CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 04, 2006
There was a split opinion on the Story of the Day. CBS and NBC both led with White House strategy sessions about future policy on the Iraq War. ABC also covered President George Bush's meeting with abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, a leading Iraqi Shiite politician, but did not lead with Iraq. The major innovation came from NBC--not from its news but from its commercials, or rather lack of them. NBC Nightly News was presented by a single light-on-ads sponsor and expanded its newshole by four minutes.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 04, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesIraq Study Group may be ignored by PresidentAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSecretary Rumsfeld memo undercut Bush rhetoricDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailCBSDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resignsFormer aide Kenneth Adelman decries his denialDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailABC
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Prescription drug Torcetrapib fails in clinical trialsPfizer's would-be blockbuster heart pill pulledJohn McKenzieNew York
video thumbnailABC
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Public school racial desegregation case at S.CtIntegration schemes challenged as race-basedJan Crawford GreenburgSupreme Court
video thumbnailNBCDomestic terrorism preparedness and preventionFBI accused of lack of Arab-Islamic expertiseLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSNewspaper industry print circulation declinesLocal millionaires bid to buy big city titlesAnthony MasonPhiladelphia
video thumbnailABCWWI: Liberty Memorial opens national museumDisplay recreates horror of trench warfareDean ReynoldsKansas City
video thumbnailNBCUSS Intrepid aircraft carrier is floating NYC museumExhibit recalls service from WWII to VietnamBrian WilliamsNew York
video thumbnailCBSHollywood movie The Nativity Story is Bible-basedReligious themes newly popular post The PassionKatie CouricNew York
 
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: United Nations Ambassador John Bolton resigns…An outbreak of e.coli poisoning linked to Taco Bell fast food…The treatment of Chicago's Jose Padilla while the US military incarcerated him without trial as an enemy combatant.


FEW WORDS FROM SPONSOR There was a split opinion on the Story of the Day. CBS and NBC both led with White House strategy sessions about future policy on the Iraq War. ABC also covered President George Bush's meeting with abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, a leading Iraqi Shiite politician, but did not lead with Iraq. The major innovation came from NBC--not from its news but from its commercials, or rather lack of them. NBC Nightly News was presented by a single light-on-ads sponsor and expanded its newshole by four minutes.

NBC enjoyed a newshole of almost 24 minutes in its expanded format. It filled the time not by filing more stories, but by making the average length of its standard quota of seven packages longer. Lisa Myers filed an Investigation into the lack of expertise in the FBI's counter-terrorism effort, for example, that ran more than four minutes and David Gregory's lead on Iraq policy was more than three minutes long.


WAITING FOR BAKER Nothing new was decided about Iraq--but there was plenty of speculation about what might happen. CBS' Jim Axelrod heard "mounting pressure on the President to change policy." Yet NBC's Andrea Mitchell looked forward to Wednesday's findings of the Iraq Study Group led by former Secretary of State James Baker and was skeptical that Bush, who is "unwilling to shift gears," would accept more than a few ISG recommendations.

NBC's David Gregory noted that a recently-leaked memo suggesting redeployment by departing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was written even as the President was attacking Democrats for proposing the precise same policy. Rumsfeld's former top aide Kenneth Adelman granted an Exclusive to CBS' David Martin about the secretary's missteps. Adelman said the "litany of incompetence" by his friend of 30 years "just breaks your heart."


HEART FAILURE ABC's choice to lead its newscast was the failure of Pfizer's new heart pill Torcetrapib in clinical trials. John McKenzie (subscription required) told us that it was supposed to be the next blockbuster drug, with millions of potential patients. The medicine, which cost $800m to develop, was designed to raise HDL so-called "good cholesterol" but in clinical trials more people who took the pill died than those who did not. The numbers in the trial were small, 82 deaths vs 51, but McKenzie pointed out that, if approved, those excess deaths would be multiplied by millions. "This time, the drug testing process worked."


BROWN REDUX All three networks sent reporters to the Supreme Court to cover the challenge to schemes for integrating public schools. The lawsuit claimed that plans that achieve racial balance by taking race into account are unConstitutional because they do not treat all students equally, regardless of race. ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg (subscription required) heard the "electrifying" arguments and predicted that a majority of the Justices favors a race-blind system of racial desegregation.


INK STAINED The journalism business itself came under scrutiny from CBS' Anthony Mason. As the print circulation of newspapers declines, ownership is changing hands. Already public relations executive Brian Tierney has taken over Philadelphia's two daily titles, and local bigshots are gearing up to buy The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. Mason cited predictions that by 2043 no one would read print editions of newspapers. He cited no predictions about any upside potential online.


ANCHORS AWEIGH A couple of war museums came in for free publicity. ABC's Dean Reynolds toured the newly-opened National WWI Museum at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City: its exhibit makes you "feel the confines of the trenches." Meanwhile NBC's Brian Williams visited the just-closed USS Intrepid museum in New York Harbor. The aircraft carrier was supposed to be towed off to New Jersey for renovation but stuck in 24 years of accumulated mud. The Army Corps of Engineers promised that the ship can now move after dredging round its propellers, much to the anchor's delight: "General, that's terrific."

Given Williams' bitter experience with the Corps' failures in New Orleans, it was surprising that he was so eager to accept the guarantee.


BOX OFFICE The Nativity Story movie won free publicity from CBS' Katie Couric as she sat down with director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Mike Rich. Bible-based epics "dried up for a few decades" after the heyday of Cecil B DeMille, Couric recalled, as she played a punning reference to the parting of the Red Sea. Getting a green light for the nativity tale would have been "a miracle" before Mel Gibson's $1bn smash hit The Passion of the Christ. "Lights, camera, Allelujah!"