COMMENTS: Monday’s Mentions

ABC's White House correspondent Jonathan Karl claimed an Exclusive for his coverage of the federal government's healthcare rollout. Karl reported that President Barack Obama's suggestion that a 1-800-number was a viable alternative to its stalled Website was misleading, since applications using either method would eventually be processed by the same software portal before being submitted to insurance companies. Unfortunately for Karl's claim, Peter Alexander, NBC's man at the White House, filed the same story. Watch Karl's package and you will see that the unique thing about it is the sarcastic tone with which White House spokesman Jay Carney insultingly apes Karl's questioning style.

Thumbs up to NBC's Alexander for the clarity with which he laid out the various obstacles that has to negotiate before it functions properly. Thumbs down for offering a soundbite from onetime congressman Harold Ford, without mentioning the fact that he is on the NBC News payroll as an MSNBC analyst.

CBS, which has filed more packages on the healthcare rollout since the beginning of October than both NBC and ABC combined, chose a different angle: Sharyl Attkisson provided more details on the site's problems with personal privacy and data security, problems that NBC's Michael Isikoff first mentioned last Wednesday.

It was election eve. ABC did not mention it, even in passing. NBC's Chuck Todd filed from the gubernatorial race in New Jersey; CBS' Chip Reid from the one in Virginia. NBC's Todd did fold in an indirect plug for the coverage of Chris Christie in Double Down, the newly-published behind-the-scenes Campaign 2012 tell-all that his colleague Andrea Mitchell covered on Friday. Thumbs down again: neither Todd nor Mitchell mentioned that Double Down's co-author Mark Halperin is on the NBC News payroll as an MSNBC analyst.

ABC's Brian Ross pursued his Investigates probe into black lung disease with the Center for Public Integrity. This latest package consisted almost entirely of a recap of last Wednesday's expose of Dr Paul Wheeler at the Johns Hopkins University hospital and his apparent suppression of workers' compensation claims, to the benefit of coalmine operators. Ross nudged the story forward marginally by reporting that the hospital has suspended Wheeler's program, pending an investigation.

Cairo was the day's sole international dateline. President Mohamed Morsi, the leader of the Moslem Brotherhood who was ousted by a military coup, went on trial. Richard Engel's brief stand-up report for NBC was not posted online. CBS, which has covered Egyptian politics so far this year as heavily as ABC and NBC combined, had Clarissa Ward mention the trial briefly, and then file surreptitiously from the clandestine protest-planning meetings of the remnants of the Brotherhood underground.

Once in a while, for no apparent reason, ABC will decide that it is time to check in on the price of oil on the energy markets. Of the twelve such packages on oil and gasoline filed so far this year on all three newscasts, eight have appeared on ABC. Once again Linzie Janis gets the assignment. This time she previews the home heating season.

Cynthia McFadden, anchor of ABC's Nightline, found no evidence that shooting oneself up with reproductive hormones to stimulate the ovaries into overproducing eggs is harmful to one's health. She worried about it anyway, kicking off ABC's Making Babies series, since no longterm studies have been conducted to demonstrate its safety. Meet twentysomething Anna Cain, who has sold her eggs to an in-vitro fertilization clinic six times, at $10K each. Sharyn Alfonsi covered blonde, tall, smart egg-selling beauties for ABC three years ago. ABC's Gigi Stone brought us the same worries five years ago.

Did you know that neutral Switzerland incarcerated prisoners-of-war during World War II? Did you know that the United States did not consider airmen downed in Switzerland to be PoWs, since they might be faking crashes in order to wait out the war? Elaine Quijano tells us about it on CBS.

Lastly, NBC's pay-per-Exclusive from the helmetcams of parachutists in the skies over Wisconsin: Today has the sitdown with the eleven skydivers who jumped to safety after a midair plane collision. For a preview, Anne Thompson narrates the video, which is "licensed by NBC News," a euphemism for checkbook journalism.


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