CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 22, 2008
Christmas Week started with a light day of news and two of the network anchors taking the day off. Ann Curry substituted for Brian Williams on NBC; Harry Smith for Katie Couric on CBS. In the absence of major breaking news, the frigid weather on the second day of winter qualified as Story of the Day, leading off all three newscasts. ABC started from the icy west coast; CBS chose snowbound New England; and NBC filed a nationwide survey from wind chilly New York City.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 22, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCWinter weatherFrigid cold, wind chills across midwestPeter AlexanderNew York
video thumbnailABCWinter weatherSeattle paralyzed by unusually heavy snowstormNeal KarlinskySeattle
video thumbnailNBCContinental Airlines 1404 crash on Denver runwayFell into ravine, caught fire, safely evacuatedTom CostelloWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSEconomy is officially in recessionFiscal stimulus two-year spending may $850bnChip ReidWashington DC
video thumbnailABCUnemployment: corporate layoffs continueSome firms avert losses by cutting pay, benefitsDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailABCObama Presidency policy problems previewedTranscontinental walk collects citizens' ideasKate SnowNew Jersey
video thumbnailNBCAfghanistan education: co-ed schools now permittedKandahar girls intimidated by acid skin attacksJim MacedaAfghanistan
video thumbnailCBSIraq: post-war reconstruction effortsKBR water tratment plant project turned toxicArmen KeteyianWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSChristmas holiday season celebratedShopping traffic declines, discounts expectedKelly WallaceNew Jersey
video thumbnailNBCChristmas holiday season celebratedSpending cuts on lights, parties, decorationsMelissa LeeLong Island
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
BRRRRRR Christmas Week started with a light day of news and two of the network anchors taking the day off. Ann Curry substituted for Brian Williams on NBC; Harry Smith for Katie Couric on CBS. In the absence of major breaking news, the frigid weather on the second day of winter qualified as Story of the Day, leading off all three newscasts. ABC started from the icy west coast; CBS chose snowbound New England; and NBC filed a nationwide survey from wind chilly New York City.

The coldest section of the nation was the midwest. "Brutal," complained ABC's Eric Horng, complaining of the "howling winds" off the Great Lakes. He looked forward to the Bears-Packers Monday Night Football in Chicago where a crowd of 60,000 will watch the contest in a -5F wind chill. NBC's Peter Alexander, too, employed an NFL theme, showing the celebratory snow angel that earned a penalty for a touchdownscoring Patriot--although the usual copyright constrictions meant that image does not appear in Alexander's online videostream. That record New England blizzard has sent "snowplows and snowblowers into overdrive," Dave Price, the Early Show weathercaster told us on CBS. ABC's Neal Karlinsky boasted that it was only because of the "spikes attached to my boots" that he was able to climb an icy hill in Seattle. He showed us a municipal bus give up the struggle, rolling backwards out of trouble.

The Greyhound bus was the transportation service ABC's Karlinsky found at a standstill. CBS' Price focused on airline flight delays. Shut down Amtrak routes caught Alexander's attention on NBC. NBC rounded out its coverage with an Xmas forecast from Mark Seidel of the Weather Channel. No white Christmas for New York City or the California coast--just rain--and in Miami--just 82F.


I CAN SEE WELL ENOUGH TO TWITTER All three newscasts assigned a correspondent to cover the start of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the Continental Airlines crash at Denver Airport on Sunday. Flight 1404 skidded off the runway during its takeoff attempt in high winds. The Boeing 737 crashed into a 40-foot ravine and burst into flames. The plane was evacuated without fatalities by all 115 on board. ABC was the only network to have a reporter in Denver. Lisa Stark (embargoed link) was skeptical that high winds caused the crash: "Other planes had no problem taking off." NBC's Tom Costello and CBS' Thalia Assuras filed from their networks' DC bureaus. The fact that the plane left the runway into the wind's direction ruled out wind shear for Assuras. Costello dug out file footage to illustrate how the FAA trains passengers in safe techniques for exiting a burning cabin. He told us about Mike Wilson, a passenger who lost his eyeglasses in the confusion but who could still see well enough to reach for his text messager. His expurgated Twitter went thus: "Holy *********. I was just in a plane crash! Ugh, my glasses fell off in a mass exodus getting off the plane. Can't see very well."


