NBC's Williams: With Election Over, It's 'Once Again Safe' to Discuss Economy, Jobs
Two days after the national election on November 6, Brian Williams -- anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News -- made a peculiar comment during that Thursday's edition of Rock Center, the network's prime time news program.
“With the election now over, it is once again safe to talk abut the economy and jobs, Now that it is not a campaign issue, it's back to reality,” he stated despite the fact that he had regularly discussed the topic during the campaign in a manner that always favored President Obama.
As NewsBusters previously reported, the presidential contest had barely gotten underway in September of 2011 when Williams interviewed Obama and asked the Democratic incumbent when he was going to “channel his inner Harry Truman” and thus energize his base.
Later that month, Williams asked Obama questions from the left about liberal exasperation with the President.
“A lot of African-Americans in this country are getting flat out crushed in this economy,” the anchor noted before fretting over how instead the “D.C. debate is often admittedly about tax cuts for the wealthy.”.
In mid-February, Williams praised the results of the Obama administration's bailout as part of Detroit's “comeback.”
After something of a near-death experience, a huge government bailout, and a lot of hard work, General Motors, that thoroughly American brand name, is tonight reporting its largest-ever profit for last year, $7.6 billion.
When the Obama re-election campaign got underway in March, the NBC anchor was quick to get on the Democratic incumbent's bandwagon: "Game on. The President and Vice President hitting it hard tonight on the campaign trail."
Williams also touted how Republicans were "eating up time and money and effort" in the primary race, while "Democrats were in full fall campaign mode."
As if that wasn't enough, the broadcast quoted Vice President Joe Biden claiming: “A million jobs saved, 200,000 new jobs created, and the verdict is in, President Obama was right, and they were dead wrong.”
On May 14, Williams attempted to connect the JPMorgan $2 billion loss with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's business record when he said:
The Obama campaign may have had this story in mind when it picked today to launch a new ad attacking Mitt Romney's former firm, the private equity giant Bain Capital, as a middle class job killer.
Ten days later, the NBC newsman attempted to ridicule Romney’s pledge to reduce the unemployment rate to six percent by 2016, a level enjoyed fewer than four years earlier.
Back when Newt Gingrich pledged $2.50 a gallon gasoline if elected President, he was called out at the time for an unrealistic number. Today, some of the same thing happened to Mitt Romney when he made a pledge on unemployment as part of his overall defense of his work at Bain Capital.
However, three colleagues on the MSNBC cable channel-- Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd -- apparently didn't get the memo as they agreed that six percent unemployment is actually inevitable and scolded Romney for making such a wimpy prediction.
Williams hammered Romney for not releasing all of his income tax returns during a July 25 interview, leading him to ask the GOP candidate if he's “a hidden man.”
The former Massachusetts governor replied:
The American people are not real concerned about tax returns. They're concerned about who can get this economy going and create good jobs again, and I can. The President hasn't been able to do the job as he had expected to do, and I know how to get it done.
As the election drew nearer, the NBC anchor interviewed Obama again, this time asking:
How is it that with -- what, 13 days to go, you're fighting for your life in a 47/47 race?... So after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you got bin Laden, you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today?
“We always knew this was gonna be a close race from the start,” the President replied. “You guys have some short memories. Folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there's no way I would win."
And on Nov. 2, Williams stressed that the final unemployment report before Election Day “was better than experts had expected” due to the addition of 171,000 jobs.
Perhaps Obama was correct when he stated that Williams and his fellow reporters “have some short memories.” Or could it be that the NBC anchor is “once again safe” when it comes to reporting economic news since he can no longer be at least partly to blame for the president's loss?