Unlike ABC and CBS, NBC’s Williams Spikes Weinergate Yet Has Time for Christie’s Helicopter ‘PR Problem’

ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News on Wednesday night both allocated full stories to Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner and his evolving non-denial denials over the lewd photo sent from his Twitter account, but not the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Williams instead made the news judgment to skip Weiner and highlight the “PR problem” Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces for taking a state police helicopter to his son’s high school baseball game – and later found 25 more seconds to note the retirement of NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.

Williams’ decision to ignore Weiner came despite the fact NBC’s Luke Russert conducted an interview with Weiner which aired in the afternoon on MSNBC. (NB: “Luke Russert Impales Weiner with His Own Words.”)

After deciding to give air time to advance Democratic efforts to tar Christie, Williams at least included a counter-point:

And while he is still the guy a lot of Republicans want to run for the White House, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has a PR problem – there it is [photo of Christie by a NJ state police helicopter] using one of the state's new helicopters to fly him to his son's baseball game. The head of the state police pointed out, in a statement today, he is the Governor 24/7. The office has to go with him wherever life and his travel lead him.

Summarizing Wednesday morning interest: “ABC, NBC Spotlight Growing Weiner Photo Scandal; CBS Punts.”

How the ABC and CBS anchors introduced their Wednesday night, June 1, Weiner stories:

Diane Sawyer, on ABC’s World News:

A political controversy has been all the talk in Washington today. Congressman Anthony Weiner had his name on a photo sent everywhere on Twitter. And our Jon Karl caught up with the Congressman to ask him about the strange story that keeps getting stranger.

Harry Smith, on the CBS Evening News:

It started out with a photograph on a Congressman's Twitter account, and now the story has gone absolutely viral on media of every kind. Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York denied today that he sent a lewd photograph to a 21-year-old college student in Seattle. Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has the story.

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