CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 01, 2010
The aftermath of this weekend's massive earthquake in Chile was the Story of the Day and the lead on all three newscasts. ABC and CBS both kicked off from Santiago--with David Wright and Mark Strassmann--where anti-seismic building codes prevented a Port-au-Prince style catastrophe. Nationwide, Chile's death toll is estimated at a fraction of Haiti's, just 720. NBC sent Today newscaster Ann Curry southwards towards the epicenter. The closer she came to Concepcion, Chile's second largest city, the more devastated was the infrastructure. On ABC, Jeffrey Kofman made the same southwards trek: "In Talca, we found buildings ripped apart like toys in the hands of an impetuous child."    
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video thumbnailABCChile earthquake hits city of Concepcion: Richter 8.8Struck overnight, caused coastal tsunamiDavid WrightChile
video thumbnailNBCChile earthquake hits city of Concepcion: Richter 8.8Infrastructure flattened in southern provincesAnn CurryChile
video thumbnailCBSChile earthquake hits city of Concepcion: Richter 8.8Nazca Plate shifts eastwards from Pacific OceanBill WhitakerLos Angeles
video thumbnailNBCHaiti earthquake levels Port-au-Prince: Richter 7.0UNICEF helps lost six-year-old find her fatherIan WilliamsHaiti
video thumbnailCBSCIA agents assassinated along Afghan-Pakistan borderSuicide video by assassin al-Balawi releasedBob OrrWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSPresident Obama has annual physical check-upNeeds to quit cigarettes, check his cholesterolChip ReidWhite House
video thumbnailABCSen Jim Bunning (R-KY) singlehandedly blocks billHalts jobless benefits; highway, Medicare fundsJonathan KarlCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSMilitary veterans rejoin civilian societyCourt helps troubled veterans stay out of jailDavid MartinNew York State
video thumbnailABCPrescription drug writing, dispensing errorsChain stores use poorly-trained techniciansBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailNBCFitness and exercise produce health benefitsOlympics TV couch potatoes inspired to work outNancy SnydermanVancouver
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
NAZCA PLATE CRASHES INTO CHILE’S COAST The aftermath of this weekend's massive earthquake in Chile was the Story of the Day and the lead on all three newscasts. ABC and CBS both kicked off from Santiago--with David Wright and Mark Strassmann--where anti-seismic building codes prevented a Port-au-Prince style catastrophe. Nationwide, Chile's death toll is estimated at a fraction of Haiti's, just 720. NBC sent Today newscaster Ann Curry southwards towards the epicenter. The closer she came to Concepcion, Chile's second largest city, the more devastated was the infrastructure. On ABC, Jeffrey Kofman made the same southwards trek: "In Talca, we found buildings ripped apart like toys in the hands of an impetuous child."

Back in the United States, both CBS' Bill Whitaker and NBC's Robert Bazell explained the seismology of the tremor that literally shook the Earth on its axis. The Nazca Plate's eastwards motion caused the disaster. Its collision with South America is what is creating the Andes Mountains. NBC's Bazell noted that this phenomenon is different from the side-by-side rubbing of plates, which occurred in Haiti and which is the feature of California's San Andreas Fault. If the United States is to experience a Chile-style earthquake, he reported, that will occur in Oregon and Washington.


NBC REMAINS IN PORT-AU-PRINCE NBC is the only newscast to continue to report from Haiti. During the month of February, the three network newscasts filed a total of 19 follow-up stories (NBC 10 v CBS 6, NBC 3) on January's quake. The arrest of the Baptist missionaries from Idaho on suspicion of child trafficking turned out to be a bigger story in February than the actual recovery (36 min v 28) from the earthquake.

NBC's Ian Williams is assigned to keep his network's presence alive in Port-au-Prince. Last week Williams warned about the looming rainy season with tens of thousands of homeless people living outdoors in shantytowns with no sanitation: "Their flimsy shelters could be swept away by landslides." Now Williams brings us the affecting tale of a lost six-year-old girl called Sterling. She drew pictures of her destroyed neighborhood for a UNICEF counselor. Those visual clues led Sterling, the counselor and the NBC News camera crew to a cemetery…then an alleyway…a destroyed house…a homeless encampment…and eventually into the embrace of her searching father.


