It is a sad day when this esteemed newscast is accused of bias in reporting. We're too liberal, we're too conservative, we're accused of favoring the East Coast, having too much domestic news, too much gloomy news, but now it's gone too far.
Recent e-mails to Nightly News infer that we have a dog bias. Yes, it's true we've done our fair share of canine-related news. Perhaps there is more we could do about cats. But readers, please, as Brian said yesterday, there is no pro-dog slant in our decision-making.
As the self-appointed "Petbudsman" for Nightly News, I can fairly report there is no anti-cat bias in the ranks of this broadcast. I venture to guess that we are the only network newscast that regularly hears from pets on our conference calls. Rosie, the cat of West Coast Senior Producer Bruce Cummings is a regular, and very vocal member, of our morning rundown call. In fact, there are times Rosie has delayed the call because her meows drown out the rest of us.
Yes, there are dog owners. We don't try to hide it. Lucy, the 12-year-old dog of our anchor, adopted the Williams family when she noticed them at the North Shore Animal League in New York. An unscientific survey shows mutts (OK: mixed breeds), many Labs, terriers, a basset hound, a Pug and one Labradoodle.
Our resident ethicist, Senior Producer Albert Oetgen, understandably has both: a cat, Frisky, and a dog, Droopy.
But for you animal lovers out there, tonight we bring you the ultimate in furry, roly-poly, unbelievable cuteness. No, not correspondent Bob Faw. But he will report on today's debut of the baby panda at Washington D.C.'s National Zoo. Five-month-old Tai Shan greeted 600 oohing and aahing admirers at the indoor panda habitat. The little guy weighs in at about 22 pounds now. Tai Shan (his name means "Peaceful Mountain") will be on display from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily between now and New Year's Eve, though the zoo will be closed on Christmas. The National Zoo will give out 60 tickets daily. Get yours here.
And before you ask, Bob Faw has two cats, and does not discriminate against dogs.
P.S.: To A.G: your wife A.M. would really like a puppy for Christmas.