Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If A Two-Year-Old Falls Into The East River, Did California Still Have An Earthquake?

Why didn't Natalie Morales (who anchored Sunday's Nightly News) mention the 7.2 earthquake that hit Southern California and Northwestern Mexico? The quake hit just after 3:30 PM Pacific time (6:30 PM Eastern), so there would have been plenty of time to get the story on the air. This seems like a fairly important piece of news. New York's local WCBS newscast ran the story before leaving the air at 7:00 PM, so why didn't Nightly News run it? Maybe the producers just weren't aware of the earthquake. They may have been too busy getting their Starbucks order together or planning where to go for drinks that evening. Or perhaps they just weren't paying attention to the incoming news feed. Another possibility is that the producers were aware of the quake, but chose not to air it because the prepared story about the two-year-old girl who fell into the East River was much more important. So what's their excuse? I believe the Nightly News producers owe the viewers an explanation as to why they didn't run the earthquake story on Sunday's broadcast.

Meanwhile, since Sunday's Nightly News was only twelve minutes long (because NBC's golf coverage ran over), you'd think that the broadcast wouldn't contain any errors, right? Wrong. (Actually, it was only a 9-minute broadcast because NBC still managed to cram in 3 minutes of commercials despite the late start.) The story about where the Obama family attended Easter services featured some comments from a member of the church visited by the First Family. The man was identified as "Elmer Douglass Eliss" who was described onscreen as a "parishoner". There is a prominent Washington attorney named Elmer Douglass Ellis. Perhaps that's what the producers meant to write in their graphic. (And by the way, the word is spelled "parishioner".) Moments later, in a clip from "Meet the Press", a Nightly News graphic identified Christina Romer as the "White House Council of Economic Advisors Chair". However, the "Meet the Press" graphic had identified her as the "Chair, White House Council of Economic Advisers". So which is she--an advisor or an adviser? At least Ms. Romer was identified. A subsequent clip of Larry Summers on CNN's "State of the Union" didn't even bother to identify him. Oh well, he's only the chairman of the National Economic Council. Not really that important. Fortunately, the Nightly News producers didn't make any mistakes in their story about the two-year-old who fell into the East River. And that's what really matters.

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