CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 07, 2006
Day two of the coverage of the Iraq Study Group proposals saw stark contrasts. All three networks led with President George Bush's White House press conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Bush said that the ISG chairmen do not expect him to "accept every recommendation." All three Pentagon correspondents followed with James Baker's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The ISG co-chairman does, too, expect his proposals to be implemented in their entirety: "I hope we do not treat this like a fruit salad--I like this and I do not like that."    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 07, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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Iraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush reacts to Iraq Study GroupMartha RaddatzWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush reacts to Iraq Study GroupJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate hearings on Iraq Study Group proposalsDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesMilitary shift from combat to training analyzedJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesEmbedded military trainers find slow progressJane ArrafBaghdad
video thumbnailABCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingOpinion poll survey finds declining optimismJim SciuttoKabul
video thumbnailCBSSurgery quality, cost comparisons available onlinePatients can shop for lowest fees, best careWyatt AndrewsVirginia
video thumbnailNBCAutism coverageFederal research budget of $945m approvedNancy SnydermanNew York
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WWII: Pearl Harbor attack 65th anniversaryWreck of USS Arizona corrodes in salt waterNed PotterNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
IRAQ STUDY GROUP FALLOUT Day two of the coverage of the Iraq Study Group proposals saw stark contrasts. All three networks led with President George Bush's White House press conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Bush said that the ISG chairmen do not expect him to "accept every recommendation." All three Pentagon correspondents followed with James Baker's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The ISG co-chairman does, too, expect his proposals to be implemented in their entirety: "I hope we do not treat this like a fruit salad--I like this and I do not like that."

In how many ways was Bush underwhelmed by the ISG proposals? He "did seek to dispute its analysis, taking pains to temper his comments," ABC's Martha Raddatz (subscription required) observed. NBC's David Gregory pointed out that he "refused to acknowledge the blunt assessment" of the ISG that "US strategy in Iraq has failed." CBS' Jim Axelrod repeated the ISG phrase "grave--and deteriorating" and contrasted it with Bush's description--"unsettling"--of the sectarian violence.

The correspondents tipped their hat to the questioning skills of the BBC's Nick Robertson Robinson about that "unsettling" choice of words. "It will convince many people that you are still in denial about how bad things are in Iraq and question your sincerity about changing course." "It is bad in Iraq," Bush chuckled. "Does that help?" Axelrod call Bush "defensive;" Raddatz used "testy."


SIT-DOWNS Britain's Blair sat down with both ABC's George Stephanopoulos and CBS' Katie Couric, who stayed to anchor from Washington a second day. Couric asked whether he supports all 79 of the ISG recommendations. Blair answered yes, while meaning no: "I basically think the report gives us the right foundation to move forward." "Are you capable of acknowledging failures?" "Yes. We have got to evolve strategy."

Couric also interviewed Sandra Day O'Connor in what she labeled a Person to Person profile, following the footsteps of her predecessor Edward Murrow. The former Supreme Court Justice confessed that she had little foreign policy experience when she joined the Iraq Study Group. "It took an enormous amount of time and effort…I need to retire from retirement."


EXIT STRATEGY When Sen John McCain predicted that the ISG proposals, if implemented, would lead to a US military defeat, CBS' David Martin noted that even Lee Hamilton, the group's co-chairman, "seems to have little confidence that his recommendations would lead to victory." Hamilton's best suggestion was this: "You want to get out in a way that is responsible."


COMBAT OR TRAINING Yesterday, both ABC's Dan Harris (subscription required) and CBS' Byron Pitts examined the ISG plan for the US military in Iraq to switch from combat to embedded training in Iraqi army units. Now, NBC plays catch-up. From the Pentagon Jim Miklaszewski explained the flaw that military advisors "will be placed at great risk" without combat protection, targeted for capture as hostages. On the streets of Baghdad, NBC's Jane Arraf agreed: "These small groups are now among the most vulnerable and valuable targets."


DETERIORATING ABC showcased its newsgathering partnership with Britain's BBC by taking A Closer Look at Afghanistan. Jim Sciutto reported on a face-to-face opinion poll conducted by the two organizations on the fifth anniversary of the fall of the Taliban. Things are getting worse: less security, less optimism, less prosperity. Nevertheless the majority of Afghanis surveyed (80%) say they continue to welcome the deployment of 22,000 US troops in their country.


PATIENT SHOPPING CBS continued its Prescription for Saving series on healthcare costs with free publicity for healthgrades.com. Wyatt Andrews explained that the Website allows potential surgery patients to go comparison shopping among hospitals for the best price and the best track record for quality care. Paying for the cost information does not do much good, however. Andrews profiled an ovary surgery candidate who tried to negotiate a discount: the hospital said "forget it."


DO THE WRIGHT THING When Congress approved a five-year $945m budget for research into autism, NBC's Nancy Snyderman credited her boss, CEO Bob Wright of NBC Universal, with the lobbying clout. Wright founded the advocacy group Autism Speaks while opponents believed "the government should not focus funding on a specific disease." ABC also mentioned the spending bill, but assigned John Donvan to cover the human side of the illness: autistics face an "aging out" crisis when they become adults and lose the support systems that public schools provide.


GREATEST GENERATION All three networks closed with the 65th anniversary observances of the attack on Pearl Harbor. NBC's former anchor Tom Brokaw, the chronicler of the WWII veterans' demographic cohort, gave the commemoration address in Hawaii. He noted that among the veterans in attendance were Japanese pilots who flew in the attack.

A memorial platform straddles the wreck of the USS Arizona, ABC's Ned Potter (subscription required) explained, but the sea's salt water is gradually corroding the battleship's armor beneath it and the hull will eventually collapse. Rather than let nature take its course, the National Parks Service is toying with a scheme to keep the rust at bay by passing an electric current through the submarine steel.