Appearance Alert!
MRC Research Director Rich Noyes on Fox Business Network at 5:55 p.m. ET

Williams Prompts Carter: What, In 'Your Wiring,' Has 'Set You Apart' from Other Presidents?

Just over two weeks after NBC's Brian Williams pushed former President Jimmy Carter's racism charge ("Former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama"), Williams devoted more than two minutes of Thursday's NBC Nightly News to marking Carter's 85th birthday by cuing him up to put in his own words how he "stands out" from other ex-Presidents, "what has set you apart from other chief executives - in mind set and your wiring?"

Williams' long and winding question:

When we look at you, sir, in the club of former Presidents that we have known in recent times, you stand out. You're different. You're apart from the pack. In one photograph in the Oval Office, you were physically apart from the pack. If I were writing the American people's guide to understanding President Jimmy Carter, why is that? What should people, once and for all, understand about you and what has set you apart from other chief executives - in mind set and your wiring?


Carter, whom Rush Limbaugh has creatively dubbed "the National Hemorrhoid," immodestly pointed to "promoting peace and stability between Israel and its neighbors, things of that kind that I need not enumerate," all part of his "desire to fulfill some of the dreams that I had, even when I was still President."

Williams, who interned at the Carter White House, followed with a plug for Carter's latest book, "his diary of his time in office."

Back on September 15, as recounted by BiasAlert, Williams thrust Carter into the news cycle:

This morning in Atlanta, former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama. We were in Atlanta to interview President Carter, at the Carter Center, for air at a later date in connection with his upcoming 85th birthday. During the interview, we talked about what some see as a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech since the election of President Obama. A certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march on Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.


Carter alleged: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man..."

NBC led the next night with the "fallout" as Andrea Mitchell proposed that though "many thought" the "racial divisions" were "healed by the election of the first African-American President," Carter's "blunt comments" have "prompted us to re-examine our assumptions about race."

From the Thursday, October 1 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Former President Jimmy Carter turned 85 today, and presided over the opening of a new wing of the Carter Center Presidential Museum in Atlanta. During an interview a short time back in conjunction with this new opening, I asked him about his status in relation to the other living former Presidents.

BRIAN WILLIAMS TO CARTER: When we look at you, sir, in the club of former Presidents that we have known in recent times, you stand out. You're different. You're apart from the pack. In one photograph in the Oval Office, you were physically apart from the pack. If I were writing the American people's guide to understanding President Jimmy Carter, why is that? What should people, once and for all, understand about you and what has set you apart from other chief executives - in mind set and your wiring?

JIMMY CARTER: Well, I would say two things, basically. One is that I left the White House early. I still had a life expectancy then, which I've already exceeded, of 25 more productive years. And, secondly, I had some frustrated ambitions that were very important to me to carry out in a second term, which I didn't have a chance to implement. So I've used the Carter Center, in many ways, to do those things, in dealing with Africa and dealing with and negotiating peace agreements and promoting peace and stability between Israel and its neighbors, things of that kind that I need not enumerate. So I would say that intense ambition to continue to be gainfully occupied, premature separation from the White House and a desire to fulfill some of the dreams that I had, even when I was still President.

WILLIAMS: Jimmy Carter at age 85. By the way, the former President's next book, his 25th book, will be out in a few months. It will be his diary of his time in office - portions of which, he predicts, will make news and raise a few eyebrows. He warns it may not further endear him to Washington.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center