NBC Apologizes to Affiliates for No 9/11 Moment of Silence on 'Today' (Report)

Network news president Steve Capus admits the omission "touched a nerve" with viewers.

NBC News has sent managers at its affiliated stations an apology for putting them through severe criticism after Today failed to carry the moment of silence the nation observed on Sept. 11, according to a report by the New York Times.

However, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, did not apologize for the decision not to show the President and first lady as they called for the moment of silence. Capus also did not issue a public apology and there was no official press release to the media about NBC’s actions.

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Today was the only one of the big three morning broadcast network shows not to air the moment of silence as it happened.  Instead, Today had an interview with Kris Jenner, who is mother to the Kardashian clan, in which she discussed her breast augmentation. That brought criticism from other media and online that showing Jenner at that time was in especially bad taste.

In his memo to the NBC affiliates, Capus noted that Today had included extensive coverage of the attacks on the American embassies in Libya and riots in Egypt.  Then he told the affiliates, according to the Times report: “Yesterday, we made an editorial call resulting in the September 11 moment of silence not being seen. While we dedicated a substantial amount of airtime to anniversary events, we still touched a nerve with many of your viewers…and for that we apologize.”

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NBC is taking the stance that it has not carried the moment of silence regularly since 2006, with the exception of the 10th anniversary observance, so it did not seem to be an unusual decision at the time.

Many news stories afterward noted that Today has had a series of embarrassing incidents recently, including the way it handled the firing of Ann Curry as a lead anchor on Today, demoting her to a position in the news department.

Today has also been challenged in the ratings this year by ABC’s Good Morning America after many years as the top-rated morning show.