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When Good Squirrels Go Bad

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Summary: A furry arboreal rodent goes nuts on a mail-carrier. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Ken Rice When It Aired: Nov. 1 Running Time: 26 seconds Visuals: A stock photo of a berserko-looking squirrel with the caption, "Squirrel Attack." Highlights: * When Rice announces, "Well, maybe mail-carriers should be less concerned with hostile hounds and more concerned with savage squirrels. ... The Post-Gazette reports a squirrel attacked and bit a letter-carrier in Oil City on Monday. ... [The female carrier] says the squirrel ran up her leg and onto her back, She says she wrestled with it, and eventually pried it off of her. [She] had enough cuts and scratches to warrant a trip to the hospital." * When Rice finishes, "The squirrel was [brief dramatic pause] put down -- and is being tested now for rabies." What We Learned: Add "savage squirrels" to the list of things you need to worry about. Unanswered Question: Why wouldn't the squirrel letter go? News Value: 1. Said Steve Jolley, a Postal Service manager in Oil City, in an Associated Press article, "We are not issuing a squirrel alert, but everyone is aware of the incident." I'll say.


The Ballot of Tim Murphy

Summary: Did Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Mount Lebanon) use his congressional office staff to do political work on government time? Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Andy Sheehan When It Aired: Nov. 1 Running Time: 1 minute, 25 seconds Visuals: * Outside Tim Murphy's congressional office in Mount Lebanon. * Murphy and Sheehan standing in a driveway, shuffling through papers that purportedly show improprieties in Murphy's office. Highlights: * When anchor Kristine Sorensen says, "Congressman Murphy blames Democratic politics. But as [Sheehan] reports, the allegations are coming from Murphy's own employees, past and present." * When Sheehan states, "Murphy staffer Jayne O'Shaughnessy says the congressman routinely leaned on employees to do campaign work. * When O'Shaughnessy says, "There ... were several times when staff were asked and basically pressured into doing campaign-related activities." * When Sheehan elaborates, "Including door-to-door canvassing for the congressman's re-election. But confronted with evidence ... Murphy snatched it away." * When Sheehan shows Murphy the documents and Murphy immediately pulls them close to his chest and says, "This is my personal material and I don't know how you got this, but it's my personal material, I'm takin' it back." * When Sheehan explains, "But other papers show the district office workers did, in fact, go door-to-door, apparently asking voters whether they would vote for Murphy's re-election." * When Murphy responds, "Well, that's not an office policy. ... Their job was to say, 'Do people have any constituent concerns at all?'" * When Sheehan asks, "But all these seem to say: 'Would you vote for Tim, would you not vote for Tim?'" * When Murphy retorts, "Well, that's not what they're supposed to be doin'." * When Sheehan asks, "So the problem is with your staff?" * When Murphy concedes, "Well, apparently there's a lot of communication problems there." What We Learned: Maybe Murphy suffered more damage to his brain in that convoy crash in Iraq than previously believed. Unanswered Question: Doesn't it make you wonder what other problems Murphy has that we may be paying for? News Value: 10. Bravo, Andy Sheehan.


Fighting Aging

Summary: "A hot new procedure to take the years off!" Station: WTAE Channel 4

Reporter: Marilyn Brooks When It Aired: Nov. 3 Running Time: 2 minutes, 24 seconds Visuals: Footage of the procedure, which features a woman with a lot of goo on her face. Highlights: * When anchor Wendy Bell exalts, "[Y]ou might consider this breaking news. Youth: You know, we're all obsessed with it, it seems. And many of us will go to almost any length to lift sagging skin." * When Brooks says more people are opting for non-invasive, nonsurgical procedures, like the woman she profiles: "At 49 [this woman] wants to write romance novels just to add a little youthful excitement to her life." * When the aspiring novelist posits, "It isn't that I want to be younger, but I want to look good for the age that I am." * When Brooks explains the procedure: "Infrared light heats deep layers below the skin. Quick-heated zaps are said to repair and stimulate collagen fibers stretched and loosened by aging and sun damage." * When Brooks warns, "The effects are not permanent ... there are potential risks ... " * When Brooks wraps up the segment by asking, "Is it worth it?" and shrugs, "Hmm." What We Learned: Yet another way to profit from your insecurities! Unanswered Question: What are people going to say at your funeral? "Wow, she looks great for 92!"? News Value: 1. I'm not impressed. Brooks doesn't seem to be, either.

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