NBC's Williams Plays Populist: 'You Need to Refinance Your Home to Refill Your Tank'

On the August 22 edition of "NBC Nightly News," host Brian Williams described a gas station in Illinois that accidentally sold unleaded fuel for 30 cents. He sarcastically recounted the story this way:

"The pumps were quickly shut down amid fears that oil company profits might plummet. But for one brief, shining moment, we the consumers won. It was like the old days before you needed to refinance your home to refill your tank."

It should be noted, according to New York magazine, that Brian Williams makes $4 million a year. Sounding a bit like a radio DJ dedicating a song, the "Nightly News" anchor also announced that the story was "for all those who quietly suffer at the gas pump every day across this country, watching those numbers fly by."

Brian Williams isn’t the first NBC personality to complain about the draining effect of gas prices. Katie Couric, on the August 15, 2005 edition of "Today," discussed the financial strain that fuel costs put on her:

Co-host Matt Lauer: "Pain at the pump. Gas prices are going sky high. I paid $2.94 a gallon over the weekend to fill up the car."

Co-host Katie Couric: "It’s ridiculous. I had to take out a loan to fill up my minivan. It’s crazy."

One can only hope that Couric’s new job at CBS allows her to fill up her tank without resorting to bank loans.

A transcript of the August 22 "NBC Nightly News" segment follows:

[7:23PM EDT]

Williams: "This next item here is for all those who quietly suffer at the gas pump every day across this country, watching those numbers fly by. The scene was the Charles Street Stop-and-Go in Rockford, Illinois. The time, yesterday morning. The price at the pump for medium-grade, unleaded, $3.09 a gallon. But then a computer glitch somehow moved the decimal point on the price one place to the left. That turned the $3 gas into 30-cent gas. The attendant noticed something might be wrong when a huge line formed outside the gas station. The pumps were quickly shut down amid fears that oil company profits might plummet. But for one brief, shining moment, we the consumers won. It was like the old days before you needed to refinance your home to refill your tank."

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