INTELCENTER INTRODUCES US TO HUMAN AL-BALAWI There has been no follow-up to the assassination of the seven CIA spies on a border outpost along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border since their funerals just after New Year's Day. Now Bob Orr on CBS comes up with an intriguing videostream courtesy of IntelCenter--although Orr does not explain what IntelCenter is. Orr mentions that the video was released by "al-Qaeda's propaganda arm," without any further specifics.

What the video shows is Humam al-Balawi, the assassin, preparing to launch his raid. al-Balawi demonstrates that the detonator for his bomb is disguised as a wristwatch. It was, Orr tells us, "the deadliest attack on the CIA in more than 25 years."


BARACK’S BURGERS & BUNNING’S BLOCK Jim Bunning and Barack Obama were the day's major newsmakers inside-the-Beltway. The President made news because his physicians released their report on his annual physical. CBS' Chip Reid and ABC's Jake Tapper both filed from the White House. Both pointed to his continued smoking of cigarettes and his rising levels of cholesterol. ABC's Tapper reported that "cheeseburgers, fries and pies" were to blame. CBS' Reid pointed to "those elaborate White House desserts."

The Republican junior senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky became a one-man obstacle to a $10bn bill to extend jobless benefits to the unemployed for the month of March. Bunning's block shuts down 41 highway construction projects and imposes a pay cut of 21% on physicians treating Medicare patients. All three networks had their Congressional correspondents cover the block (CBS' Nancy Cordes here and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell here). ABC's Jonathan Karl was most confrontational, trying to join Bunning as he moved around the Capitol: "Excuse me," Bunning insisted as he spurned Karl. "This is a Senator-only elevator."


KODAK CITY Rochester NY, by a strange coincidence, came into focus on CBS. Pentagon correspondent David Martin traveled to upstate New York to profile the courtroom of Judge Patricia Marks for CBS' Eye on Justice feature. Judge Marks runs a program to keep veterans who run foul of the law upon discharge from ending up in prison. Steve Hartman for Assignment America followed up on his famous 1996 feature on Jason McElwain. Back then, McElwain, who suffers from autism, was the high school senior and hoops fanatic who was given a final chance to play--and sank basket after basket after basket. That moment of fame gave McElwain a shot of newfound confidence: "That game really did change him."


WHY WOULD THE PUBLIC NEED TO KNOW? Also following up on a story from years past was Brian Ross on ABC. His Investigates feature reexamined drug store chains that hire barely-trained technicians to dispense medicines. Licensed pharmacists play only a supervisory role. Here is Ross' earlier expose from 2007, which used the same anecdote of Beth Hippely, a cancer patient who suffered a fatal stroke because of an overdose error.

"Critics say the big chains have brought a fast-food culture to the drug-store business," Ross reported. The federal government has no requirement that pharmacists publicize their dispensaries' rates of error: "Why would the public need to know this?" asked Edith Rosato, representing the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.


SHILLS NOT FAIR USERS Much of the news coverage of the Vancouver Olympic Games has been confined to the broadcasting platform of the nightly newscasts. Even though NBC's Brian Williams anchored from Vancouver, only 10 of the 18 Olympic-themed reports on Nightly News during the two weeks of the Games were made available online (only one of David Muir's six by ABC and none by CBS of the six Jeff Glor filed). Presumably the problem was that the copyright lawyers at the network news divisions did not consider the stories from the Games sufficiently newsworthy to warrant fair use of NBC's sports footage online.

This raises the question: if the stories were not newsworthy enough to make the sports footage available under fair use, what were the broadcast newscasts doing running the stories in the first place? For NBC, the obvious answer is that they were not practicing journalism. They were just shilling--producing publicity and promotion for their sibling sports division.

Anyway, Monday's retroactive coverage of the men's hockey final and the medal standings by NBC's Chris Jansing was more of the same--appearing on broadcast, not available online. Instead, NBC's in-house physician Nancy Snyderman filed from Vancouver in a Personal Best feature to remind Olympic TV couch potatoes to get up and work out--at least 30 minutes a day.