CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 05, 2013
If the shooting of TSA screeners at Los Angeles International Airport had not made headlines last Friday, a minor yet similar incident in a shopping mall in Paramus would not have attracted national attention. Richard Shoop, a 20-year-old paranoid heroin user, according to ABC's Gio Benitez, committed suicide in the mall after firing six shots over the head of shoppers. No harm befell anyone except the young man himself. Yet the evacuation of the mall, and its six-hour lockdown by a 500-strong police SWAT team, was selected as the lead by both ABC and CBS, making it the Story of the Day. Since when do hundreds of paramilitary-style cops attend the suicide of a solitary junkie? The nightly newscasts disqualified themselves from asking: they could hardly investigate a massive police over-reaction when they had completely overreacted too. NBC led with the off-year elections.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 05, 2013: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABC2013 off-year elections overviewGovernors' races in NJ, Va are 2016 precursorsJeff ZelenyVirginia
video thumbnailNBC2013 Virginia Governor raceState is microcosm, debate on national issuesChuck ToddVirginia
video thumbnailCBSLos Angeles Airport terminal shooting spreePolice investigate gunman's radical politicsBen TracyLos Angeles
video thumbnailABCShopping mall security precautionsNJ gunman fires, police react, ends in suicideGio BenitezNew Jersey
video thumbnailNBCShopping mall security precautionsSuicidal gunman in NJ prompts mass evacuationRon AllenNew Jersey
video thumbnailNBCCanada politics: Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto under fireAdmits smoking crack cocaine, refuses to resignStephanie GoskNew York
video thumbnailCBSPharmaceuticals production safety problemsGeneric manufacturer in India falsified FDA dataJohn MillerWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCSyria refugees flee abroad to overcrowded campsChildren at risk of polio, given shots at borderNancy SnydermanLebanon
video thumbnailABCInternet child pornography and pedophiliaDutch activists post virtual Asian girl as lureCecilia VegaLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSFine art looted by Nazis found in Munich apartmentUnknown canvasses by Matisse, Chagall, DixElizabeth PalmerLondon
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
OVER-REACTION IN PARAMUS If the shooting of TSA screeners at Los Angeles International Airport had not made headlines last Friday, a minor yet similar incident in a shopping mall in Paramus would not have attracted national attention. Richard Shoop, a 20-year-old paranoid heroin user, according to ABC's Gio Benitez, committed suicide in the mall after firing six shots over the head of shoppers. No harm befell anyone except the young man himself. Yet the evacuation of the mall, and its six-hour lockdown by a 500-strong police SWAT team, was selected as the lead by both ABC and CBS, making it the Story of the Day. Since when do hundreds of paramilitary-style cops attend the suicide of a solitary junkie? The nightly newscasts disqualified themselves from asking: they could hardly investigate a massive police over-reaction when they had completely overreacted too. NBC led with the off-year elections.

ABC tried hardest to justify its Paramus coverage. Anchor Diane Sawyer characterized the six shots fired in the air as a "rampage." Gio Benitez reported that the suicidal Shoop looked like "a figure right out of the movies" and depicted his gunshots with a Virtual View computer animation. Alex Perez followed up with tips for shoppers if they should find themselves in a mall with a gunman. Run. Hide. Fight. was his slogan, repeating the advice that his colleague Pierre Thomas gave us in September by way of a municipal video produced by the City of Houston.

CBS' Elaine Quijano selected Shoop as her angle. NBC's Ron Allen focused on the evacuation of the 300-store mall. CBS was the only network to follow up on Friday's LAX shooting. Ben Tracy told us that a search warrant examines the political beliefs of accused shooter Paul Ciancia. Tracy outlined the century-old New World Order conspiracy theory to which the suspect may have subscribed. Just as ABC's David Wright did on Monday, Tracy included a soundbite of radical right-wing talkshow host Alex Jones -- but curiously Tracy decided not to identify him. Why ever not?

As for the off-year elections, ABC did not mention them at all on Monday and CBS ignored them completely now. ABC anchor Diane Sawyer confused everyone by narrating a round-up of various races and ballot initiatives under the graphic 2014. She had Jeff Zeleny characterize the gubernatorial races in New Jersey (Chris Christie) and Virginia (Hillary Rodham Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe) as precursors to Campaign 2016. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, reporting from New Jersey, also chose the 2016 angle. From Virginia, which CBS' Chip Reid covered Monday, NBC's Chuck Todd disagreed, interpreting the race as a statewide referendum on contemporary national issues instead: the Republican government shutdown vs the Democratic healthcare reform.


TUESDAY’S TIDBITS There was an unusual volume of international reporting on the networks' agenda: Canada… Lebanon and Jordan…India…The Netherlands…Germany…The Bahamas…England.