TRYING TO PREVENT UNEMPLOYMENT CBS' soon-to-be White House correspondent Chip Reid covered the Congressional preparations for an economic stimulus package, designed to be enacted within in ten days of Barack Obama's inauguration. It is designed to spend $850bn extra federal dollars over a 24 month period: "The top priority in the Obama plan is big projects that create jobs quickly--rebuilding infrastructure, refurbishing schools, investing in mass transit, healthcare technology and green energy." ABC's economic coverage was A Closer Look at the corporate sector. Businesses are deciding to avoid outright layoffs by cutting labor costs with shared pain instead. David Muir's examples included mandatory unpaid vacations, four-day work weeks, eliminated raises, reduced 401(k) contributions, "trimming everything but the jobs themselves."


SEVEN PAIRS OF SHOES In the run-up--or walk-up--to Inauguration Day, ABC's closer from Kate Snow was a profile of transcontinental hiker BJ Hill of WalkAmerica2008.com. Hill is on his 3,900th mile from San Francisco headed east, carrying leather-bound journals addressed to Barack Obama containing the handwritten messages citizens are sending the new President. Snow found that they range from the "sarcastic" to the "poignant" to the "hopeful." Hill wants the journals to be Obama's bedside reading. What questions do strangers ask the trekker? "How many shoes have I gone through? Yes, this is pair #7."


ZIMBABWE IS MINE All three newscasts filed a report from overseas: ABC and NBC on current stories; CBS aired a retrospective Investigation. Armen Keteyian's expose was into KBR, the onetime Halliburton subsidiary that was contracted to deliver reconstruction projects in post-invasion Iraq. Keteyian investigated a water treatment plant in southern Iraq that was covered in a toxic orange dust of the chemical hexavalent chromium. Now five years after that project, members of the Indiana National Guard who were assigned to its security detail are falling sick with a rare and lethal form of lung cancer. A lawsuit filed by the guardsmen argues that KBR knew of the contamination for four months before it notified army medics.

ABC's Miguel Marquez (embargoed link) updated us on the crisis in Zimbabwe. As well as cholera and inflation, Marquez adds hunger to the nation's woes. The United Nations estimates that 5.5m residents now need food aid. Inflation, by the way, is currently running at an annual rate of 231,000,000%. Marquez quoted President Robert Mugabe this weekend: "I will never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine." NBC's In Depth report was filed by Jim Maceda from Kandahar in southeastern Afghanistan. He sought out a pair of cousins, two of the six schoolgirls who were attacked by anti-co-ed militants last month. The girls thought that men on motorbikes were teasing them by throwing water on their faces. It was not water but acid, designed to intimidate them against getting an education. One of the girls is now partially blinded. "You can spray us a thousand times. We will not stop going to school," the blinded girl's sister swore, in tears.


ONLY ONE HUNDRED & TWENTY MILLION! CBS and NBC both filed seasonal updates for the Yuletide that were altogether lacking in financial cheer. CNBC's Melissa Lee listed the holiday belt tightening for NBC: no municipal holiday lights decorate the streets of auto-dependent Bay City Mich; fewer corporations throw office parties; Santa Claus is landing fewer gigs; and front door wreaths are downsizing--onetime 20-inch households now settle for sixteen. CBS' Kelly Wallace went to New Jersey to check out the traffic in the Paramus Mall. "Desperate retailers" is what she found. Compared with last year, 6m fewer shoppers were spending on the final weekend before Christmas--a mere 120m of us.