COMMENTS: Icy Anecdotes

For the third straight day NBC led with the icestorm on the great plains. The slow progress towards restoration of electric power was Story of the Day and the lead on CBS as well. ABC selected nationwide statistics that showed that American adults now have an average cholesterol level below 200; it was higher than 220 when the data were first collected in 1960. As for the winter weather, it has now killed 30-or-so people from Texas to Michigan and half a million Oklahoma homes remain without power.

The weather watchers came up with frigid anecdotes rather than newsworthy developments on their third day of coverage. NBC's Don Teague visited the darkened campus at the University of Oklahoma where students are studying for final examinations: "It is really hard to focus on how to conjugate a Spanish verb," complained one coed. ABC's Steve Osunsami (no link) checked The Full Circle Book Store in Oklahoma City, which has power. "What you see here is a lot of refugees--well-read refugees," a customer commented. ABC's Barbara Pinto traveled to the remote Kansas town of Waterville, where water well pumps do not work and cows cannot be kept on the farm by electrified fences: "The locals are all frozen in time" using gear from pioneer days to survive. And on CBS, Hari Sreenivasan found himself so eager to get a soundbite from a heatless greatgrandmother that he asked a question whose answer he clearly knew just as well as she did: "How cold is it?" "How cold is it outside? That is how cold it is in here," she stated the obvious.


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