On Thursday morning, NBC announced "the networks of NBCUniversal -- including NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA - will join forces to air a one-hour live benefit telethon, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together," on Friday at 8 pm Eastern time. Proceeds go the Red Cross.
It will star singers who’ve been big Obama fans – Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting – as well as the pro-Obama celebrities of NBC, like Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams. No Kanye West? Matt Lauer will host the show. How will this not end up looking like last-minute Obama boosterism, at least from this cast?
Rapper Kanye West used a similar commercial-free hurricane telethon for Katrina victims in 2005 to go on a rant about how “George Bush doesn’t care about black people" and claimed lawmen were granted "permission to go down and shoot us."
On NBC, Matt Lauer said West's outbursts were "part of the American way of life." Later, when Lauer interviewed Bush about his memoir Decision Points, he chided the ex-president: "You're not saying that the worst moment in your presidency was watching the misery in Louisiana. You're saying it was when someone insulted you because of that."
This is hardly the first time the NBC Universal networks were deployed this way. Remember Al Gore's Live Earth concerts for global warming activism?