CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 20, 2006
There were two new developments in the Iraq story: diplomatic and military. ABC led with Jonathan Karl's coverage of Teheran's proposal for a tripartite Iran-Iraq-Syria summit. NBC led with Jim Miklaszewski's outline of the Pentagon's trio of military options: Go Big, Go Long, Go Home. CBS covered both angles, but led with neither, choosing Mark Strassmann on a school bus crash in Alabama instead.     
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 20, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPentagon assesses trio of military optionsDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPentagon assesses trio of military optionsJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesIran proposes regional diplomacy with SyriaJonathan KarlPentagon
video thumbnailABCOJ Simpson murder trial aftermathNews Corp cancels If I Did It book, TV specialDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailNBCRussia espionage: former spy may be poisonedPublished book critical of Vladimir PutinKeith MillerLondon
video thumbnailNBCPRC-US espionage: Beijing targets military secretsSpies seek hi-tech trade for missiles, jetsLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSSchool bus crashes off Ala overpass: three deadCut off by fellow student of passengersMark StrassmannAlabama
video thumbnailABCHigh school dropout prevention effortsTeens at risk are often pregnant, poor, truantPierre ThomasGeorgia
video thumbnailCBSKidney transplant coverageSurgeons coordinate five donors, five patientsSharyn AlfonsiBaltimore
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
TRIPLE PLAYS There were two new developments in the Iraq story: diplomatic and military. ABC led with Jonathan Karl's coverage of Teheran's proposal for a tripartite Iran-Iraq-Syria summit. NBC led with Jim Miklaszewski's outline of the Pentagon's trio of military options: Go Big, Go Long, Go Home. CBS covered both angles, but led with neither, choosing Mark Strassmann on a school bus crash in Alabama instead.

CBS' David Martin was not convinced by Pentagon planning: he reckoned Go Big (massive reinforcements) and Go Home (quick withdrawal) were suggested as "straw men" rather than feasible options. That leaves Go Long, which as NBC's Miklaszewski previewed, may mean deployment of 60,000 troops in Iraq for five to ten years.

As for the diplomacy, ABC's Karl reported on the State Department perspective: the US accuses Iran and Syria of "being the problem not the solution." NBC's Richard Engel (at the end of the Miklaszewski package) took the regional angle: "The US has backed away, is not really engaged." And CBS' Katie Couric interviewed The New York Times' columnist Tom Friedman about the overview: "Iraq is so broken, it cannot even have a proper civil war."


IN HENHOUSE All three networks reported on the ax for If I Did It. News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch pulled OJ Simpson's book from his publishing subsidiary Harper Collins and his TV special from his broadcasting subsidiary FOX-TV. The networks enjoyed dissension in Rupert's ranks. ABC's David Muir told us "the face of FOX railed against it," quoting FNC's Bill O'Reilly: "It is Money!" And CBS' Sandra Hughes used this statement from FNC's longtime OJ-watcher Geraldo Rivera: "I will bash this project every opportunity I have to bash this project." At NBC, George Lewis saw "a rarity in the media business these days--a victory for good taste over crass commercialism."


THEY SPY NBC ran a couple of spy stories: Keith Miller (along with Jim Sciutto, subscription required, at ABC) covered the plight of KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko. He is in a London hospital, believed poisoned at a sushi restaurant. Litvinenko is the author of Blowing Up Russia, which alleges that President Vladimir Putin framed Chechen separatists for terrorist explosions in Moscow that helped the law-and-order Putin get elected. Litvinenko was also on the trail of the assassins of Moscow investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

Then NBC's Lisa Myers told us about 400 separate suspected schemes to funnel hi-tech secrets to China. Some of it is official spying by the People's Republic to build military missiles and jets. Some is by freelancers looking for microchips.


SCHOOL’S OUT CBS' lead on that Alabama school bus crash that killed three teenagers was followed by a general report by Lee Cowan on the seatbelts in buses: only five states require them and their expense may not be warranted, since padded seats help protect passengers in crashes. ABC started a series Silent Epidemic on the plight of teenagers who drop out of high school. They end up poorly paid or incarcerated: key risk factors are pregnancy, poverty, truancy and failing grades, Pierre Thomas listed, although he did not explain whether these were causes of dropping out or symptoms of the already dropout-prone.


PASS PLAY A coordinated swap of kidneys for transplant from five donors to five unrelated patients at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore inspired the same autumnal metaphor. ABC's John MacKenzie saw "something out of an NFL playbook" diagramming the X's and O's. CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi called the head surgeon "John Madden on Game Day." But then Alfonsi got the metaphor mixed: "a surgical square dance," she called it, in "quick tempo."


MISCUES CBS had a horrible evening, at least in the 6:30pm feed that is seen in New York City. The image broke up in Elizabeth Palmer's piece on Iranian diplomacy. The sound was missing in Kelly Cobiella's Giving Back feature on Thanksgiving charity. At least they can be seen online.

Unfortunately that left Couric with nothing to say for the final three minutes of the newscast. And it made her decision to turn a clip from her network's Late Night into something newsworthy more egregious in a truncated newscast than it otherwise would have been. David Letterman's guest Jerry Seinfeld introduced an apology by his former sitcom colleague Michael Richards for his racist rant during a stand-up comedy routine. "I am not a racist--that is what is so insane about this," Richards declared, despite the evidence to the contrary.