NBC News received an onslaught of criticism on Tuesday when the "Today" show did not observe a moment of silence to honor victims of 9/11 on the 11-year anniversary of the attacks.
The network commented on the controversy, telling the New York Times that the skip was not a gaffe, but rather consistent with NBC News' coverage of 9/11 anniversaries. Therefore, it would not issue an apology to viewers, it explained.
NBC News did later apologize to affiliate stations for subjecting them to criticism over its decision. In a memo to managers on Wednesday, network president Steve Capus wrote, "While we dedicated a substantial amount of airtime to anniversary events, we still touched a nerve with many of your viewers … and for that we apologize."
Earlier, "Today" told the Times that honoring the moment of silence is "not a tradition" on the NBC morning show. By exception of last year when the network dedicated the program to the 10-year anniversary of the attacks, "Today" has not observed a moment of silence during its shows on 9/11 since 2006.
At 8:46 a.m., victims families, NYPD officials, members of the FDNY and Port Authority Police observed a moment of silence from Ground Zero in New York. President Obama and the First Lady observed the moment at the White House.
ABC's "Good Morning America," "CBS This Morning" and all the morning cable news shows broke away from their programming to carry the moment. NBC News did not, deciding instead to stay on its interview with the queen of the Kardashian clan, Kris Jenner, and her discussion of her breast implants.
New York's local NBC News service did cut into the "Today" show's programming, carrying the moment for viewers in the area.