Veteran journalist and former “Dateline” reporter John Hockenberry ripped former employer NBC earlier this week, claiming the network dumbed down its 9/11 coverage. According to Hockenberry, who NBC laid off in 2005, GE (the network’s owner) discouraged him from interviewing Bin Laden’s relatives. He also charges that NBC programming chief Jeff Zucker steered him away from reporting on al Qaeda, insisting instead that he shadow firefighters in a “Cops” style segment. NBC denies all allegations but let’s be reminded of recent network examples of Fox-mimicking coverage and sensationalism: “To Catch a Predator,” airing reports on the arrests of Britney, Lindsay, Paris & co. on the nightly news (after vowing they would not) and the release of the video made by the Virginia Tech killer. People used to think NBC and Fox weren’t cut from the same cloth – now they’re not so sure.