A little animal news goes a long way. NBC anchor Brian Williams got the tone right when he offered a brief voiceover on Tuesday of videotape of Knut, the cute polar bear cub at Berlin Zoo. The non-story was that an oddball German animal rights militant had pointed out that when wild animals abandon their offspring they do not survive--so the cub's natural fate should have been death, not nurture by human zookeepers, once its mother refused to suckle it.
Richard Schlesinger was assigned to turn that tidbit into a full report as CBS' closer--while simultaneously Ned Potter was closing ABC's newscast with a different bear tale, on the no-longer-endangered "icons of nature," the grizzlies of Yellowstone National Park. ABC had no excuse to close with animals, having already assigned David Kerley (subscription required) to an update on tainted pet food. No single newscast should ever air two animal stories. That is a rule.
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