COMMENTS: Iran & Haiyan

The day's agenda was dominated by a pair of breaking international stories, both of which were covered by a correspondent on all three newscasts. The Story of the Day was the progress in the nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in Geneva. Secretary of State John Kerry was on hand for a possible preliminary deal. Yet none of the newscasts led with Iranian nukes. NBC and ABC both kicked off with the other global crisis, the devastation in The Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan. CBS chose to lead with healthcare reform: the expansion of coverage for the mentally ill.

Only NBC had a correspondent, Angus Walker, file from The Philippines. ABC used its New-York-based meteorologist Ginger Zee, although she managed to fold in a soundbite from her colleague Gloria Riviera in Manila. CBS did file from Asia, but miles away from the storm: Seth Doane was at his base in Beijing.

NBC's Walker did the right thing, examining whether this huge storm, with its 200mph winds, might have been exacerbated by climate change from global warming. He included a soundbite from Carl Parker at the Weather Channel, NBC's corporate sibling network. Neither Doane nor Zee mentioned global warming, even in passing. Zee was more interested in the technology of scatterometry that weather satellites use to measure storms. While ten million people may be at risk in the path of the storm down below, Zee showed us a Virtual View computer animation of this monitoring from space. Doane offered a glimmer of optimism: because of the speed of typhoon's passage it may trigger fewer mudslides than a slower-moving, more drenching system would.

NBC's Ann Curry and CBS' Elizabeth Palmer were both assigned to Geneva for the nuclear talks with Iran. Palmer filed only a brief stand-up, so Curry's package was the comprehensive one. Curry included Iran's Foreign Minister Mohamman Javad Jarif in favor of diplomacy, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opposition to a mooted deal to relieve some sanctions, and President Barack Obama insisting to Chuck Todd in NBC's Thursday's Exclusive that any deal be verifiable. From Washington, ABC's Martha Raddatz spent more time on Netanyahu's objections than on the diplomacy itself (Raddatz did not even identify the Swiss location of the talks) while Bob Schieffer, anchor of CBS' Sunday morning show Face the Nation, aired a preview, with onetime Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta insisting on skepticism.


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