Today Show 9/11 flub: Kardashians aired during Sept. 11 commemoration
NEW YORK (AP) — While its rivals covered the solemn commemoration of the first plane striking the World Trade Center on Tuesday, NBC's "Today" show aired Kardashian family matriarch Kris Jenner talking about her breast augmentation.
It was an embarrassing moment for the once-dominant morning show, now often beaten by ABC's "Good Morning America" in the ratings, and showed the continued delicacy of Sept. 11 memories for television.
Even "Good Morning America," which had Jessica Simpson as a guest host in its second hour on Tuesday, cut away from its usual pop culture-oriented lineup late in its show to air ceremonies at 8:48 a.m. EDT, the exact moment 11 years ago when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. The "CBS This Morning" show, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC all covered the moment, too.
NBC pointed out that "Today" had a lengthy interview with a World Trade Center survivor earlier in its show and another segment talking about memories of the event. While "Today" covered the annual moment of silence last year for the 10th anniversary, it had not in a few of the previous years, spokeswoman Megan Kopf said.
The omission would likely have been less noticeable if NBC hadn't been airing a segment with reality television's most frequently-seen family instead, leading to some ridicule on social media.
The "Today" show did insert coverage of the moment into the program's later West Coast feed.
"We pause now to remember the moment when the first plane hit the World Trade Center," ABC's George Stephanopoulos said as the screen showed the ceremony taking place at ground zero.
The network then switched abruptly to an interview with actor Richard Gere, who tried to smooth the segue by saying: "It is hard not to get caught up. That moment seems so fresh."
CBS concentrated primarily on the White House, where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama came out on the lawn to observe a moment of silence at 8:48. Fox News aired a split screen of the Obamas and the World Trade Center ceremony.
MSNBC, as has been its recent tradition, aired more than an hour of NBC News' coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks as it happened that day.
All of New York City's local broadcast affiliates took several hours out of their usual morning programming to air the annual recitation of names of people killed at the World Trade Center. It was thought that after the 10th anniversary that annual ceremony would no longer be shown on local TV, but it's an important event for families of the victims.
The New York Daily News' front cover showed a picture of ground zero and the headline "Remember them" on Tuesday. The New York Times and New York Post did not mention the anniversary on their front pages.