NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams appeared on the BBC podcast Americana on Sunday and asserted that "hatred" and "venom" were part of the health care debate. He then hyperbolically claimed, "I would sooner jab my hand into a food processor than take a side." [MP3 Audio available here.]
The NBC journalist seriously trumpeted, "In my line of work I never engage in opinions, anyway." BBC presenter Matt Frei interviewed Williams for the podcast. (H/T to DB from the Biased BBC website.)
After Frei asked if the health care battle was for the "soul of America," the news anchor oddly replied, "It might well be. We've had a lot of anger building in this country. A lot of it goes back to Bill Clinton's affair with an intern, then from the attacks of 9/11."
Earlier in the interview, Williams began by opining, "But right now, the division, the hatred, the venom over a policy of something close to universal health care for citizens-" He then broke off and then shifted into his assertions about objectivity.
Despite Williams' claim that he "never engages in opinions," the journalist has often provided spin for Democratic politicians. On the August 27, 2008 NBC Nightly News, he fawned to Michelle Obama: "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What’s being said about your husband that you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"
Another example of Williams' gushing coverage of Obama:
Anchor Brian Williams: "Last time we were together, I handed you a copy of Newsweek. It was the first time you’d held it in your hands with you on the cover. Have you yet held this [Time magazine cover declaring Obama the winner of the primaries] in your hands?"
Senator Barack Obama: "No, I don’t want to. Because the last time it was in New Hampshire and I ended up losing. So...I’m not taking any chances."
Williams: "Last time, you looked at it and you thought instantly of your mom."
Obama: "She’d like that picture. She always encouraged me to smile more."
— NBC Nightly News, May 8, 2008.
To read the MRC's Profile in Bias on Williams, go here.
A partial transcript of the March 28 podcast can be found below:
MATT FREI: Brian Williams, what do you make of all this wrath and all this rage out there?
BRIAN WILLIAMS: You know I will get together with various friends as I have over the past few days and the days to come, and one in our group, maybe two, will say that they are very worried about our country. This is, as Mrs Roosevelt famously said during World War Two, this is no ordinary time. [Williams then talks briefly about the pens Obama used to sign the bill - Frei had mentioned them in passing - before returning to question] Back to our country, I know we have had our fits and starts, that there were people during the Second World War who wondered what our future would look like. During the '60s it felt like we were coming apart at the seams - the assassination of our president John F.Kennedy, of the great Dr Martin Luther King Jr. But right now, the division, the hatred, the venom over a policy of something close to universal health care for citizens- I would sooner jab my hand into a food processor than take a side - in my line of work I never engage in opinions anyway - but this has proven one of those catch-all issues."
FREI: Is this about the soul of America?
WILLIAMS: It might well be. We've had a lot of anger building in this country. A lot of it goes back to Bill Clinton's affair with an intern, then from the attacks of 9/11. But whatever the cause, the source, however long it's been building, people chose this issue for it to boil over.