Brian Williams: 'Conservative' Local Newspapers Don't Mention Cancer?

In what may rank as one of the oddest non sequiturs of the year, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to proclaim "some conservative local newspapers" won't report a cause of death when it's cancer. [audio available here]

Williams stopped by, along with CBS and ABC anchors Katie Couric and Charles Gibson, as part of a new anti-cancer initiative. Williams preceded his bizarre claim by instructing, "Think of the obituaries, just in our adult lifetimes, that didn't mention the 'C' word." Just what is Williams implying? It would help to have some sort of evidence that "conservative local newspapers" are suppressing information on cancer deaths. By "conservative," does Williams mean backwards or superstitious? Whatever the explanation, it certainly seems like another example of a journalist using "conservative" as a synonym for "bad."

A brief transcript of the exchange, which occurred at 8:37am on the May 28 "Good Morning America," follows:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Think of the obituaries, just in our adult lifetimes, that didn't mention the "C" word.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Still, you'll see some conservative local newspapers that don't mention cause of death when it's cancer. It's really incredible. And yet, the old expression, six degrees of separation? Six? Five. Four. Three. It's in every American family. Try finding an American family.

ROBERTS: It's minuscule. You can't-- I don't think you can find an American family.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org