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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Zucker the Mucker Fucker 

I think there's a lot of incredibly important lessons to be learned in that report. . . . We learned lessons at NBC more than a decade ago when we had an issue with 'Dateline.' And we instituted an enormous number of safeguards that would never have allowed something like this to happen...Nothing like that could have gotten through at any level because of the safeguards that we instituted more than a decade ago.

NBC Universal president, Jeff Zucker, during the Television Critics Association press talk in January, brazenly trashing CBS for the Dan Rather scandal related to President Bush's mysterious National Guard service. A holier-than-fuck attitude is not such a good idea though, when words can come back to haunt. Consider this Brian Williams exclusive on March 1, 2005.

There is word from Baghdad this evening -- confirmed by NBC News -- that the presiding judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein has been assassinated.

Except that he hadn't been. Turns out it was another judge. As Jon Stewart of the Daily Show pointed out, images of the judge who was not assasinated, had been deliberately blurred by all television news broadcasts to protect his identity. However, NBC, thinking he was dead, didn't bother to blur his image. Out damn spot!!!On March 2, 2005, Williams had to back-pedal:

Last night here on this broadcast we had news of a judge's murder. At that time U.S. sources believed the victim was the presiding judge in the Saddam case. We later learned and reported it was, in fact, a member of the Saddam tribunal

Brian Stelter of TVNewser has all the gory details, which include Zucker references to a copycat acts by Fox. Referring to Fox's copycat tactics at the Television Critics Association, at least Zucker got one thing right. And Scott Pierce of Deseret Morning News predicted this would happen as early as February 10th in his NBC exec should never say 'never' about scandal ! An obvious prediction, yes, but no one else did it.

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