Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Supporter and Former NBC Anchor Tom Brokaw

President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 18 individuals on Monday afternoon with one of them being former NBC Nightly News anchor and reliably liberal supporter Tom Brokaw.

During Monday’s NBC Nightly News, current anchor Brian Williams used two teases and a segment by NBC/MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell to hype the ceremony. In one tease, Williams touted Brokaw’s big day at the White House: “When we come back, a near and dear member of the NBC family among those awarded a high honor at the White House today.”

Later in the program before introducing Mitchell’s report, Williams mentioned how the 18 honored came from a variety of backgrounds but now share in common the fact that they were named recipients with one of them “includ[ing] a very familiar face around here.”

Mitchell mentioned Brokaw’s coining of the term “The Greatest Generation” and included a soundbite of the President summarizing key moments in Brokaw’s career that included him being the only network anchor to report live from Berlin as the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989.

Throughout her report, Mitchell certainly didn’t note many of the instances in which Brokaw heaped mounds of praise on the President (that has appeared to pay off). As the Media Research Center’s Kyle Drennen noted back on November 12, Brokaw’s positive remarks toward the President are numerous and included him comparing Obama to Vaclev Havel, who led the “Velet Revolution” that brought down communism in the former Czechoslovakia.  

The relevant portions of the transcript from NBC Nightly News on November 25 is transcribed below.

NBC Nightly News
November 24, 2014
7:00 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Highest Honor]

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And the highest honor this nation bestows on civilians today at the White House, a slew of notables: Kennedy, Streep, Stevie and someone pretty well-known around here.

(....)

7:23 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

WILLIAMS: When we come back, a near and dear member of the NBC family among those awarded a high honor at the White House today.

(....)

7:26 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: Finally tonight, a slew of remarkable Americans in one room. They come from all walks of life, the achievements that brought them together at the White House today as distinct as they are all diverse people, but they all now share one thing in common: The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the recipients include a very familiar face around here. Our report tonight from NBC's Andrea Mitchell. 

MITCHELL: The nation's highest civilian honor awarded today to 18 great Americans, including the man who coined the phrase, “The Greatest Generation”: NBC's Tom Brokaw. 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: On the night that the Berlin Wall fell, only one American network anchor was there reporting live. He reported on Watergate, snuck a camera in to Tiananmen Square, sat down for the first one-on-one interview with Mikhail Gorbachev by an American TV reporter.

MITCHELL: “The Greatest Generation”: Now part of a lexicon. 

TOM BROKAW: I never thought that I would coin a phrase that would have that kind of enduring appeal. 

MITCHELL: Others honored included the three civil rights workers slain in Mississippi in 1964: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. Record setting Oscar nominee Meryl Streep. 

MERYL STREEP: There's so many things you don't understand. 

OBAMA: Wore a nun's habot. Faced down a charging lion. Mastered every accent under the sun. 

MITCHELL: Stevland Morris, better known as Stevie Wonder, his classic "Talking Book" was the first album a young Barack Obama ever bought. 

OBAMA: That thing got so worn out. Had all scratches. 

MITCHELL: And for her life's devotion to human rights, Ethel Kennedy. Grandmother of 40, including Congressman Joe Kennedy. She marched with farm workers in Florida only a year ago. Today, receiving the award first created by President Kennedy months before he was assassinated. In the same room where his casket was brought to lie in repose. [TO ETHEL KENNEDY] What inspires you to keep up this work? 

ETHEL KENNEDY: You know, when you see somebody in trouble, your natural feeling is – is there something I can do? and really everybody can do it. 

OBAMA: Including helping to raise money for ALS research this summer by pouring a bucket of ice water over her head. As you may know, she nominated me to do it as well and as you may know, I chose to write a check instead. 

MITCHELL: A journalist, artist, freedom fighter, heroes all, Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington. 

WILLIAMS: Congratulations to all. Special congrats to one in particular.

NBC NBC Nightly News President Barack Obama President Obama Brian Williams Tom Brokaw Andrea Mitchell Barack Obama
Curtis Houck's picture