NBC News took the extraordinary step of apologizing to the
NBC affiliate community for its decision not to cut to a Sept. 11 moment of silence
on Today, which its network rivals
Steve Capus, president of NBC News, issued the apology and
explanation to the affiliates Sept. 12.
"Yesterday, we made an editorial call resulting in the
September 11th moment of silence not being seen," read his memo.
"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
While it was a network decision, several affiliates caught
heat from local viewers for the decision. Compounding the issue was that Today
featured an interview with Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner instead of the
moment of silence.
Relations between NBC and its partner stations are mostly
positive; the affiliates were pleased enough with Olympics ratings, and
coverage, that they paid for a full page ad in the New York Times thanking the network for its Olympic efforts. The
affiliates enter each fall season with guarded optimism that a new show or two
might reach hit status, and help the network's long ailing primetime. They
salute new majority owner Comcast for its robust investment in development.
In the memo, Capus reminded affiliates of NBC News'
dedication to major breaking news in recent days regarding the embassy attack
in Libya and the refugee crisis in Syria.
"[Wednesday] morning we had the opportunity to recommit
ourselves to serious journalism and coverage," he wrote. "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."
The New York Times first
reported this story.