CONTAINING LINKS TO 58103 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 14, 2011
Last weekend's shooting at a Safeway supermarket in Tucson completed a clean sweep for the week. It was the lead story on all 15 of the week's nightly newscasts (five weekdays, three networks). It occupied 57% of the week's three-network newshole (168 min out of 291 total) with little difference in the amount of attention among the three newscasts (CBS 58 min, NBC 58, ABC 52). Friday, Tucson was Story of the Day yet again (20 min total--ABC 8, CBS 8, NBC 4), more from the continuing momentum of an already-established storyline than from any interesting new development. Oh, by the way, there was a revolution in Tunisia. No network had a foreign correspondent on the scene to cover the drama. ABC anchored its newscast from Washington DC for no apparent reason since it offered no special Beltway coverage. NBC used substitute anchor Lester Holt.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 14, 2011: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCRep Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) assassination attemptFuneral held, hospital update, criminal probeKristen WelkerArizona
video thumbnailABCRep Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) assassination attemptAccused killer bought gun despite mental illnessDavid WrightArizona
video thumbnailCBSGuns: firearms control regulations debateProposal to restore ban on oversized magazinesWyatt AndrewsVirginia
video thumbnailABCState government budgets face fiscal crisisMix of spending cuts, tax hikes, innovative feeBarbara PintoChicago
video thumbnailCBSState government budgets face fiscal crisisIllinois requires massive income tax rate hikesDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailNBCFormer President Ronald Reagan centennial loomsBook by son Ron Reagan recalls signs of dementiaJohn YangNew York
video thumbnailCBSPope John Paul II expected to become Catholic saintMiraculous cure of nun's Parkinsonism verifiedMark PhillipsLondon
video thumbnailNBCTunisia politics: street protests oust presidentWikiLeaks, twitter messages mobilized oppositionMichelle KosinskiLondon
video thumbnailNBCFloods in eastern QueenslandClean-up of mudstrewn homes of Brisbane beginsIan WilliamsAustralia
video thumbnailABCHighway traffic flow redesigned: eliminate left turnsFewer accidents, less congestion, saves fuelJeremy HubbardNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FORGET TUNISIA--WHAT ABOUT YET MORE TUCSON? Last weekend's shooting at a Safeway supermarket in Tucson completed a clean sweep for the week. It was the lead story on all 15 of the week's nightly newscasts (five weekdays, three networks). It occupied 57% of the week's three-network newshole (168 min out of 291 total) with little difference in the amount of attention among the three newscasts (CBS 58 min, NBC 58, ABC 52). Friday, Tucson was Story of the Day yet again (20 min total--ABC 8, CBS 8, NBC 4), more from the continuing momentum of an already-established storyline than from any interesting new development. Oh, by the way, there was a revolution in Tunisia. No network had a foreign correspondent on the scene to cover the drama. ABC anchored its newscast from Washington DC for no apparent reason since it offered no special Beltway coverage. NBC used substitute anchor Lester Holt.

Pam Simon, an aide to Rep Gabrielle Giffords, who was also injured in Saturday's gunfire, got her moment in the spotlight. ABC's David Muir covered her release from hospital and her "triumphant return" to Giffords' district office. Simon, a former schoolteacher and an advocate for students with social behavior and mental health problems, also sat down for an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric: "I have no malice toward this young man at all," she commented, referring to Jared Loughner, the accused killer of six. "I only have sadness that we, as a society, are not able to help him.

More salacious tidbits dribbled out about Loughner, this time from the photo-processing laboratory at Walgreens. Both CBS' Ben Tracy and NBC's Mike Taibbi described Loughner's self-portrait snapshots yet neither showed us his poses with a bright red G-string, pistol at his crotch, then at his buttocks. How such gratuitous gossip does not qualify as prejudicial and unethical pre-trial publicity is beyond me.

Meanwhile, NBC's Kristen Welker and CBS' Tracy filed routine medical updates on the injured and the crowded, yet private, funeral of Federal Judge John Roll. ABC's week-ending Person of the Week offered vox-pop comments from mourners and those standing vigil outside the hospital.


GUN CONTROL ABC's David Wright visited a Pima County firing range to shoot off a few rounds first. Then he investigated how easy it was for Jared Loughner, despite manifest mental health problems, to purchase his pistol. Wright told us that it has been illegal for the mentally ill to own a gun since 1968. Different states have different interpretations: under federal law the prohibition applies only to those under court-ordered treatment; some states require from applicants a waiver of healthcare privacy; others require an in-person application with law enforcement, face-to-face; Arizona requires neither of these.

For the first time this week, the post-Tucson coverage turned to the gun control debate on Capitol Hill. CBS' Wyatt Andrews told us about Rep Carolyn McCarthy's proposal to restore the ban on oversized magazines for pistols, limiting a clip to ten bullets plus one in the chamber. McCarthy is the New York Democrat whose husband was killed in a random shooting spree on a Long Island commuter train. Andrews was skeptical of passage: "The political reality is that both houses of Congress are largely pro-gun"--even the brain-damaged Gabrielle Giffords herself. "She is very good with a Glock!"

