Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik appeared on Thursday’s CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin and continued to hold little back in criticizing NBC's Brian Williams for having falsely claimed his helicopter was shot down in Iraq. While also speaking with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Zurawik minced no words in describing what Williams did as lying and something that is grounds for his dismissal from his positions at NBC after having insulted the “millions of military families in this country who suffer everyday diminished lives by the injuries and the wounds that people who fought honorably in those wars suffered.”
On Wednesday night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams apologized on air for falsely claiming that while reporting from Iraq in 2003, the helicopter he was on was hit by enemy fire. Despite Williams’ attempt to walk back his past statements, numerous media critics have called out the NBC News anchor for failing to uphold the standards expected of a network news anchor. Howard Kurtz, Fox News media analyst and host of Media Buzz, condemned Williams during an appearance on the Fox News program America’s Newsroom, and argued that “it’s very hard to fathom how a anchor of Brian Williams's stature and experience could tell the false story. And it’s created a credibility crisis for NBC News.”
In a Tuesday article, Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik examined the reason behind Fox News beating every other TV news outlet in the ratings – including NBC, ABC and CBS – during November 4 midterm election coverage: "...it's time to think seriously about what that says about Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the state of network news today and the role TV plays or doesn't play in providing us with reliable, trustworthy information."
Moments after the announcement, Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik said MSNBC president Phil Griffin is just as responsible as Bashir:
Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik had some harsh words for MSNBC and NBC News Sunday in the wake of Martin Bashir’s vile comments about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
After accusing MSNBC of debasing “our civic and political conversation on cable TV,” Zurawik asked Fox News MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz, “Where are people like Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd who claim to speak for NBC News and the brand? Why haven't they called Bashir out and the lack of punishment for him?” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Over the years, we’ve written a lot about long, slow ratings collapse of broadcast news. But ABC, CBS, and NBC aren’t the only ones experiencing this decline. As reported by David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun, the ratings for PBS NewsHour show are almost in a freefall, even compared to their commercial competitors.
By its own count, NewsHour had 2.5 million viewers in 2005. This year the show is at 1.3 million. That’s an astonishing drop, nearly 50 percent, unmatched by any of the commercial broadcast evening news shows.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, guest David Zurawik mocked "out of town reporters" who met with the White House about sequestration and simply repeated the administration's talking points back to their local channels, "like an Obama commercial."
However, CNN displayed that same uncritical journalism over and over on the sequester. Obama administration officials freaked out about looming budget cuts to their respective agencies and CNN simply relayed the hype to its viewers, comparing the cuts to the asteroid and calling them a "man-made disaster."
Nearly one month after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the official police report on the crime scenes is nearing completion, and a police spokesman tells the Daily Beast's Diane Dimond that there will be some shocking, eye-opening conclusions that counter much of the media' faulty initial reporting.
One such piece of misinformation was the early, egregious rumor that the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, was a survivalist or "doomsday prepper," a paranoid hoarder obsessed with what she considered the imminent collapse of society. In a January 7 post at the Daily Beast website, Dimond quoted a Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police debunking that notion and saying a forthcoming police report will help to dispel urban legends that have crystallized in the public imagination:
David Zurawik, a TV writer for The Baltimore Sun, slammed "pretend journalist" Chelsea Clinton on The Daily Download for her work on NBC.
"I continue to be fascinated by a network news division putting someone as outrageously unqualified as Clinton on a prime-time newsmagazine," he wrote. "I watched her again last week in a softer-than-soft piece on a weight loss program started by Pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church, and I can say with absolute certainty that she has not improved one lick in the last year."
Suffice it to say the media coverage of the recent tragedy was an abject failure. Perhaps the most egregious example was how CNN initially reported that Ryan Lanza, brother of the real shooter Adam Lanza, was the culprit eliciting screenshots and information about his Facebook account that was disseminated on the Internet – and on the airwaves. David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun wrote on December 14 that:
Now that former NBC News president Jeff Zucker is set to take over as president of CNN, the fate of the cable news network is an open question. In a Sunday discussion about the transition, CNN media critic Howard Kurtz and his guests passed over the network's left-of-center reporting, implying instead that CNN is somehow devoid of bias compared to its primary competitors, MSNBC and Fox News.
During a segment on “Reliable Sources,” panelist David Zurawik -- media critic for the Baltimore Sun newspaper -- asserted that the news organization is “the nation's last bastion of television journalism.”
As NewsBusters reported Friday, HBO's Bill Maher recently gave $1 million to pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action.
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, host Howard Kurtz correctly observed, "There’d be a bigger fuss if comedian Dennis Miller gave a million dollars to a pro-Romney or a Santorum Super PAC" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):