Letters to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack

February 25, 2019

Andrew Lack
Chairman, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10112-0002

Dear Mr. Lack:

As a baseball fan, I am writing you for the third time in the hope that you will accord me the courtesy of a considered response (attached are my two previous letters).

There was a time years ago when the executives of broadcast networks would respond to serious letters of inquiry by their viewers. What has changed for you? The food at 30 Rock is allegedly better!

By the way, people at NBC have told me that the decision as to who will be chosen to be on the panels of Meet the Press is made in New York and not by Chuck Todd and his colleagues in D.C. The panels are avoidably dull, though loud. My question is why do you choose a member of such entities as the American Enterprise Institute so often and never anyone from Public Citizen? Public Citizen’s president is Robert Weissman, who actually knows what he is talking about, and does speak speedily. 

In your moments of personal contemplation you must ruminate about how mimicry has taken over the Sunday morning network news shows. A dictator could scarcely have ordered more efficiently the same topic and fungible guests Sunday after Sunday. Were Larry Spivak, the first host of Meet the Press so constrained, he never would have had my “news-breaking, unconventional” message on his program over 50 years ago. Nor would the impact of that interview have prodded Congress to pass such life-saving legislation.

Summarizing, please reply to the questions in all of these three letters or have someone higher on the charts do so, if you were not responsible for these decisions.

May you think boldly for yourself and NBC.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,
Ralph Nader

P.O. Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036

Cc:

Chuck Todd, Host, Meet the Press
Kyle Pope, Editor, Columbia Journalism Review
Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live
Nicholas Johnson, Former FCC Commissioner Extraordinaire

For what it’s worth:
Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman
Michael O’Rielly, FCC Commissioner
Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner
Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner
Geoffrey Starks, FCC Commissioner


June 12, 2018

Andrew Lack
Chairman, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10112-0002

Dear Mr. Lack:

It has happened again!  People belting tennis balls have been given priority over yesterday’s MEET THE PRESS, or shall we call it BEAT THE PRESS.  My previous letter to you, dated May 15, 2018, commenting on a soccer game usurpation of Meet the Press, has yet to be answered  (see attached copy).

People at NBC have said that this program decision is even above your pay grade.  So would you kindly forward this and my first letter to the superior boss on whose shoulders such grave orders emanate?  You may have him/her take note of the fiduciary relationship that accompanies such uses of the public airwaves, established by the 1934 Federal Communications Act and foreshadowed by Herbert Hoover, who in the 1920s called radio stations “a public trust.”

I look forward to receiving replies to both of my letters.  If you wish more signatories, please let me know.

Sincerely yours,
Ralph Nader

P.O. Box 19312
Washington, DC  20036

cc:  Chuck Todd and the crew

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who will soon be one of your industry’s colleagues and couldn’t care less about his fiduciary duties as he relentlessly monetizes his position.

Enc:  copy of May 15, 2018 letter


May 15, 2018

Andrew Lack
Chairman, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10112-0002

Dear Mr. Lack:

A neighborhood group that gathers each Sunday morning to have breakfast and watch Meet the Press contacted me about how upset they were to learn that soccer games had bumped Meet the Press!  Why, they asked?  Going further, they wondered why Meet the Press wasn’t deferred to another time that Sunday.  After all, this is supposed to be important public programming on the public airwaves.

You’ve probably got a formal response to viewers like them who have asked, “What happened and Why?”  It does seem strange that the flagship Sunday show – Meet the Press – with your star Chuck Todd, was blacked out for soccer games.

Please send me your formal response and add an explanation about why you didn’t push it up to another time slot.  Imagine letting Chuck sleep over on Sunday morning!  Moreover, tell us how often this usurpation occurs in any given year.

I look forward to your considered response. 

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader

P.O. Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036

cc:  Chuck Todd and the crew

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