As for the Story of the Day, the press office at the Census Bureau deserves all the credit for parlaying mere trivia into airtime. CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi and NBC's Ron Allen took the survey approach with tidbits about smells and shoes and heights and homes and water. Allen illustrated the report by walking a pair of dogs.
Alfonsi got to use CBS' fancy new visual display screen (the one that intimidates anchor Katie Couric: "I am a little afraid to touch it") but she bungled her arithmetic about Internet Weblogs. She cited statistics that 39m Americans read blogs while 13m started to publish them: "That works out to an average of three people reading each blog, so they might as well send an e-mail instead"--which is only true if readers do not browse but limit themselves to a single site.
ABC stuck to a single aspect of the abstract: its finding that Americans, on average, are "the fattest people on the planet." Nancy Cordes blamed it on two trends. We have more corn syrup in our diet and we spend more sedentary time (3,518 hours per person per year) consuming media of all kinds.
With all that surfing, NBC's Allen called us "mouse potatoes."
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