NBC's Today Has Used 'Pimped,' 'Pimping,' and 'Pimped Out'

Is NBC News allergic to the use of "pimp" during its serious news broadcasts? In the wake of the scandal over MSNBC's David Shuster suggesting Chelsea Clinton had been "pimped out" by her mother's campaign, a quick look at the Nexis database shows that NBC News hosts and anchors have not been immune to the rising use of "pimp" in our pop culture as not only a noun, but as a verb or adjective, meaning to promote (either selling a product or the attributes of a person) or to improve or renovate (like the MTV show Pimp My Ride). This is especially true of the Today show, where Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Meredith Vieira (in her case by reading a quote) have all used the newfangled word. CNBC reporter Jane Wells also filed a story on the "Pimped Out John," a deluxe toilet with all kinds of amenities. Snippets of transcript follow. November 9, 2007 Today:

GIADA DE LAURENTIIS: And we're going to introduce to--you to a young man who transformed his dorm room, his college dorm room into the hottest place to eat on campus.MATT LAUER: Very cool.DE LAURENTIIS: It's really cool. It's really cool, I'm very excited.AL ROKER: Well, speaking of cool...NATALIE MORALES: He pimped his dorm room.

Promoting an upcoming story on a survey of the most single-friendly cities, March 12, 2007 Today:

CURRY: Ah. Meantime, Leslie, on our floor, she's basically thinking we should send her to some of these cities, just to check out these numbers, and she's really liking that I busted her on that.ROKER: Wow, yeah. Basically you're pimping Leslie. Nice.And for all you...CURRY: Looking--I'm looking after my girlfriend.

Evaluating the claim that the bones of Jesus had been found, February 26, 2007 Today:

VIEIRA: And there are some critics, including--and I'm probably not going to pronounce his name right. It's Joe Zias, Z-I-A-S.SIMCHA JACOBOVICI: He hasn't seen the film and he hasn't read the book. So this is...VIEIRA: But he is a curator who was involved in the initial finding of the ossuaries.JAMES CAMERON: Mm-hmm.VIEIRA: Let me just ready to you what he says, James. He says, "Simcha has no credibility whatsoever. He's pimping off the Bible. He got this guy, Cameron"--you--"who made "Titanic" or something like that. What does this guy know about archaeology? Projects like these make a mockery of the archaeological profession." You were brought into this because, obviously, you felt strongly about it. What do you think of that statement? 

The toilet story on the January 14, 2007 Today:

JANE WELLS reporting: What if you could run your whole life out of one room? Forget everything you've ever thought about bathrooms. Meet the Pimped Out John from Roto-Rooter.Unidentified Man #1: This is the seat of power.WELLS: Roto-Rooter is trying to reintroduce itself to a new generation. So the company is giving away the ultimate throne, a toilet with everything but the kitchen sink....It's got a flat screen HDTV, iPod and dock, TiVo, Xbox 360, and DVD player. There's a laptop, bullhorn, bike pedals, beer tap, fridge.

And at the end:

BROWN: The Roto-Rooter Pimped Out John. That's what they call it, I didn't say that. I didn't make it up.

A minivan segment on the September 22, 2006 Today:

ROKER: I am not ashamed to admit I drive a minivan.

PAUL HOCHMAN: It is--it's something that actually takes a lot of work to finally admit it in public, I have to say.ROKER: I like it. It's like a living room on wheels, baby.HOCHMAN: And for some, though, it is a sexually ambiguous task.ROKER: OK. Well, there is that.HOCHMAN: OK.ROKER: But anyway. So--but you say we can, quote, "pimp out" our minivan.HOCHMAN: We're going to pimp our minivan.

And at the end:

ROKER: That's right. Very nice. Paul Hochman, great way--I've got a great way now to pimp out my minivan.
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis