CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 21, 2006
ABC went out on a limb yesterday, choosing the blizzard that blanketed Denver as its lead. On its second day NBC joined in. The ripple effect of the closure of Denver Airport on the start of the Christmas holiday travel rush qualified winter weather as the Story of the Day. CBS was still a holdout--leading with Iraq and spending most time on one widow's grief.     
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 21, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCWinter weatherBlizzard paralyzes Denver in two feet of snowKerry SandersDenver
video thumbnailABC
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Winter weatherDenver Airport disruptions ripple across systemDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUSMC murder charges in Haditha civilian massacreDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: civilian contractors provide logistics supportSecurity contractors allege murder spree by bossLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSClean Air Act pollution fighting regulationsEPA fails to regulate lethal microscopic sootWyatt AndrewsPennsylvania
video thumbnailABC
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War on Drugs: teenage prescription medicine abuseSwitch from illegal narcotics to painkillersPierre ThomasWashington DC
video thumbnailABCHorse racing Triple Crown: Barbaro breaks legMay leave animal hospital, end up at studJuju ChangPennsylvania
video thumbnailNBCDinosaur paleontology makes new discoveriesFossil in Spain of 48-ton, 125-foot turiasaurusRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailCBSMount Hood climbing trio trapped by blizzardWidow describes phone call to dying mountaineerKatie CouricDallas
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
DELAYS START FROM DENVER ABC went out on a limb yesterday, choosing the blizzard that blanketed Denver as its lead. On its second day NBC joined in. The ripple effect of the closure of Denver Airport on the start of the Christmas holiday travel rush qualified winter weather as the Story of the Day. CBS was still a holdout--leading with Iraq and spending most time on one widow's grief.

NBC led with Kerry Sanders thigh-deep in snow--Robert-Hager-style he measured the 22-inch drift in front of our eyes. With air flights canceled, Sanders offered us a Pittsburgh Steelers' fan driving 1,400 miles from Montana to catch a game. ABC's Dean Reynolds (subscription required) offered the reverse commute, as Chicago's Lewin family headed west in its SUV for Colorado Christmas skiing.


SIGNET Fully half of CBS' newscast was devoted to Katie Couric's interview with Karen James, the widow of the mountaineer who was found dead in a snow cave on Mount Hood. Couric flew round trip to Dallas to land her Exclusive.

James generated more sobbing than news in the interview. The most moving moment was when she recounted how searchers had been told that they could identify her husband by his ring. When they entered the snow cave "so peaceful, so serene" where Kelly James had frozen to death, they found that he had taken his right glove off, despite the cold. He had made a fist with his bare hand, except for his ring finger. He left that pointing outwards in plain view: "He knew. He wanted to be identified."


HUMAN RIGHTS CBS' choice for its lead was the looming Marine Corps court martial against four enlisted men and four officers for the massacre of 24 civilians in the village of Haditha in November 2005. David Martin gave credit to videotape collected by human rights activists exposing the murder three months after the fact. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani was charged with dereliction for his failure to investigate the deaths of "so many civilians."


EYES OPEN Besides the Haditha case, ABC and NBC offered Iraqi updates. NBC's Lisa Myers investigated the lawlessness of private contractors hired to provide security in Iraq. She interviewed a pair of fired employees of Triple Canopy who claimed to be eyewitnesses to their supervisor's willful shooting spree against civilians on his final day on the job. "This guy was obviously unstable, obviously out of control. We honestly felt fear for our lives," said one.

ABC's Terry McCarthy (no link) focused on Baghdad politics: Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr "may have blinked first," he speculated, and decided to end his boycott of parliament. "He appears to have become nervous that he may be left out" of a new coalition.


CLEAN AIR CBS completed its two-parter on the dangers of Foul Air. Yesterday John Blackstone told us about the asthma epidemic in California's polluted San Joaquin Valley. Part two saw Wyatt Andrews investigate lung damage caused by invisible microscopic soot from power plants and diesel emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency ignored the demands of the American Lung Association and permits soot to persist. The ALA claims soot kills "tens of thousands each year" nationwide; the EPA responds that the death are not proven.


POPPING PILLS The dangers from over-the-counter pain relievers led Tuesday's news. The follow-up on ABC's A Closer Look was about the prescription variety. Pierre Thomas (subscription required) reported that today's youth are cutting back on illegal narcotics and getting high on pharmaceuticals instead. Their supplier is likely to be their parents' medicine cabinet. Vicodin is a drug of choice for one in every ten high school seniors--but do not ignore the pharmacy's over-the-counter display for a buzz. Teens like cough syrup, too, and overdoses can kill.


THOROUGHBRED ABC's Juju Chang checked the animal hospital in Kennett Square Pa for a progress report on the convalescence of Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby champion who broke down in the Preakness Stakes and almost died. Now limping on his mended broken leg, he may stand at stud commanding $1m-a-year fees. His offspring may inherit Barbaro's speed--but also his (lack of) soundness.

A 150-million-year-old animal story from Spain was NBC's closer. Unlucky Robert Bazell failed to land an assignment to the fossil site in Europe, so he had to make do with a shorter trip uptown to New York's American Museum of Natural History to explain the newly discovered dinosaur's dimensions: turiasaurus was 125-feet-long, weighing in at 42 tons.


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: the Father of All Turkmen, dictator of Turkmenistan, President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov dies…New Jersey authorizes civil union status for homosexual couples, one step short of gay marriage…the economy grows sluggishly, with 3Q06 GDP up only 2.0%.