CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 20, 2010
The Story of the Day was the paralysis that has descended on western Europe as five inches of snow snarled Heathrow Airport in London, backing up continental and transAtlantic traffic during the pre-Christmas travel peak. None of the newscasts led from Heathrow, although CBS kicked off from London on a different British story, the crackdown on a suspected bomb plot. NBC and ABC both led with weather on this continent, the so-called Pineapple Express rainstorm from the Pacific Ocean that is inundating California. ABC had anchor Diane Sawyer file from Washington DC as she checked on the state of homeland security for the holidays.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 20, 2010: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCSnowfall paralyzes Britain, western EuropeHeathrow Airport closed, thousands strandedStephanie GoskLondon
video thumbnailABCStorms, heavy rains, mudslides on Pacific coastCanyons around Los Angeles are inundatedMike von FremdCalifornia
video thumbnailCBSBritain terrorism: coordinated arrests for bomb plotRound up dozen ethnic Bangladeshi suspectsElizabeth PalmerLondon
video thumbnailCBSFood safety and food poisoning preventionTerrorists plot to lace salad bars with poisonArmen KeteyianNew York
video thumbnailCBSMunicipal water supply contamination worriesTraces of chromium carcinogen in several systemsBill WhitakerLos Angeles
video thumbnailABC111th Congress convenes in lame duck sessionFlurry of debate includes START, WTC healthcareJonathan KarlCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSHijacked jets kamikaze attacks on NYC, DCWTC workers' $6bn healthcare fund may passNancy CordesCapitol Hill
video thumbnailABCCivil War history: 150th anniversaryCharleston SC ball commemorates secessionLinsey DavisNew York
video thumbnailCBSLos Angeles serial killer: ten dead since 1985Photo gallery of 160 women may be targets tooBen TracyLos Angeles
video thumbnailNBCGospel music church choirs competitionYouth group from inner city Compton wins prizeKristen WelkerLos Angeles
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
WINTER WEATHER ON WINTER SOLSTICE The Story of the Day was the paralysis that has descended on western Europe as five inches of snow snarled Heathrow Airport in London, backing up continental and transAtlantic traffic during the pre-Christmas travel peak. None of the newscasts led from Heathrow, although CBS kicked off from London on a different British story, the crackdown on a suspected bomb plot. NBC and ABC both led with weather on this continent, the so-called Pineapple Express rainstorm from the Pacific Ocean that is inundating California. ABC had anchor Diane Sawyer file from Washington DC as she checked on the state of homeland security for the holidays.

All three reports on Europe's travel chaos (by NBC's Stephanie Gosk, ABC's Nick Watt, CBS' Mark Phillips) showed us the thousands of delayed airline passengers sleeping in Heathrow's terminals and the hours-long lines at London's St Pancras station to catch trains through the Channel Tunnel. It was CBS' Phillips who landed the soundbite they must all have been searching for: "There is no other way off this lovely island."

NBC's Miguel Almaguer and ABC's Mike von Fremd both picked La Canada in the suburban canyons of Los Angeles to file on the incessant rains that are drenching southern California. La Canada was the site of devastating wildfires last year so its hillsides are denuded, making mudslides more likely. The sight of ABC's von Fremd crawling through a muddy storm basin built to catch the debris hardly made the hillsides look stable.


BLOWN UP OR BLOWN COVER From London, both CBS' Elizabeth Palmer and ABC's Jim Sciutto told us about a suspected bomb plot as police arrested a dozen young men from Britain's Bangladeshi community. The urgency of the arrests did probably not derive from an imminent series of explosions, Palmer told us, but the imminent exposure of an undercover informant.

It was not only the British arrests…there a whiff of panic in the air about looming terrorism on all three newscasts. CBS' Armen Keteyian worried about Yemeni cells tampering with our food. NBC's Tom Costello checked on the thousands of plain-clothes air marshals riding in jetliners in case fellow passengers turned violent: "The marshals concede they have never knowingly stopped a terrorist but they train for the ultimate confrontation nearly everyday." ABC anchor Diane Sawyer traveled to Washington DC to sit down with Homeland Security and National Intelligence and Counterterrorism honchos. Secretary Janet Napolitano let slip the secret loophole that gives Osama bin Laden his chance: "Thousands of people are working 24/7, 364 days a year"--so all he has to do is find that one day off and he can strike.


