NBC’s Williams Hits Bowles and Simpson from the Left, Deficit Cutting an ‘Assault’ on Middle Class and Poor

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Wednesday evening hit presidential deficit commission co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles from the left, the New York Times left. Without ever raising conservative criticism of proposals to raise taxes, Williams charged:

It seems to me there's two arguments. There's what you're trying to accomplish and then there's how you're trying to accomplish, and there are, as you know, critics of what you're trying to do.  James K. Galbraith writes in the New York Times, “Bowles-Simpson proposal is an assault on the middle class, the working class and the poor.”

This wasn’t the first time Williams has cited a left-wing New York Times op-ed or columnist for what he considered sage wisdom.

From October 21, “Williams Harangues Christie from the Krugman Left, Pleads for More Spending: 'Couldn't You Find the Money?'” which recounted:

Brian Williams touted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a “star” on “the rise” in the Republican Party before adding a “however” and haranguing him from left over his opposition to massive spending for a new tunnel from his state to New York, reciting as an oracle the criticism from far-left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman without ever identifying the source of the supposed wisdom beyond “the op-ed page of the New York Times.”

For Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, Williams traveled to the Garden State to sit down with Christie. Williams contended Christie “took a big hit for saying no to New Jersey's share of a new tunnel beneath the Hudson River, a huge public works project designed to ease congestion. His decision exploded on the op-ed page of the New York Times which called it ‘a blow to national hopes of a recovery.’” That was Krugman’s characterization in an October 8 op-ed, The End of the Tunnel.

When Christie explained how his deep in debt state can’t afford the billions more now demanded for the project, Williams pleaded: “But couldn't you find the money? Isn't there a way if you really wanted it, if you really wanted it for long-term investment?” The anchor continued to display his reverence for the New York Times as he, once again, quoted Krugman:

The Times goes on. Here's how you should think about the decision to kill the tunnel: “It's a terrible thing in itself, but, beyond that, it's a perfect symbol of how America has lost its way.” You're being tied to the nation losing its way by dint of this decision.

The other two of the three prompts from Williams in the interview excerpted on the Wednesday, December 1 NBC Nightly News:

– Well, here's a question for either of you. If these cuts go through, though not exactly as you've called for, as you'd like to see them, if there's a process that gets us more or less to the same place, will you be happy and content with that?

– Senator Simpson, if I gave you 30 seconds of free TV time, what is your 30-second pitch on the urgency and importance of doing something about this?

A cranky Simpson answered: “This may not be the greatest generation, it might be the greediest generation. And sober up or sleep in the streets.”

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center