Okay, so because I’m addressing this again after only a few hours, you can tell that it’s bugging the you-know-what out of me.
Before, I mentioned that I didn’t think NBC’s Brian Williams was bowing to Barack Obama at the close of a recent exclusive interview with the president. Among other reasons I felt that way was because I also tend to nod my head while shaking hands with someone, though unlike Williams I do not shift my gaze from their eyes to their shoes. I thought, in assessing Williams’ conduct, that it might be a regular thing for him like it is for me, and mentioned that I would be interested to see how he parted ways with former President George W. Bush in similar circumstances.
Now, didn’t I just a few hours ago write that we shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill? Well, call me Nancy Pelosi. I’m just going to say that it was my staffers who wrote that and, if you’ll excuse me, I’m due to have my face stretched in a half-hour. I’m still intrigued, because evidence of an obviously, outwardly subservient press (they’re already in love on the inside) is important in the grand scheme of American politics.
Now, while I can’t seem to find footage of such a meeting between Williams and Bush, I did find clips of Williams shaking hands with other folks, including David Letterman. Needless to say, I’m still on the fence:
When I saw this, I actually pointed to my computer and said “A-HAAA!” as though I was some sort of chunkier, younger, male version of Jessica Fletcher. As you can see, when Williams greets Letterman, an influential liberal entertainment figure, on October 3, 2008 there is no such deference. There is only steadfast eye contact. No bow.
Here, though, back in March of last year, Williams outs himself as bow-happy, going so far as to bow down before Late Show band leader Paul Shaffer almost as low and as deeply as Barack Obama bowed before the Saudi king a few months back. Here, he even nods his head when greeting Letterman.
Okay, and on Ellen DeGeneres’ television show in December of last year, Williams makes a point to bow a “thank you” to the audience a few times, but only after giving DeGeneres a hug. Now, wouldn’t that have been something — if Williams and the president hugged it out right there in the White House? I’d be willing to bet that Olbermann, if in such a situation, would be hoping for tongue.
So, for me, the jury is still out. Now, be clear that I have no question about whether Williams and the rest of his media comrades genuflect on the inside whenever Obama’s name is mentioned, nonetheless while shaking his hand, but I’m still not convinced that on the outside this was anything else than a man being polite and even a tad deferential to another, and nothing more.