Both CBS and NBC chose the crisis in military healthcare as their lead story. Heads are starting to roll in the army because of the substandard care for combat casualties--but the shake-up did not qualify as Story of the Day. The most heavily-covered story was the follow-up to yesterday's string of tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia. Dozens of twisters killed 20 people. ABC gave the storms the heaviest coverage and made them its lead.

ABC flooded the zone, as the saying goes. It sent two correspondents plus its in-house meteorologist to the small Alabama town of Enterprise where a twister tore the roof off the local high school, crushing students taking shelter in a hallway. Bereaved teenagers described their eight dead classmates to Steve Osunsami (subscription required): "It is a small school. Everybody knew them." David Muir confirmed that the school had handled the tornado warning properly: "The students and teachers were doing exactly what they had been taught. They held a drill just last week." Concluded CBS' Mark Strassmann: "The school was ready--the building was not." NBC obtained eyewitness cell phone videotape of the funnel advancing: "The tornado was a monster," NBC's Kerry Sanders commented.

The Georgia angle was covered by CBS and NBC. NBC's Martin Savidge (at the tail of the Sanders videostream) showed us the halls of a hospital in Americus that took a direct hit: "Despite its terrible beating, no one died." At a trailer park in Newton where six were killed within 300 feet on one another, CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi ran the videotape: "If it looks like Mother Nature erased an entire neighborhood, it is because she did."

On ABC, Good Morning America meteorologist Sam Champion (no link) suggested that global warming might have killed those teenagers, creating "wild weather extremes." He noted a trend towards "more early season tornadoes" caused by warm air being pushed into the southeast by El Nino.


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.