Morning Media Newsfeed: Brokaw Has Cancer | Lauer Replaces Costas | U.S. Press Freedom Drops

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Tom Brokaw Diagnosed With Cancer, Prognosis Encouraging (NBCNews.com)
NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer and said he and his physicians are very encouraged with the progress he is making. Brokaw, who has worked at NBC News since 1966, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting blood cells in the bone marrow, in August at the Mayo Clinic. TVNewser “With the exceptional support of my family, medical team and friends, I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come,” Brokaw says in a statement. “I remain the luckiest guy I know.” New York Daily News Throughout his treatment, Brokaw has continued to work on NBC News projects, including a two-hour documentary on the assassination of JFK; appearances on Today, Nightly News With Brian Williams, Meet The Press and MSNBC. He is also contributing to NBC Sports coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Reuters Multiple myeloma is a cancer that strikes white blood cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells, which normally produce antibodies to help fight infection. But in multiple myeloma, an over-abundance of malignant plasma cells releases unhealthy levels of a protein into the bones and blood that in turn can cause damage to bone tissue and organs.

Matt Lauer Takes Over for Bob Costas, Instantly Gets Ridiculed (Fox Sports / Medal Detector)
In case you somehow missed it, Bob Costas had to take a break from his normal role as the host of NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage due to a bad bout of pink eye. Costas had hosted the last 157 nights of Olympics coverage. That’s Cal Ripken-type stuff. So who stepped in for him? Matt Lauer. Were people happy about this change? Not really. TVNewser The infection, which began on the first day of NBC’s Sochi coverage, has spread from Costas’ left eye to his right eye. Monday night, Costas’ reddened eyes lit up Twitter. Tuesday morning on Today, Lauer and Al Roker talked about how they saw Costas having breakfast in the hotel. “You gotta feel for the guy,” said Lauer. Costas then called in to the show and broke the news to Lauer that he’ll be filling in. Costas used a baseball metaphor to pitch the news. “I was trying to throw a complete game here,” said Costas. “But I think we’re going to have to go to the bullpen. And I don’t know if you’re aware of this, or not, but you’re Mariano Rivera, at least tonight.”NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer NBC has a long tradition of hyping certain athletes during the games, but Shaun White has gotten special treatment even among that select group. Before the Olympics even began, the network aired an hour-long special about his preparation for Sochi, and viewers have been reminded all week that White could make history in the men’s half-pipe, where a win would make him the first American male to take home gold in three straight Olympics. The thing about White’s focus on gold, of course, is that it only adds to the pressure to perform.

U.S. Plummets in Global Press Freedom Rankings (HuffPost)
According to a new report from Reporters Without Borders, there was a profound erosion of press freedom in the United States in 2013. After a year of attacks on whistleblowers and digital journalists and revelations about mass surveillance, the U.S. plunged 13 spots in the group’s global press freedom rankings to No. 46. Yahoo! News / Agence France-Presse In its annual World Press Freedom Index, the Paris-based media rights watchdog warned of the “growing threat worldwide” from the “tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner.” The U.S. was singled out for its pursuit of intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the conviction of WikiLeaks informer Bradley Manning and the secret seizure of phone records from the Associated Press.