This was one of those trivial days when the Tyndall Report saves everyone else plenty of time. There was so little serious news--tainted peanut butter! new laser baldness remedy! closted gay hoopsters!--that anyone who missed the networks' newscasts missed very little. The Story of the Day was the aftermath of the big storm that blew through New England. All three networks led with the disruption it caused--a 50-mile traffic jam on a Pennsylvania Interstate and interminable flight delays at JFK Airport--but neither amounted to the sort of major hard news to warrant leading a newscast. They were human interest anecdotes of inconvenience, the sort of tale that is usually reserved for the closer.

ABC sent Dan Harris to survey the "frozen parking lot" called I-78. Tractor trailers had jack-knifed and stalled while climbing an icy hill preventing all traffic behind from passing. As the jam backed up the snowfall intensified. "The plows simply could not get through." Cars and trucks were stuck for "as long as 22 hours" in sub-freezing conditions overnight. "Drivers put their cars in park and prayed," as CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi put it. Motorists had to eat snow to stay hydrated. Truckers invited motorists into their heated cabins to stay warm. Volunteers used all-terrain vehicles to bring food and water to those waiting. NBC's Rehema Ellis called it "an unimaginable standstill."

The ice on the Kennedy Airport runways was a public relations disaster for jetBlue Airlines. "Jet Black-and-Blue," as CBS' Alfonsi dubbed the carrier, dispatched ten of its jets to take off, expecting the icestorm to abate. When it did not, terminal gates were no longer open to let the passengers off. ABC's David Muir (subscription required) explained that by the time slots opened up, the planes were immobilized because their wheels were frozen. Hundreds of passengers were trapped in the cabins for as long as eleven hours: "They could see the terminal but they could not get there," NBC's Tom Costello commented, "miserably hot and stuffy with only chips to eat."


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