CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 21, 2006
Syria set the day's headlines--even though none of the networks reported from Damascus. In Lebanon, Minister Pierre Gemayel was assassinated. ABC's David Wright (subscription required) characterized the US as "all-but accusing Syria" and NBC's Richard Engel predicted a likely "destabilizing effect throughout the Middle East." Meanwhile Syria restored diplomatic relations with Iraq setting the scene for regional diplomacy.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 21, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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Lebanon politics: anti-Syria minister assassinatedGovernment in danger of collapseDavid WrightLondon
video thumbnailNBCLebanon politics: anti-Syria minister assassinatedGovernment in danger of collapseRichard EngelConnecticut
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUS military overstretched, needs regional helpElizabeth PalmerBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUSArmy military trainers are poorly trainedDavid MartinPentagon
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Auto safety: models ranked by insurance industryDetroit's Big Three, Toyota excluded from bestLisa StarkWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCHollywood director Robert Altman dies, aged 81ObituaryBrian WilliamsNew York
video thumbnailCBSCBS News' Ed Bradley dies, aged 65Musical memorial tribute at NYC churchByron PittsNew York
video thumbnailABCHigh school dropout prevention effortsProgram supports closer teacher-student tiesPierre ThomasWashington State
video thumbnailNBCMoslems targeted for discriminationPreachers barred from airline flight for prayingPete WilliamsWashington DC
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
ROAD TO DAMASCUS Syria set the day's headlines--even though none of the networks reported from Damascus. In Lebanon, Minister Pierre Gemayel was assassinated. ABC's David Wright (subscription required) characterized the US as "all-but accusing Syria" and NBC's Richard Engel predicted a likely "destabilizing effect throughout the Middle East." Meanwhile Syria restored diplomatic relations with Iraq setting the scene for regional diplomacy.

From Baghdad, CBS' Elizabeth Palmer said that diplomatic overtures are being "eagerly embraced." NBC's Andrea Mitchell outlined what the US would have to offer in regional talks over peace in Iraq. Iran wants nuclear weapons, regional dominance and security for the regime. Syria wants influence over Lebanon, the return of the Golan Heights and immunity from prosecution for Lebanese assassinations. Mused Mitchell: diplomacy would be "very hard for this administration to accept." ABC's Jonathan Karl (no link) predicted it would never happen: there was "little appetite" for talks with Syria in the administration before today's assassination, "even less now."


TRAIN THYSELF Only NBC actually led with Lebanon. CBS's David Martin had a different regional angle: the military trainer-advisors the USArmy is deploying to train the new Iraqi army are being poorly trained themselves. Only 5,000 trainers are on the ground in Iraq and an officer reported to the Pentagon that their training a "phenomenal waste of time" and "nearly irrelevant."

ABC led with domestic news. Lisa Stark (subscription required) reported that none of Detroit's Big Three automobile brands is represented in the Insurance Institute's annual list of the safest car models, neither is Toyota. The key ingredient, Stark explained, is electronic stability control for steering. For a sedan, pick Audi, Saab, Subaru instead.


PAINLESS Movie director Robert Altman died, aged 81. On ABC and NBC the obituary was handled by the anchor. NBC's Brian Williams ventured that Nashville may have been his masterpiece. Agreed. ABC's Charles Gibson (no link) suggested that Popeye was below par. Disagreed.

Musical greats assembled on New York City's Upper West Side to pay tribute to the late Ed Bradley of CBS News' 60 Minutes. CBS' Byron Pitts narrated "a whisper of gospel, a jolt of jazz, teardrops of emotion." NBC's Brian Williams (no link), who covered Hurricane Katrina so heavily, explained the New-Orleans-style waving handkerchiefs that ended the service. The "second-line tradition" waves the departed spirit out of the church and on up to the heavens.


ALWAYS WITH US As Thanksgiving looms, charity work for the poor was celebrated. In Austin Tex, middle class matrons form Giving Circles, philanthropies where projects are controled by donors. Each lady gives $1,000 until there are 100 in the circle. The resulting $100,000 in Kelly Cobiella's example for the Giving Back series was spent on job training for teenage single mothers.

In high schools in Washington State, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has set up a dropout prevention program that encourages closer ties between teacher and student. In ABC's Silent Epidemic series, Pierre Thomas detailed the problems poor students face that prevent feasible schooling: too much responsibility at home, too little to eat, depression.


TO GODíS EARS "I pray a lot." That was how NBC's Tom Costello quoted an airline passenger who checks her luggage in a news-you-can-use Thanksgiving travel feature about how to avoid lost, delayed, damaged and pilfered suitcases.

NBC was completely deadpan about the irony. Earlier in the newscast, Pete Williams had told us about a group of Moslem preachers who were thrown off a USAirways flight in handcuffs. Why? Because other passengers were nervous when they said their prayers!

Williams' report was unusual. Instead of collecting normal vox-pop talking-head soundbites on the pros and cons of such apparent anti-Moslem bias, Williams quoted from e-mail comments on the issue at NBC's Daily Nightly blog.

This innovation is no improvement. Personal reactions have more impact when they come from the speaker's mouth. Television has the advantage of offering facial expressions, tone of voice and visual demographic information about the speaker. All that is lost by reading e-mails.