N. Korean Nuke Not Enough to Nudge Nooky Off NBC: 'Lettuce' Focus On Foley

"A North Korean ICBM hit Hawaii with a 10-kiloton atomic weapon today. Now back to Meredith and Matt for the latest on the burgeoning Mark Foley scandal. Is it doom for Republicans?"

Perhaps I exaggerate a tad with that imaginary bit of dialogue, but judging by this morning's 'Today,' you have to wonder. Good Morning America devoted the lion's share of its first half-hour to the N. Korean test of a nuclear device, with no fewer than four segments focusing on it. Over at Today, after a correspondent in China gave a report, and Lauer and Andrea Mitchell batted things around for a while, it was over. No expert analysis, no nothing. It was time to move to a report on . . . the latest lettuce recall. Have a look at the clock in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It was only 7:06.

And after the weather, what was Today's featured story of the half-hour? The growing nuclear threat with grave international implications? Come on. It was Foley Time! First a reporter, then Chris Matthews interviewed by Lauer and putting the worst possible spin on things for Republican prospects.

When Meredith Vieira popped up with this logo touting 'Hot Toys of 2006,' I thought perhaps she was going to discuss Kim Jong Il's fascination with his nuclear playthings. But, no, 21/2 months before Christmas, 'Today' found it more important to discuss possible Cabbage Patch Doll successors than to give us extended coverage of a serious international threat.

What could account for the short shrift NBC gave the North Korean nuke? You don't suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that when the focus is on national security, Americans tend to look to Republicans, whereas if Today can talk about a Republican sex scandal and highlight a lack of leadership . . .

Just wondering.

Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY. View webcasts of Mark's award-winning TV show 'Right Angle' here. Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Foreign Policy Political Scandals War on Terrorism Campaigns & Elections Asia NBC Today