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NBC: No White House-Brokaw brouhaha

NBC News has denied receiving any calls from the White House expressing concern Tom Brokaw's interview with former President Clinton last week.

Clinton discussed his views on the terrorist attack in the interview. Salon, the on-line magazine reported Thursday (Sept. 27) that "senior communications staffers" at the While House called NBC Nightly News executives and expressed their "disappointment" with the program's decision to "spot light" Clinton in an interview, saying it wouldn't be helpful to President Bush's war on terrorism.

But an NBC spokesperson said: "The network knows of no phone calls made by the White House to NBC expressing disappointment about the decision to interview former President Clinton."

That comment came after senior news managers, including senior vice president Bill Wheatley and NBC Nightly News executive producer Steve Capus did their own checking -including checking with Brokaw - and came up with no evidence of any calls placed to NBC by the White House on the matter, the spokesperson said.

In its story, Salon said neither NBC nor the White House would comment on the calls but that "sources familiar with the calls" confirmed that they were made. NBC denies giving Salon a "no comment."

Instead, a network spokesperson said the article's writer was told NBC would continue checking - but didn't get back to him before deadline.

A White House spokesperson was looking into the matter for B&C at deadline.

Salon staff writer Jake Tapper, who wrote the article, referred inquiries to his editor Kerry Lauerman. Lauerman couldn't be reached for comment at deadline.
Meanwhile, proceeding on the ex-president circuit, Brokaw is slated to do an exclusive interview with former commander-in-chief George Bush on Thursday's Nightly News telecast. - Steve McClellan