Today Show Gaffe

September 13th, 2012 — 9:50am

NBC’s decision not to acknowledge the anniversary of the 9/11 attack was a mistake. Instead, Today viewers were treated to a discussion of Kris Jenner’s breast implants. That was bad enough. And then comes this internal memo from Steve Capus, president of NBC News:

“Today’s extensive coverage of the Embassy attacks underscores the true strength of NBC News as well as the significant talents of Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Richard Engel, Andrea Mitchell, Peter Alexander, Kristen Welker, Chuck Todd, among many others. We committed substantially more airtime to this important breaking news story than other broadcasts: from the first Today show reports at 7am ET… through a one hour-plus special report.

“All week, Ann Curry has delivered unique coverage of the refugee crisis on the Syrian border. Simply put, this is the only news organization devoting this much attention to these kinds of stories.

“Yesterday, we made an editorial call resulting in the September 11th moment of silence not being seen. While we dedicated a substantial amount of airtime to the anniversary events, we still touched a nerve with many of your viewers… and for that we apologize. At NBC News, have taken great pride in the manner in which we have told the stories of September 11th. From the first moments of the attack, as documented live on TODAY in 2001 … through every anniversary and development since, we are mindful of that legacy and our responsibilities.

“This morning we had the opportunity to recommit ourselves to serious journalism and coverage. You’ve seen how brilliant Savannah and Matt are together.. especially when backed-up by the unparalleled strengths of this news division. We’re proud of our teams today… and continue to focus on presenting the best possible broadcasts and worldwide news coverage for your stations.

“Thanks for your attention…:

-Steve Capus

Where do I begin? He never issued a public apology. This is a business memo to affiliate managers solely for “touching a nerve” with viewers, as if the viewers are oversensitive lugs. On top of that, it’s a pr sell job for Savannah and Matt (take that Ann Curry!). It’s got corporate biz speak all over it and only inflames an already hot situation.

What was he thinking? Who advises these people? You don’t only apologize to your affiliate, you apologize to your viewers. Without them, you have no show.

Why not come out with a simple (if not heart-felt) apology and say we erred? We honor all those who were killed and the heroes who tried to save them. We were wrong. And we apologize.

Why are executives so afraid to admit when they’re wrong?

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