Brian Williams: Al Roker's Accident 'Hasn't Happened in the West Wing Since Nixon Discovered the Tapes'

NBC's Al Roker revealed Sunday that back in 2002, he had an embarrassing accident in the White House as a result of getting his stomach stapled.

On CBS's Late Show Tuesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams said, "That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since Nixon discovered the tapes” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

After a commercial break, host David Letterman began the second segment of his interview with Williams by asking, “Can you get a hold of Al Roker and ask him to stop talking about this?”

“This was an interesting chapter in both the book and Al's life that I was heretofore unaware of,” Williams replied.

“And I think it should be left that way,” quipped Letterman.

“We're close, but we’re not that close.” Williams countered. “I think it's about the surgery and people mulling over the surgery. That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since Nixon discovered the tapes.”

Letterman and the audience predictably thought this was hysterical.

Yet why did Williams feel the need to go so far back in history to something that likely most of the audience would be too young to understand?

Certainly there have been other things that have happened in more recent American history that have similarly shocked and disturbed a president.

For example, Williams might have said, “That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since Carter heard about hostages being taken at our embassy in Iran.”

Or how about, “That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since the Drudge Report broke the news about Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?”

Or “That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since Clinton heard he was being impeached?”

On the other hand, if he really wanted to express how rare such an occurrence is, Williams might have said, “That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.” At least this wouldn’t have involved a political scandal.

No, the butt of this distasteful joke about a president having an embarrassing accident in the White House of course had to be a Republican.

Color me very unsurprised.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.