CONTAINING LINKS TO 55600 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 15, 2010
The video that went viral from a school board meeting in Panama City was the Story of the Day. Both CBS and ABC led with footage of Clay Duke, the 56-year-old husband of a laid-off special education teacher, threatening a vendetta against the school board, threatening its male members with a gun, shooting over their heads, and then, wounded by a security officer, killing himself. No one else was hurt. The event itself was not nationally newsworthy; the existence of the video was the element that was unusual. NBC placed the video second in its running order, leading with winter weather instead.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 15, 2010: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSFlorida school board threatened by suicidal gunmanShooting videotape goes viral; no one else hurtMark StrassmannFlorida
video thumbnailABCFlorida school board threatened by suicidal gunmanHostage negotiator evaluates videotape exchangeSharyn AlfonsiNew York
video thumbnailABCICE border controls along Mexico lineBandits kill Border Patrol agent in desert fightMike von FremdArizona
video thumbnailCBSAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingMarine Corps amputees still support war effortDavid MartinWashington DC
video thumbnailABCCorporate profits rebound, massive cash reservesCEOs summoned to White House, urged to hireJake TapperWhite House
video thumbnailCBSFederal porkbarrel spending on earmarked projectsLame duck adds $8bn in extras to $1.1tr budgetSharyl AttkissonCapitol Hill
video thumbnailABCFederal porkbarrel spending on earmarked projectsLine items by anti-earmark Republicans includedJonathan KarlCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCWinter weatherSnows in north, ice in south, frost in FloridaJohn YangChicago
video thumbnailCBSFace recognition failure is neurological conditionAfflicts author Oliver Sachs, artist Chuck CloseSanjay GuptaNew York
video thumbnailNBCChristmas holiday season gets under wayUSPS handles begging letters sent to North PoleMike TaibbiNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FLORIDA SCHOOL BOARD DODGES BULLETS; VIDEO GOES VIRAL The video that went viral from a school board meeting in Panama City was the Story of the Day. Both CBS and ABC led with footage of Clay Duke, the 56-year-old husband of a laid-off special education teacher, threatening a vendetta against the school board, threatening its male members with a gun, shooting over their heads, and then, wounded by a security officer, killing himself. No one else was hurt. The event itself was not nationally newsworthy; the existence of the video was the element that was unusual. NBC placed the video second in its running order, leading with winter weather instead.

CBS' Mark Strassmann, NBC's Mark Potter and ABC's Ryan Owens were all sent to Florida to cover the school board members' press conference to relive their terrifying experience. The suicidal gunman's widow, the teacher who was laid-off, was quoted by CBS' Strassmann as saying that "the world and the economy got the better of her husband."

ABC anchor Diane Sawyer asked Sharyn Alfonsi to teach us "important lessons about what to do and what not to do in this kind of crisis." You might think that Sawyer was referring to the kind of crisis that the Duke family and millions of others nationwide are going through: being laid off, feeling desperate, wanting to lash out, toying with violence, turning those destructive urges on oneself. No. That is not what she had in mind. Sawyer wanted to know about the one-in-a-million circumstance of being threatened by a gunman. Alfonsi had Wally Zeins, a onetime NYPD hostage negotiator, "walk us through it step by step."


OTHER NOTES FROM WEDNESDAY’S NEWSCASTS… Remember the brouhaha during Campaign 2010 when Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona, claimed that immigrants crossing the border illegally were leaving headless bodies in the desert? Here is how ABC's David Muir and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell covered her discredited claims. Finally a death in the desert: Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed after a nine-person firefight--but illegal immigrants were not to blame now either, ABC's Mike von Fremd told us. Instead it was the bandits who prey on them.

CBS' Pentagon correspondent David Martin filed his second report on amputated Afghanistan War veterans. Tuesday, he told us about the IEDs that cripple Marine Corps foot patrols. Now he has a sitdown with them, all gung ho to continue the US military occupation, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He called them "four men in the prime of their lives, not a good leg among you."

ABC is trying to act populist in the face of the $1.8tr in unspent cash reserves accumulated by major corporations: last month Ron Claiborne asked why they are not hiring; now Jake Tapper covers CEOs summoned to the White House. Together the 20 bosses laid off 63,000 workers in 2009. "Nothing concrete" came from their four-hour meeting with Barack Obama.

In her efforts to cover porkbarrel spending by earmarking solons on Tuesday, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell made the rookie mistake of letting a sense of proportion get in the way of her outrage. Less than 1% of the bill, $8bn out of $1.1tr, consisted of pork, she admitted. Now ABC's Jonathan Karl and CBS' Sharyl Attkisson show how the pro's do it. Listen to Attkisson's sarcastic litany as she drips with contempt. Check out Karl as he wags his finger at hypocritical power.

Only NBC decided that the winter weather that led all three newscasts Monday and Tuesday was worthy of a third straight day of coverage. A frigid John Yang kicked off the newscast from Chicago. Check out the visuals at the end of his package--natural ice sculptures formed by Great Lakes waves.

There was nothing in ABC's closer that seemed to belong on a nightly newscast. Maybe Andrea Canning filed a package for Good Morning America and stumbled into the World News studio by mistake. Topic: zany weight loss techniques. News hook: a book tour by Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body. Visual interest: stud muffin author sits in a bath tub in his boxers. Correspondent's ritual humiliation: Canning walks round a freezing New York City in flip-flops and her scanties. Her brainfreeze must be what led her into the wrong studio.

Prosopagnosia is a fascinating enough condition and Oliver Sachs, the neurologist-author famous for Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is a fascinating enough subject for a profile. So when CNN's in-house brain surgeon Sanjay Gupta used Sachs' personal case history to describe the failure of face recognition, there did not seem to be any grandstanding on CBS--until Gupta decided to illustrate how unimaginable it is to a normal person to find a face unrecognizable. His example was the visage of Katie Couric. Unable to spot Katie in a crowd? Inconceivable!

Operation Santa at New York City's General Post Office is in its last year under the direction of Pete Fontana. ABC's David Muir and NBC's Mike Taibbi both volunteered to help recruit Fontana's elves by sharing heartbreaking handwritten pleas from impoverished children. ABC anchor Diane Sawyer found "so much faith in those letters." Penury is more like it.