NBC's week-ending Tucson feature was not about guns but about wind chimes. Festooned from trees, rustled by the desert wind, Lee Cowan told us that Ben's Bells are Making a Difference by reminding residents of the value of kindness.


BUDGET CUTS? WEVE GOT BUDGET CUTS The Tea Party's drive to reduce the size of government is succeeding in spades. ABC's Barbara Pinto ticked off plans to cut government borrowing by $430bn nationwide: fewer state cellphones in California; no senior year in high school in Texas; less healthcare for poor people in Arizona; laid-off police replaced by Guardian Angels' patrols in New Jersey. The cuts will be even greater later this year when $66bn in federal aid to the states dries up. Illinois is raising taxes to try to close its budget deficit. CBS' Dean Reynolds used statistics to make the hike sound horrendous--66%; in reality that means personal income taxes going up to 5% from 3%. That 5% places Illinois "in the middle of the pack" compared with the other 49 states.


THE YEAR OF REAGAN BEGINS There will be plenty of Reaganomania this year, the centennial of the movie-star president's birth. His son, Ron Reagan, gets a jump on the jubilee with his book My Father at 100. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas publicized Ron's book tour on 20/20, for which she offered a quickie promo on World News. NBC assigned the plug to John Yang. His headline was this line about the third year of Reagan's Presidency: "I was feeling the first shivers of concern that something beyond mellowing was affecting my father." Were these the first symptoms of his Alzheimer's Disease or did he not display them, as his personal physician has attested, until five years after he left office, in 1993?

What does Ron Jr believe? "If my father had been diagnosed while in office he would have stepped down."


THE YEAR OF ST JOHN PAUL BEGINS For those of us unversed in the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, all three newscasts offered a quick primer following the Vatican's certification that it was indeed a miracle that cured Sister Marie Simone Pierre of her Parkinson's Disease. The miracle was attributed to the late pope, John Paul II, who died of Parkinsonism. The fact that the cure happened in answer to the nun's prayers to him proves that he is already in heaven, thus evidence of his sanctity. A first proven miracle means that John Paul can now be beatified. A second, after beatification, will qualify him for canonization.

Is that clear? NBC's Anne Thompson covered the cure but posted no videostream online. CBS' Mark Phillips mentioned the scandalous priestly pedophilia during John Paul's papacy, for balance. ABC's Miguel Marquez was the most ecclesiastically technical, telling us about postulators and devil's advocates and the four required attributes of a physical event for it to qualify as miraculous.

There will be a test this afternoon.


TUNISIA, TWITTER & WIKILEAKS As for that revolution in Tunisia, CBS merely mentioned it in passing. At least NBC and ABC both assigned a reporter to narrate the action on the streets of Tunis, voicing over videotape from their London bureaus. ABC's Lama Hasan followed the twitterfeed as President Zine Ben Ali was forced to flee the nation after police had killed two dozen demonstrators. WikiLeaks.org gets part of the credit for helping the protestors mobilize. It published secret State Department cables that revealed the low esteem in which diplomats held the 23-year dictator "outlining the lavishly corrupt lifestyle of the president and his family, a life of mansions and yacht, while the nation suffers under soaring unemployment and food prices; one leaked cable even described how the president's son-in-law owned a tiger and flew in ice cream from overseas." Meanwhile, NBC's Michelle Kosinski pointed out, under the dictatorship, Tunisia had officially been a "US-friendly Islamic country, with a long history of combating terror, supporting education and women's rights."

This is the first time that a WikiLeaks.org-sourced story has resurfaced on the nightly news agenda since the coverage degenerated in December from a high-minded investigation of the United States' global policy into tabloid speculation about Julian Assange's trashy sex life. This is how Tyndall Report traced that decline at the time.


ON NBC ITS WEATHER, NOT CLIMATE Thursday, ABC's Linsey Davis connected the dots, explaining disparate weather events around the world under the climatic rubric of global warming. NBC zigs where ABC zags, covering weather as weather--rather than as climate. Mark Potter in Miami voices over video of vicious mountain mudslides in the designer suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Ian Williams is there in person to observe the "Queensland spirit" of the inundated householders of Brisbane.


LEFT TURN STORY HITS STATISTICAL SPEED BUMP Jeremy Hubbard's feature on ABC about traffic planning was instructive. By banning left turns at intersections and forcing vehicles to take the long way round via legal U-turns, accidents are prevented, congestion is relieved, and fuel consumption is improved. Hubbard's only problem was when he used UPS statistics to illustrate the fuel savings. UPS stopped making left turns on its delivery routes six years ago--ABC's Brian Rooney covered that story in 2007. Since then, Hubbard told us, the fuel saved has "reduced emissions that are equal to taking 5,300 cars off the road for an entire year." His graphic told a quite different story, claiming 5,300 per year, a sixfold difference.