CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 15, 2006
A huge overnight storm hit Oregon and Washington State. Hurricane-force winds downed trees and caused electricity blackouts in Seattle. All three networks led their newscasts with stunning visuals of the rugged coastline along the Pacific Northwest. The coverage was picturesque but hardly in-depth. The storm may have qualified as the day's lead but it was only the day's third most-heavily covered story: #2 was the farewell ceremony for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; #1 was the publication of the annual Statistical Abstract by the Census Bureau.     
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 15, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCStorms, heavy rains, high winds in Pacific NWDowned trees cause electricity power outagesPeter AlexanderWashington State
video thumbnailCBSMount Hood climbing trio trapped by blizzardMountaineers well equipped with survival gearJerry BowenOregon
video thumbnailNBCDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resignsAccepts tributes at farewell ceremoniesDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesInspirational USArmy captain killed in al-AnbarMartha RaddatzWhite House
video thumbnailABCIran politics: President Ahmadinejad protestedMunicipal elections are test of his leadershipJim SciuttoTeheran
video thumbnailNBCUN humanitarian leader Jan Egeland celebratedLeader in aid fundraising, Darfur activismAnn CurryNew York
video thumbnailNBCMenopause: Hormone Replacement Therapy controversyWomen seek alternatives to estrogen supplementsNancy SnydermanNew York
video thumbnailCBSTeenagers evangelized by Christian youth ministriesPreachers dub hi-tech outreach as GodcastingSandra HughesAnaheim
video thumbnailCBSCensus Bureau publishes Statistical AbstractBehavioral survey is filled with triviaSharyn AlfonsiNew York
video thumbnailABCCensus Bureau publishes Statistical AbstractCorn syrup diet, media usage blamed for obesityNancy Weiner CordesNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
POWERLESS IN SEATTLE A huge overnight storm hit Oregon and Washington State. Hurricane-force winds downed trees and caused electricity blackouts in Seattle. All three networks led their newscasts with stunning visuals of the rugged coastline along the Pacific Northwest. The coverage was picturesque but hardly in-depth. The storm may have qualified as the day's lead but it was only the day's third most-heavily covered story: #2 was the farewell ceremony for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; #1 was the publication of the annual Statistical Abstract by the Census Bureau.

Both NBC and ABC sent reporters to the windswept coast. On Heceta Head in Oregon, ABC's Bill Redeker (no link) showed us sea foam whipped up a cliff face like snow falling upwards. NBC's Peter Alexander found a shortage of generators on Whidbey Island in Washington.

CBS had John Blackstone narrate the storm footage from San Francisco, but it did have Jerry Bowen on the scene at Mount Hood in Oregon to provide an update on the trio of mountaineers who have been missing on the peak for more than a week now. Experienced climbers, if they survived, they would have dug themselves a snow cave. Bowen crawled inside to show how one works: "to keep the cave from becoming a tomb" the entrance is below the sleeping area, which needs a ventilation pipe jutting upwards to the surface.

Bowen, who is based in Los Angeles, likes the cold. In the past he has reported for CBS from both Alaska and Antarctica.


SNOW JOB The Pentagon staged elaborate ceremonies to bid farewell to Secretary Rumsfeld--but the plaudits did not prevent a recap of the failures of his tenure. Singling out the abuses at abu-Ghraib prison in Iraq, NBC's David Gregory called his tenure "rocky" and ABC's Jonathan Karl summarized the critics' rap on Rumsfeld as "arrogant" and "divorced from reality." CBS' David Martin recalled that Rumsfeld's nickname for his voluminous memos was snowflakes. His last message was: "The blizzard is over."


IRAN VOTES, IRAQ FIGHTS Only ABC covered developments in the Persian Gulf region itself. Jim Sciutto went to Teheran to cover the municipal elections, the first test of the popularity of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since he took office: "These are in effect his midterm elections" as his opponents reversed the boycott they exercised on the previous ballot.

ABC's embedded producer Auzzie Dean in Iraq's al-Anbar province was impressed by an officer called Travis Patriquin. The USArmy captain spoke Arabic and had mapped out his own practical tactics for winning hearts and minds--and laid them out as a stick-figure PowerPoint presentation. Martha Raddatz paid glowing tribute to Patriquin's skills: "He even grew a moustache to make the locals feel better." Patriquin was killed by a roadside bomb last week.


HUMANITARIAN The United Nations rarely gets any in-depth coverage from the networks--let alone positive press. This week when Secretary General Kofi Annan made his farewell speech and his successor Bon Ki-Moon was sworn in, both events were mentioned only in passing.

So NBC's Making a Difference feature by Ann Curry really was different. Curry, who has become the network news champion of Darfur coverage, singled out the UN's chief humanitarian, Jan Egeland, for praise. He designated the Darfur fighting as "ethnic cleansing" early on and attracted criticism from George Bush's White House when he called aid contributions "stingy." Curry noted that after Egeland made his unusually outspoken criticism, US aid increased.


DOCTOR’S ORDERS NBC's in-house doctor Nancy Snyderman followed up on yesterday's lead story about the risk of breast cancer created by the estrogen in Hormone Replacement Therapy. In her In Depth report, she noted that 14m women are still taking HRT to relieve menopausal symptoms. Snyderman did not mince words: "If you are over the age of 50, you have two options: you can stop taking hormones immediately; or you can wean yourself off with your doctor's help. The one thing you cannot do is stay on them indefinitely."


THROW AWAY THE GUITAR It is Friday, the lightest news day of the week, so a couple of otherwise non-newsworthy conventions qualified for coverage. As part of its continuing Coming Home series, NBC picked the Coalition to Salute American Heroes in Orlando. Mark Potter reiterated challenges-- speech impediments, crushed bones, scars from burns, wheelchair paralysis--facing disabled military veterans.

For CBS' series Wired for Faith, Sandra Hughes went to Anaheim for a trade show for Christian youth ministers. That old-school "Bible and a guitar" routine no longer cuts it. Preachers for teenagers now have to go hi-tech, including "Jesus-with-a-joystick" videogames and myspace.com messages. Prerecorded sermons for iPods are called Godcasts.


MOUSE POTATOES As for the Story of the Day, the press office at the Census Bureau deserves all the credit for parlaying mere trivia into airtime. CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi and NBC's Ron Allen took the survey approach with tidbits about smells and shoes and heights and homes and water. Allen illustrated the report by walking a pair of dogs.

Alfonsi got to use CBS' fancy new visual display screen (the one that intimidates anchor Katie Couric: "I am a little afraid to touch it") but she bungled her arithmetic about Internet Weblogs. She cited statistics that 39m Americans read blogs while 13m started to publish them: "That works out to an average of three people reading each blog, so they might as well send an e-mail instead"--which is only true if readers do not browse but limit themselves to a single site.

ABC stuck to a single aspect of the abstract: its finding that Americans, on average, are "the fattest people on the planet." Nancy Cordes blamed it on two trends. We have more corn syrup in our diet and we spend more sedentary time (3,518 hours per person per year) consuming media of all kinds.

With all that surfing, NBC's Allen called us "mouse potatoes."


MENTIONED IN PASSING The network newscasts do not assign correspondents to all of the news of the day. If Tyndall Report readers come across videostreamed reports online of stories that were mentioned only in passing, post the link in comments for us to check out

Today's examples: new research into freed Guantanamo Bay detainees throws doubt on the extent of the threat they posed…the year-end rally on Wall Street continues…Prince William of Britain becomes an army officer and may be sent to a war zone…the Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to ten celebrities at the White House.