been the realm of local weekly papers, not national news organizations.

If 911 didn't make the media clean up their act, a hurricane won't.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think that I am.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Dr Fate said...

That should be evident in your coverage of the Downing Street Memo tonight

Oh wait- that's still "old news", isnt it?

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Downtown Hound said...

Then I guess you're going to start giving these massive anti-war demonstrations the coverage they deserve? No? Well come on back when you choose to really stop being a whore.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Mr_Spock said...

He was on Daily Show wasn't he?

I thought he was fairly hard on the administration for their poor response.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous TallahasseeGrannie said...


7:42 PM  
Anonymous Mr_Spock said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Mr_Spock said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous democracyindanger said...

I'll believe it when I see it.

Won't be holding my breath. Especially when the prediction is coming from Brian Williams, the "go-to network anchor" for Republicans.

And because I'm sure somebody will ask, this is what I'm talking about.

7:43 PM  
Blogger timnayar said...

Not going to hold my breathe on quality, investigative, nonsensational, and accurate news reports.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous thecorrection said...

Though I wish they'd have had better coverage (or any at all)
of the protests, it's baby steps. I remember back two weeks ago when everyone was praising the MSM for their new found dedication to journalism and railing against the b* admin.

We don't all come out of the gate the way we'd all like. The MSM is never going to cover the news the way we want them to. I'm just happy they woke up and questioned the admin in regards to Katrina and hopefully, they'll continue asking the important questions. We have to keep telling them that speaking out against the war and the admin is profitable or they will go back to their old ways. It's all about what brings in the most viewers, hence the most money. We have to support them when they act as we want and take away our support when they don't and it all comes down to turning off the tv and not spending money on their advertisers during those times.

But of course, you all knew this already.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous zidzi said...

Wow! I didn't know they had such a thing.."JOURNALISTS AGAINST bush's B.S."

That's one for my Address book!

I hope Brian Williams is right ..I know he showed me something I didn't know he had.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Bernardo de La Paz said...

Bold idea: Media with a spine might lead to increased ratings!

After all, investigative journalism has its roots in newspaper circulation wars.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous annabanana said...

Yeah? Well..... SHOW ME

They can talk all they like, but (as my grannie said) "The proof of the pudding is in the eating"

or, for the biblically inclined,

"By their fruits shall ye know them"

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Oregonian said...

Four years post 9-11? You think that's acceptable, Bri, even if it were true?

10:29 AM  
Anonymous AX10 said...

Plame, Rove, DSM, anti-war protests... I'm not hearing much about them.

The media has not changed.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Kahuna said...

Prove it Brian!!! I hope you are tellling the truth.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous hvn_nbr_2 said...

Reticence ends...for one day every five years.

And it didn't start with 9/11. It started at least 25 years ago. Anyone else remember the "Teflon president" Raygun. He wasn't teflon; the media protected him. No matter how stupid he was (Trees are the main cause of air pollution.), they protected him. Then the way they banged on Clinton. It went completely over the top with Clinton, and it would have been hard to imagine getting any worse, but they found a way.

Now he says it's ended. I say, prove it for more than a day. I call bullshit.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous MasonJar said...

I wish he were right, but I think it was a two week aberration.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous stopbush said...

If true, then when is the media going to GO BACK to all of the stories that they "reticently" reported over the past 4 years and do the investigative hard news version? I'd like to know.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous ramapo said...

Sorry No.

Williams was right but only for about 10 days. I think the news orgs are already folding back up into their old useless ways.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous 1932 said...

I guess the first step to recovery is admitting you are an alcoholic, uh, I mean, reticent.

I can't help but think there were a lot of structural reasons the media did this story right.


- Being embedded with people who were suffering. Reporters always sympathize with the people with whom they're embedded, whether it's the US army or poor black N'O'eans.

- not being in communication with the home office meant they had total editorial control.

I'm not confident the media will overcome their reticicence with important stories in the future since the reason for this in N.O. related to these structural elements.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous PurityOfEssence said...

So that coverage of last weekend's rally is evidence of forthrightness?

Was there ANY mention of it on any of the three "major" networks? There sure as hell wasn't any on CBS on Saturday; it's as if it never happened.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a antiwar protest, and

Where were you then, where are you now?
Our troops, and the Iraqi's are still being bombed to bits. Death by drowing,why? because Bush refused them money for the levees.
and the beat of Bush's failures goes on. Where are you,one of the main media's failures?

10:35 AM  

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