New Anchorman, Same Old Liberal Song

If only Brokaw, Jennings and Rather would loosen their grip on the anchor chairs, the liberal bias that pervades the big three broadcast network news divisions would lessen as well, right? Well, a New York press conference yesterday offered a glimpse of the NBC Nightly News without Tom Brokaw, and the future may look a lot like the past twenty years. MSNBC anchor Brian Williams will replace Brokaw after the 2004 presidential elections, but his past reporting indicates he'll just perpetuate the media's prevailing liberal mindset:

Brian Williams
Brian Williams will replace Tom Brokaw in 2004, but his record
suggests NBC Nightly News will be
as liberal as ever.
  • No liberal Democrats in 2000. Commenting on the Al Gore-Bill Bradley contest on The News with Brian Williams on July 15, 1999, he wistfully remarked, "there is no true liberal to be found in this race. There's no Harkin, there's no Kennedy, there are just two centrists." After Jesse Jackson returned from Serbia with three American POWs, Williams seemed awestruck. "Bottom line: No other American was able to do what Jesse Jackson did. Doesn't the American system need a Jesse Jackson?" he asked on MSNBC on March 3, 1999.


Republicans are "ugly" for mentioning Democratic dirty tricks. Remember when the Clinton White House got caught with hundreds of FBI background files? As Williams saw it, the bad guy was the Republican who dared complain: "The politics of Campaign '96 are getting very ugly, very early," he told a Nightly News audience on June 8, 1996. "Bob Dole accused the White House of using the FBI to wage war against its political enemies, and if that sounds like another political scandal, that's the point."

The government should further regulate SUVs. "At issue tonight, with the U.S. locked in dependence on foreign oil, is it downright unpatriotic to drive an SUV?" Williams rhetorically wondered on the January 2, 2002 edition of his MSNBC show. A few weeks later (March 13), he castigated the Senate: "Gas-guzzling SUVs and light trucks were big winners on Capitol Hill today, but there's concern tonight the environment could be the big loser."

Choosing the ABM treaty over national missile defense. Promoting an upcoming story on the December 13, 2001 edition of The News, Williams summarized: "President Bush makes a major announcement. Tonight, why the U.S. is deliberately going back on its word in front of the rest of the world." In fact, Bush had exercised a provision of the ABM treaty that allows withdrawal with six months notice.

Republicans are too strident. Following a GOP debate, Williams on MSNBC denigrated the conservative positions taken by the six candidates. "It's red meat for conservatives, the positions rather strident tonight: anti-gay, pro-Jesus, and anti-abortion and no gray matter in between," he argued on January 6, 2000.

Bill Clinton was a brainy bargain. "He's perhaps the most intellectually and physically active person to have held the job in decades," Williams gushed on CBS's Late Late Show with Tom Snyder on November 17, 1995, a time when he was NBC's White House correspondent. "I've also said that if Americans were paying Presidents by the thought, we're getting a bargain in this guy because, my God, he's just always moving, his brain's moving, he hardly sleeps."

Americans win with liberal laws. "Congress went to war today, as we mentioned, over health care and the millions of people who have had it with their HMOs. Tonight, American citizens just might have emerged as the winners in at least round one," Williams exulted on MSNBC's The News on October 7, 1999.

During the years he's prepared for the top job, Williams has espoused the same views that pass for mainstream thinking among the media elites. The names may change, but the same old liberal song plays on. - Rich Noyes

More bias from Williams, including a contrast in how he treated Janet Reno versus Ken Starr