CYANIDE ON YOUR FOOD; CHROMIUM IN YOUR WATER CBS filed a pair of features to instill fear about our food and water. Armen Keteyian claimed an Exclusive for yet more alarm about Yuletide terrorism. This time he raised an alert about ricin and cyanide being laced onto restaurant salad bars and hotel food buffets in hotels. The plot is dubbed Operation Hemorrhage and is part of the suspected scheme hatched by al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula to tie us into knots with a series of frequent yet insignificant threats. Bill Whitaker warned about increased levels of chromium-6 in municipal water supplies. He glamorized the latest environmental research by rerunning an Early Show appearance by Erin Brockovich, the activist who inspired the eponymous hit movie about the toxin. Brockovich's latest mission is to clean up the drinking water in Midland Texas.


KARL’S SARCASTIC LAME DUCK QUACKS All three newscasts assigned their Congressional correspondents to update the lame duck voting that saw out-of-the-closet gays allowed to serve in the armed forces. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell saw the Senate juggling ratification of START with the $6bn healthcare fund for World Trade Center workers. ABC's Jonathan Karl had picked up on Jon Stewart's campaign on The Daily Show on behalf of WTC workers' compensation on Friday and now CBS' Nancy Cordes joins in. Here is the playlist of six other nightly news reports on the toxic conditions at Ground Zero over the past three years.

ABC's Karl meanwhile switched from Lame Duck action to one of those annoying features that lavishes disproportionate attention on minuscule line items in the federal budget in order to heap sarcasm on waste-fraud-and-abuse. Karl's inspiration was Wastebook 2010, published by Sen Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican. Yet the pricetag attached to the printing press, the neon museum and the totem pole that so riled Karl could not even reach $30m (with an M) in annual spending.


FALSE EQUIVALENCE WATCH Listen to ABC's Linsey Davis tie herself into knots while trying to cover the ball in Charleston that celebrated the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the United States. There was no escaping its motive: "South Carolina's declaration of the reasons for seceding mentions slavery 18 times." So the ball was pro-slavery, right?

Check out these unfortunate formulations: "Slavery, America's most toxic institution that the farms of the South became so dependent upon…A century-and-a-half later, the war between Blue and Gray still casts a shadow in black and white: two sides still see this historic issue differently…This war ended the tradition of slavery."

They were not farms; they were plantations. The "two sides" are not black people and white people; but white supremacists and everybody else. Slavery was not a tradition; it was an economic system.

Davis' conclusion was that "some" remain "prisoners of the past, wrestling with the darkest chapter in our nation's history." That haunted "some" is mealy-mouthed. She means the unreconstructed black-tie burghers of Charleston and she should say so.


BONECHILLING & INSPIRATIONAL IN LA CBS' Ben Tracy picked up on the "chilling" photo gallery of women's faces being published by the Los Angeles Police Department that NBC's Kristen Welker told us about last Friday. They may or may not be dead; they may or may not have been murdered by South Central's Grim Sleeper serial killer. Tracy told us that the defense lawyer for Lonnie Franklin, accused of ten murders since 1985, accuses the LAPD of sensationalism, jeopardizing Franklin's prospect of a fair trial, by insinuating that Franklin might have killed many of the 160 depicted (Welker counted 180) in the layout. The lawyer seems to have a point--you try looking at the photo gallery with equanimity.

In more uplifting news from Los Angeles: they won the How Sweet the Sound competition as the nation's best gospel choir. NBC's Welker introduced us to the Voices of Destiny from the Great Zion Church in Compton. NBC praised the Voices of Destiny for altruistically Making a Difference but it sounds like Making a Joyful Noise is its own reward.