COMMENTS: President is Sorry for Breaking his Promise

NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd had the major Exclusive of the day: a sitdown with Barack Obama in which the President formally apologized to individuals who would be unable to renew their current health insurance plan because of changes required next year by the Affordable Care Act. He acknowledged that he had made a promise that all those who happened to like their plan would be able to keep it. "I am sorry," the President told NBC's Todd. Obviously, since it was an exclusive, neither CBS nor ABC carried the same story, although CBS did mention the apology in passing, with a hat-tip to NBC. The Story of the Day, and CBS' lead, was the proposal by the Food & Drug Administration to ban heart-unhealthy hydrogenated vegetable oils -- so-called transfats -- from processed foods. Typhoon Haiyan, the massive storm bearing down on The Philippines was the lead at ABC; NBC led with Todd's q-&-a.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that margarine and other transfats kill 7,000 people nationwide each year. The proposed ban was covered by the in-house physician at both NBC and ABC: ABC's Richard Besser does not have his report posted online as a videostream; NBC's Nancy Snyderman offered free publicity for a handful of national chains that have already "reduced or eliminated" transfats from their foods. See Dr Nancy plug Starbucks, Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen, Wendy's, and Long John Silver's. Instead of putting it on the personal health beat, CBS treated the proposal as an inside-the-Beltway regulatory story: Chip Reid sat down with FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and ran a soundbite from his network's This Morning, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who instituted a similar ban in New York City restaurants in 2007.

ABC did not actually have a correspondent in The Philippines to file a warning story as Typhoon Haiyan approached. Neal Karlinsky's dateline was Seattle, and his forecast came from Jim Dickey at Neither of the other newscasts deemed the typhoon terrifying enough to assign a reporter to its track, although both did mention it in passing.


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