CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 30, 2006
The Amman Summit finally took place. President George Bush met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq. The attending network anchors finally snared their photo-ops. For all the fanfare, the talks were brief, the policy changes were minimal and the news was negligible.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 30, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush opposes exit, pullout timetableMartha RaddatzWhite House
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush opposes exit, pullout timetableDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesProspects for al-Maliki's takeover of militaryElizabeth PalmerBaghdad
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesIraq Study Group proposes phased end to combatJonathan KarlPentagon
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesIraq Study Group proposes phased end to combatDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailCBSJordan education: prep school for children of eliteFounded by prep school alumnus King AbdullahMark PhillipsJordan
video thumbnailNBCRussia espionage: former spy poisonedInvestigation spreads to sick ex-PM GaidarDawna FriesenLondon
video thumbnailCBSFast food restaurant industry under fireHigh fat content may make customers addictsTrish ReganWisconsin
video thumbnailNBCWar on Drugs: methamphetamine abuse, addictionIncrease in usage in east coast citiesPete WilliamsWashington DC
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
MENTIONED IN PASSING The network newscasts do not assign correspondents to all of the news of the day. If Tyndall Report readers come across videostreamed reports online of stories that were mentioned only in passing, post the link in comments for us to check out

Today's examples: Pope Benedict XVI prays at an Istanbul mosque…Wal-Mart posts lackluster early Christmas holiday sales…The punchless Atlantic Ocean hurricane season concludes.


SAME OLD AT SUMMIT The Amman Summit finally took place. President George Bush met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq. The attending network anchors finally snared their photo-ops. For all the fanfare, the talks were brief, the policy changes were minimal and the news was negligible.

Once again, the three White House correspondents were assigned the lead-off spot. Each chose Bush's soundbite that he was opposed to a "graceful exit" from Iraq. Presumably it was the "exit" that he was resisting, not the "grace." No one interpreted his speech as preferring a "clumsy exit."

CBS' Jim Axelrod was not impressed with the depth of the diplomacy: the summit "turned out to be a breakfast followed by a 45-minute one-on-one meeting." ABC's Martha Raddatz found that "no bold new ideas were discussed…what the President basically presented was Stay the Course." NBC's David Gregory called the leaders' body language "cool, but they were determined to present a united front."


GIBSON GABFEST What the summit did offer was a chance to contrast the anchors' interviewing skills. ABC's Charles Gibson had a chance to shine in his sit-down with al-Maliki. The prime minister predicted the Pentagon would phase out combat operations and shift to a training role; he told us to expect a handover of military command from US generals to Iraq in June 2007; and he guaranteed that he had enough clout as "supreme commander of the Iraqi forces" to eradicate militias "with no exception".

After the interview, Gibson fact-checked al-Maliki's claims with ABC's Baghdad correspondent Terry McCarthy (no link): disarming the Mahdi Army is a "surprising claim"…a takeover in seven months "way too short"…concerning the forces' loyalty to the central government, sectarian divides in the police "are getting worse not better."

Back in Baghdad itself CBS' Elizabeth Palmer assessed the Iraqi army's ten divisions as riddled with problems: "inadequate training, a high desertion rate, shortages of food, equipment, even wages." And its main missing ingredient is "loyalty to the state" as opposed to tribe or sect.


NO CONDI CONTROVERSY The other two anchors made less news. Both NBC's Brian Williams and CBS' Katie Couric (no link) sat down with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice but Rice stuck to non-newsworthy talking points. The US government supports the al-Maliki regime, she told Couric, and the Prime Minister had not offended the President, she insisted to Williams, when he refused to dine with him at the start of the summit. "How is that not seen as a snub?" "Oh, come now!"


LEAKS FROM BAKER’S GROUP The other major Iraq development was breaking in Washington as the proposals by the Iraq Study Group began to leak out. Its timeline for a transition in the US role "from combat to support" in Iraq, as CBS' David Martin put it, was longer than al-Maliki's--16 months from now not seven months. The ISG is chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and ABC's Jonathan Karl pointed out that the majority of its proposals were diplomatic not military. NBC's Andrea Mitchell noted that the only way the ISG's recommendations could be unanimous was by "watering it down, frankly." The report could give the President "a parachute, a way out--if he is willing to use it."


YANKEE AT COURT Only CBS added regional color to the summit coverage. Mark Phillips filed a feature on a boarding school for the children of the Jordanian elite founded by King Abdullah II himself. His majesty went to school at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and wanted to instill the ethos of the Berkshires at home. Phillips showed us the lookalike campus "in the scrubland of the Jordanian desert," implausibly suggesting that this one prep school could help fill the "crisis" in secular education suffered by the Arab World at large.


SPY STRETCH The polonium poisoning of that former Russian spy in London is too good a story just to die. But the news hook this time--that the mystery illness in Ireland of former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar might also be caused by foul play--may be a stretch. NBC's Dawna Friesen's sources pointed out that Gaidar was no threat to Kremlin authorities. And anyway the Russian secret service may not even be responsible for Alexander Litvinenko's death: "They would have done a much cleaner job."


ADDICTS In the face of all this foreign policy, CBS has doggedly pursued its Overweight in America series. Part four saw Tricia Regan speculate on whether the fast food industry can be sued for turning its customers into food addicts. Rats in a laboratory can get hooked, with similar neurology to morphine, on "high-fat sugary lard." Meanwhile, methamphetamine is growing in appeal, NBC's Pete Williams reported, spreading from the rural midwest to east coast cities: if they can make it in New York City, "they can make it anywhere," he quipped. Speed is the drug of choice among coeds, as young women on campus look for that weight-loss-plus-pep combo.