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Multi-Millionaire Brian Williams Lectures Viewers on Income Inequality

On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams – who reportedly earned $13 million a year in 2012 – quoted Karl Marx while hyping a new report on global income disparity: "...the staggering news out today about the growing gap between the haves and the have nots." [Listen to the audio]

Williams melodramatically recited the findings: "Some new figures came out today....And they are so shocking, it takes a while for them to sink in. A study commissioned by Oxfam says the world's richest 85 individuals have the same wealth as 3.5 billion people around the world. Once again, 85 people on this planet have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people on this planet."

As NewsBusters' Tim Graham reported in 2008, this is the same Brian Williams who "lives in one of New York's swankiest addresses in Manhattan with the chic restaurant Le Cirque on the ground floor, which offers high priced cuisine like an appetizer of terrine of foie gras with Gewurtztraminer gelee for $38. 'It's better than having an Applebee's in the lobby,' he joked to the New York Observer in 2006."

Williams has a history of hypocrisy when it comes to scolding others for their wealth or spending habits. In January of 2012, he actually had the nerve to hit then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his "unimaginable wealth." In August of 2012, he wrung his hands over the amount of money spent in that year's presidential race:

...spending on 2012 presidential radio and TV ads has now surpassed the half-billion-dollar mark....$500 million could feed 9.2 million malnourished children for 50 days. It could immunize 29 million children for life. It could provide clean water for 500 million children for 40 days. And it could buy 166 million antimalarial mosquito bed nets, two for every person in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On Monday, after noting that "the top 1% of families own 46% of our total global wealth," Williams added that the annual World Economic Forum would "be focused in large part on this growing and dangerous income disparity."

Here is a full transcript of the January 20 news brief by Williams:

7:17PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: We're back in a moment with the staggering news out today about the growing gap between the haves and the have nots.

7:22PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Some new figures came out today, as we mentioned, on global wealth and income disparity. And they are so shocking, it takes a while for them to sink in. A study commissioned by Oxfam says the world's richest 85 individuals have the same wealth as 3.5 billion people around the world. Once again, 85 people on this planet have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people on this planet. The top 1% of families own 46% of our total global wealth. Their share equals $110 trillion.

These numbers have come out on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which, while attended by the rich and powerful, is this year going to be focused in large part on this growing and dangerous income disparity.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.