CANADA All three newscasts assigned a New York City based reporter to narrate video of the press conference by Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto in which he explained that it was probably during a drunken stupor that he had smoked crack cocaine. ABC's Linsey Davis offered a hat-tip to Gawker for drunk-mayor video; NBC's Stephanie Gosk credited the Toronto Star and threw in archival video of the Washington DC cocaine sting of Mayor Marion Barry for good measure. CBS' Don Dahler had the choicest soundbite from the presser: "I want to be crystal clear…" Mayor Ford insisted, implying that he was switching his narcotic of choice.

Also narrating north-of-the-border video was ABC's DC-based David Kerley, with footage of a fire emergency at Montreal Airport. By the way, NBC's Tom Costello filed an airline safety story too, a domestic one. He traveled to Orlando to give free publicity to jetBlue's high-fidelity flight simulator.


LEBANON AND JORDAN NBC's in-house physician Nancy Snyderman followed up on last Wednesday's report by her colleague Richard Engel on the polio outbreak in the rebel-occupied Dier ez-Zur region of Syria, near the River Euphrates. Dr Nancy checked out Unicef clinics at border crossings in Lebanon and Jordan, where refugee children are given polio vaccine before being granted entry.


INDIA Also on the pharma beat, but in a negative way, was CBS' John Miller. He covered the Japanese-owned, India-based, Ranbaxy Laboratories, which is licensed by the Food & Drug Administration to produce generic Lipitor. Miller found Dinesh Thakur, a whistleblower, who stands to make $49m for exposing fraud in efficacy and safety testing in 15 of Ranbaxy's FDA applications to produce generic drugs.


THE NETHERLANDS A Dutch group called Terre des Hommes has created Sweetie, an online avatar of a 10-year-old girl from The Philippines, who offers cybersex in replacement for the real life child prostitutes who enact the fantasies of pedophiles before webcams. So far Sweetie has attracted 1,000 visitors -- ABC's Cecilia Vega calls them "predators." You would think it was good news that these men are masturbating before a virtual avatar rather than a real girl. Terre des Hommes does not think so: it wants its Website's visitors arrested.


GERMANY CBS' Elizabeth Palmer offered the first glimpses -- in the form of murky, washed-out, photographic slides -- of the hundreds of looted masterpieces found in Cornelius Gurlitt's apartment in Munich. We saw mere snatches of works by Matisse, Chagall, Dix, stolen by Nazi art collectors.


THE BAHAMAS You know that thing where TV news reporters cross the line from being journalists, reporting on a story, to stars in their own reality TV show? In just the last week we have had: ABC's David Muir the aerialist acrobat…CBS' Scott Pelley the racecar driver…NBC's Stephanie Gosk the dutiful daughter…ABC's Byron Pitts the firefighter. Here comes ABC's Matt Gutman the scuba diver, swimming with tiger sharks.


ENGLAND This is a category of TV news story -- underlying events that, in themselves are not newsworthy, yet which happened to take place while a video camera was rolling. The fact that the events are recorded on video is the news. On NBC, Anne Thompson is narrating a two-part Exclusive here and here (exclusive because NBC paid for the rights, not because of any scoop journalism) from the skies above Wisconsin, where skydivers were wearing helmetcams when two planes collided. The English version of the same phenomenon is narrated by ABC's Lama Hasan: Barnaby Young was wearing a helmetcam when his friend Mark Hardingham found his kayak lodged in a waterfall. We watch Hardingham's rescue, after which he lamely says: I hope my wife does not find out." Here's a tip, Mark: if you do not want her to find out, do not let ABC have the video. Hasan's video offers a quick thrill; for a kayaking story that will stay with you, check out David Martin on CBS from Great Falls on the Potomac last month.


OH, THERE WAS ANOTHER PAIR OF DOMESTIC STORIES You know those hormonal supplement ads for babyboomer men that show up all the time on the nightly newscasts? It is the target demographic after all. The right thing to do when negative research is published about side-effects is to report it thoroughly. CBS did the right thing, assigning in-house physician Jon LaPook to cover the risks to heart health from taking testosterone supplements like AndroGel. NBC and ABC get a black eye for keeping quiet, especially ABC's Neal Karlinsky, who gave us the buff babyboomer with the six-pack ads twice previously, both last June and 14 months ago.

And CBS' Mark Strassmann followed up on the Miami Dolphins lockerroom story that he and ABC's Matt Gutman covered Monday. The NFL prohibits harassment, intimidation and discrimination by its players, hence the $235K-per-game suspension of lineman Richie Incognito. Hazing of rookies, forcing them to throw $15K parties for senior players? That's kosher.