Brian Williams Claims His Reporting is 'Cleansed of Political Opinions,' 'Down the Middle'

Appearing on left-wing actor Alec Baldwin's weekly WNYC talk radio show, Here's The Thing, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams laughably asserted that his reporting was void of any political bias: "My work has been so cleansed, as I see it, and as I've tried, of political opinions over 27 years....I can try to call it down the middle, and try to be fair about it, and do a 'just the facts'..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Throughout the interview, Baldwin gushed over how supposedly objective Williams was: "Although loud personalities with extreme views gobble up more air time, television news is an industry that still rewards unbiased, thoughtful, and direct reporting....many people in your business, you can feel little belches and little fissures of their opinions coming through, or a sense of that, and with you, there's none....I think that's what makes your program so successful. That's why I watch you."

Baldwin wondered: "How do you do it? Do you have political opinions?" Williams feigned ignorance: "I sometimes don't know." Baldwin later followed up: "But is it something that you consciously have worked to do?" Williams replied: "Yes, I try to keep it down the middle. I just don't think anyone needs that from me."

Williams made a point of dismissing opinion media: "No one needs another blowhard yelling at them. No one gives a rat's patootie about my opinion. So that's nice that I don't have to share it. I'd have to form one first on half of these issues....You think there's a shortage of opinionated media out there these days? You think people are longing to hear what I think about the fiscal cliff?"


In addition to Media Research Center Profile in Bias on Williams, here is sampling of some of the Nightly News anchor's slanted reporting from the 2012 presidential campaign:

> Bozell Column: Brian Williams, Shameless Partisan

> Brian Williams Quotes Himself Comparing Obama to Liberal Movie President

> Multi-Millionaire Brian Williams Lectures on Presidential Campaign Spending

> NBC's Brian Williams Obnoxiously Presses Rubio About GOP's 'Rape Debate'

> Brian Williams Turned to Steve Schmidt on Election Night: Tell Them It's Time to Shut This Limbaugh Down

Here is a transcript of the March 4 exchange:

ALEC BALDWIN: This is Alec Baldwin and you're listening to Here's the Thing. Today with Brian Williams.

Although loud personalities with extreme views gobble up more airtime, television news is an industry that still rewards unbiased, thoughtful, and direct reporting.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: My work has been so cleansed, as I see it, and as I've tried, of political opinions over 27 years.

BALDWIN: How do you do it? Do you have political opinions?

WILLIAMS: I sometimes don't know.

(...)

WILLIAMS: No one needs another blowhard yelling at them. No one gives a rat's patootie about my opinion. So that's nice that I don't have to share it. I'd have to form one first on half of these issues, and people, and I can try to call it down the middle, and try to be fair about it, and do a 'just the facts,' with a little fun around the margins.

BALDWIN: But why do you think, why do you think you're different in so far as – when I would watch [Dan] Rather, I could sense very much that Rather had his opinions, and I could sense very much...

WILLIAMS: And I think that made him-

BALDWIN: ...that Rather was straining mightily to contain those opinions in the framework, Brokaw as well. Does Brian Williams lay in bed at night with his wife, and that's when those opinions come flying out? Your feelings about – or do you keep all of that private? Or have you found – because you don't exude that at all on the air.

(...)

BALDWIN: But is it something that you consciously have worked to do? Your predecessors – Cronkite probably no. And I know we don't always need to go 'Cronkite, Cronkite.'

WILLIAMS: Well, he's the gold standard. He's my north star.

BALDWIN: Yes, but many people in your business, you can feel little belches and little fissures of their opinions coming through, or a sense of that, and with you, there's none. Is it something that you consciously have tried to comb out of your delivery?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I try to keep it down the middle. I just don't think anyone needs that from me.

BALDWIN: That's what you think is a better broadcast?

WILLIAMS: You think there's a shortage of opinionated media out there these days?

BALDWIN: No.

WILLIAMS: You think people are longing to hear what I think about the...

BALDWIN: I think that's what makes your program so successful. That's why I watch you.

WILLIAMS: ...fiscal cliff? Yeah, well, thank you.

BALDWIN: I don't want anything on it. Just give me – I want the news.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC