CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 06, 2013
Add together the various strands from New York City and New Jersey and Virginia and elsewhere and the off-year elections were the Story of the Day. CBS led with its political director John Dickerson and his study of the exit polls. Unaggregated, the individual story that received most attention was not electoral but athletic: all three newscasts covered the investigation into the toxic atmosphere inside the Miami Dolphins' lockerroom and ABC picked it as its lead. NBC decided to kick off from the Supreme Court with a First Amendment case that neither of the other two newscasts deemed worthy of even a mention: Pete Williams brought us an atheist and a Jewess from the upstate village of Greece NY who object to the invocation of town board meetings with a Christian clergyman's prayer.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 06, 2013: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBC2013 New Jersey Governor raceIncumbent Chris Christie wins by landslideKelly O'DonnellNew Jersey
video thumbnailNBCHealthcare reform: universal and managed careSecy Sebelius on federal Website, canceled plansPeter AlexanderWhite House
video thumbnailCBSHealthcare reform: universal and managed careExamples of winner and loser from new plansWyatt AndrewsWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSPharmaceuticals production safety problemsSuspicious FDA data from India's Ranbaxy LabsJohn MillerWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCPalestine politics: Yasser Arafat death investigatedExhumed: autopsy finds polonium radiation poisonAyman MohyeldinNew York
video thumbnailCBSGlobal warming greenhouse effect climate changeCarbon dioxide accounts for 80% of new heatJohn BlackstoneSan Francisco
video thumbnailCBSChina suffers pollution from industrializationBurns half world's coal, creates health hazardSeth DoaneBeijing
video thumbnailCBSPenobscot River ecosystem conservation in MaineDams removed, industry reduced, salmon returnChip ReidMaine
video thumbnailNBCReligious prayers introduce government meetingsSupreme Court hears protest from NYS townshipPete WilliamsSupreme Court
video thumbnailABCNFL lockerroom bullying: Miami Dolphins caseCoaches may have sicced one lineman on the otherSteve OsunsamiNo Dateline
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
CHRIS CHRISTIE IN THE SPOTLIGHT Add together the various strands from New York City and New Jersey and Virginia and elsewhere and the off-year elections were the Story of the Day. CBS led with its political director John Dickerson and his study of the exit polls. Unaggregated, the individual story that received most attention was not electoral but athletic: all three newscasts covered the investigation into the toxic atmosphere inside the Miami Dolphins' lockerroom and ABC picked it as its lead. NBC decided to kick off from the Supreme Court with a First Amendment case that neither of the other two newscasts deemed worthy of even a mention: Pete Williams brought us an atheist and a Jewess from the upstate village of Greece NY who object to the invocation of town board meetings with a Christian clergyman's prayer.

Governor Chris Christie, the incumbent Republican who was re-elected in a landslide in New Jersey, has apparently mastered the trick of getting himself covered on the national newscasts. He ostentatiously called on an out-of-town reporter to ask the first question at his news conference, NBC's Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell. Lo and behold! O'Donnell included her questions and Christie's answers in her package.

Besides Dickerson, CBS' in-house expert, ABC also called on homegrown expertise, This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos touted Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign ad in New York City as the most effective he had ever seen and promised to show it -- but embarrassingly failed to deliver. NBC had Kate Snow with its election night round-up and had O'Donnell include MSNBC's in-house analyst Steve Schmidt for a soundbite -- but failed to identify him as such.

No, NBC News, you should not do that. If you are using a soundbite from an expert on your payroll you must identify him as such: Steve Schmidt here, Harold Ford here, Mark Halperin here.


SEMI-TOUGH The latest development in the NFL lockerroom feud was a report that Miami Dolphins coaches instructed Richie Incognito, the veteran offensive lineman, to harass Jonathan Martin, the rookie, in order to toughen him up. NBC's Kerry Sanders offered a credit to the sports pages of Sun Sentinel for that reporting; ABC's Steve Osunsami and CBS' Mark Strassmann left it unattributed. Osunsami included video from the paparazzi site TMZ.com of an enraged, shirtless Incognito acting out in a Miami sports bar.

Each of the network news divisions had colleagues in their sports divisions to consult: NBC Sports' Ross Tucker opined to Sanders that Martin would likely never play in the league again now he has publicized his complaints; ESPN Analyst Herman Edwards told ABC's Osunsami that it was the coach's job to "toughen up" rookies, not that of players; ESPN Senior Analyst Chris Mortensen told ABC anchor Diane Sawyer (at the tail of the Osunsami videostream) that hazing of rookies is routine -- even dousing them with ice or taping them to goalposts -- but bullying? "I don't know." Is Mortensen serious?


OBAMACARE DIVIDES THE NETWORKS Since the beginning of October, when the federal government's flawed healthcare exchange Website was bunglingly launched, ABC has taken a radically different approach to the story than the other two newscasts. ABC (20 min v CBS 73, NBC 44) just does not consider the healthcare story to be a big deal. Again, NBC's White House correspondent Peter Alexander reported on Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she testified before a Senate committee and CBS' Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes covered the negotiations between Democratic senators and the White House. CBS' Wyatt Andrews brought us a pair of Virginia women who had their Anthem Health policies canceled, one happy with her new coverage, one upset. ABC did not mention healthcare reform, even in passing.


OTHER HEALTH NEWS Instead of covering Obamacare, ABC's in-house physician Richard Besser brought us the latest research from Emory University. Eye-scanning tests of 36 infants indicate diagnosis of autism may be possible in the first two months of life. ABC covers autism as heavily as the other two newscasts combined: this is Dr Rich's sixth autism story since March 2012.

On CBS, John Miller filed the second part of his expose of Ranbaxy Laboratories, the Japanese-owned generic pharmaceutical manufacturer based in India. On Tuesday he profiled whistleblowing executive Dinesh Thakur. Now he introduces us to Dr Kathy Spreen, who suspected that Ranbaxy's research data were fabricated because they were just too perfect.


CBS GOES GREEN So far this year, CBS has covered global warming more than both of the other two newscasts put together. This time, CBS had a veritable green-rush. John Blackstone brought us the latest data on rising concentrations of carbon dioxide; Seth Doane showed us the choking coal pollution in northern China; and Chip Reid traveled to the scenic Penobscot River in Maine, where dams have been demolished and salmon are expected to run free once more.


HIT TIP TO AL-JAZEERA, NOT TO WYOMING NEWSPAPER NBC was the only newscast to cover the discovery by investigative reporters at al-Jazeera that Yasser Arafat had most likely been assassinated using the radioactive poison Polonium-210. The import of Ayman Mohyeldin's report was undercut by the pandering clip that he used from 2004 to demonstrate that Arafat's death was a world-historical event. He did not really have to authenticate it by reminding us that Brian Williams had been on the scene in Ramallah to cover it before he acceded to the anchor chair.

When Todd Barnett, a Wyoming rancher, found out from his local newspaper that Mark and Kris Wathke had gone missing for six days in their car along the Beartooth Highway, he set off by snowmobile and found them within an hour. ABC's Alex Perez did not only fail to mention the name of the newspaper: he had the gall to credit Facebook with delivering the alert, since Barnett read the newspaper article through a social media posting.


JAILED FOR LISTENING TO A HYMN In other Wyoming news, ABC's David Wright brought us the tale of Hope Jackson, of Converse County, who was jailed for listening to a hymn.

It turns out that the trailer-dwelling Jackson is mentally ill, suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome. She fabricates stories of children afflicted with cancer and contacts celebrities to elicit their sympathy. Country singer Brad Paisley responded, including a hymn-singing session over the phone. Jackson never asked for any money and never received any -- just a rendition of Amazing Grace. Yet she was jailed anyway, since Paisley claimed that listening qualified as a $5K "theft of services."

Most amazing of all, after ABC's Wright spent an entire year investigating the case, producing a Nightline documentary entitled C@tfishing the Stars, his sympathy did not go to the incarcerated mentally-ill woman but to the graceless complaining celebrity and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley.


ANNALS OF NON-JOURNALISM It turns out that NBC's in-house physician Nancy Snyderman adopted the daughter of a teenager when she was working as a surgeon in Little Rock 27 years ago. The birth mother and the daughter had never met -- until now. Dr Nancy and her production team were on hand to act, as it were, as the mawkish midwives to the renewed relationship. Kate meet Cheryl. Cringe-inducing hugs all round. Such self-indulgent emotional exhibitionism cannot be categorized as news by any stretch of the imagination.

ABC's Making Babies series, having covered egg-selling twentysomethings with Cynthia McFadden on Monday, turned to sperm donation with Ron Claiborne. He introduced us to Todd Whitehurst, a serial ejaculator with multiple offspring, one of whom, Virginia, he meets for the first time. And he gave a plug to Debora Spar, author of The Baby Business, who finds such unregulated mass progeny unacceptable.

Claiborne introduced his journalism with fiction, using a clip from Hollywood's imaginary Delivery Man. Maybe he was inspired by his colleague David Wright last week, who used a movie clip from The Amityville Horror to illustrate his story about houses that are hard for realtors to sell. Or maybe Claiborne was inspired by his colleague Brian Ross, who illustrated his coverage last Friday of the drone assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud with a clip from the movie Zero Dark Thirty. Using movie clips to substitute for actuality footage is not journalism.

Furthermore, Claiborne called Todd's relationship with Virginia a version of the Modern American Family just as, earlier in the newscast, his anchor Diane Sawyer had referred to Mayor de Blasio as having a Modern American Family in her chat with George Stephanopoulos. This is not journalism about demographic trends. It is just shameless cross-promotion for ABC's primetime sitcom line-up.