A Foolish Consistency on NBC

Tonight the NBC Nightly News doggedly began its broadcast with a report from the levees of New Orleans at the onset of hurricane season rather than where CBS and ABC began: with the Haditha massacre and the European-U.S. coalition visavis Iran.

By such choices, Brian Williams is hewing to the position he took at a forum of the news media in Harlem some weeks back (on C-Span), when he asserted that NBC was committed to covering the problems of black people—witness the New Orleans coverage. (An angry questioner had actually asked about Mumia Abu-Jamal; all the network types dodged that one, understandably). Good for them, and yet tonight’s broadcast showed just how stupid such a stubborn posture can be, in the event. The important news was elsewhere; NBC couldn’t go there, out of some kind of ideological bias.