CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 08, 2006
There was no consensus on the Story of the Day. Iraq continued to attract the most coverage from the three networks combined, but it qualified as the lead on none of the newscasts. The only breaking news on Iraq was George Bush's meeting with leaders from Capitol Hill--but that was covered as a mere photo-op with no reports from White House correspondents. Congress qualified for the lead on CBS and NBC as the House Ethics Committee released its report on former Rep Mark Foley. At ABC, tainted scallions at Taco Bell topped the newscast, despite the fact that ABC was the network that broke the Foley story in the first place.     
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 08, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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Rep Mark Foley (R-FL) resigns in sex-message scandalEthics Committee finds fault but no punishmentJake TapperCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSRep Mark Foley (R-FL) resigns in sex-message scandalEthics Committee finds fault but no punishmentGloria BorgerWashington DC
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPentagon may back switch from combat to trainingJonathan KarlPentagon
video thumbnailCBSDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resignsReflects on his tenure in farewell ceremoniesDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailCBSTaco Bell fast food chain probed for e.coli taintSuspect scallions traced back to Oxnard, CalJohn BlackstoneCalifornia
video thumbnailNBCUnemployment: 4.5% jobless rate in NovemberHiring in health, hospitality, retail sectorsCarl QuintanillaNew York
video thumbnailNBCHeart disease and cardiac arrests coverageFDA panel finds stent risk in complex casesRobert BazellWashington DC
video thumbnailABCInternet e-mail fraud schemes based in NigeriaDownpayment-first cons promise huge wealthBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailNBCAIDS: epidemic devastates sub-Saharan AfricaBoy hoopster runs charity fundraiser for orphansJohn LarsonArizona
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Newborn baby from Iraq receives lifesaving surgerySlain medic's comrades fulfill mercy missionCharles GibsonNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS There was no consensus on the Story of the Day. Iraq continued to attract the most coverage from the three networks combined, but it qualified as the lead on none of the newscasts. The only breaking news on Iraq was George Bush's meeting with leaders from Capitol Hill--but that was covered as a mere photo-op with no reports from White House correspondents. Congress qualified for the lead on CBS and NBC as the House Ethics Committee released its report on former Rep Mark Foley. At ABC, tainted scallions at Taco Bell topped the newscast, despite the fact that ABC was the network that broke the Foley story in the first place.

The report on the Foley affair--his sexual instant messages to teenage House pages and his party leadership's failure to prevent them--was open to interpretation. ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) chose the committee's decision there was no violation of the House Code of Conduct, despite the wording of one rule: "Conduct yourself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House."

CBS' Gloria Borger and NBC's Chip Reid decided to emphasize the findings of fault. Reid found the language "very hard-hitting" while Borger called it "a stinging indictment of the Republican leaders" for remaining "oddly passive."


EMBEDDED TRAINERS The focus of the debate over military tactics in Iraq rests on whether it is feasible to end a US combat role and switch to embedded training instead. Yesterday, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski made the argument that trainers, divorced from combat operations, would be too vulnerable. ABC's Jonathan Karl predicted that the Pentagon will recommend just such a change, "mirroring the plan suggested by the Iraq Study Group," minus the 2008 troop withdrawal projected by the ISG.

In other news from the Pentagon, CBS' David Martin covered the farewell ceremonies for departing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "He blames the media," Martin pointed out, for what he sees as false public impressions about a lack a progress in Iraq. Rumsfeld still "just could not resist a few digs at the Pentagon press corps."


YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT It is odd that all three networks chose to focus on Taco Bell's tainted onions, since the outbreak of e.coli food poisoning they caused is relatively small--fewer than 300 infected--and not yet lethal. CBS' John Blackstone took the opportunity to generalize about the food supply: "Modern distribution systems provide huge variety, attractive prices--and also disease." Blackstone called it the "long distance food chain" disconnected from local farms and local seasons.


RESUMES Only NBC covered the health of the job market. CNBC's Carl Quintanilla used the hook of the monthly release of unemployment data (4.5% joblessness, 132,000 new hires) to file an In Depth report on winners and losers in the current economy. Weak manufacturing and falling home prices are balanced by expansion in healthcare, the so-called hospitality sector and retailing. "Nearly 400,000 who have given up on work are starting to look again."


COATED Yesterday, CBS' in-house physician Jon LaPook delivered the reassuring finding of an FDA panel that heart patients with simple blockages in their arteries can safely undergo angioplasty treatment using a stent that is coated in medicine. LaPook did not file the follow-up about the 60% of stent patients with complicated heart disease. ABC's Timothy Johnson (no link) and NBC's Robert Bazell both warned that, for them, the medicine may actually produce fatal blood clots. Bazell commented that "many cardiologists have gotten carried away with this new technology."


MASTERS & BIG FOOLS In a preview of his report for ABC's 20/20 news magazine, Brian Ross Investigates traced the source of those spam e-mails--the ones that promise to transfer great wealth into our bank accounts if only we pay an upfront processing fee to get the transaction started. Ross traveled to Lagos to discover that the online conmen are folk heroes in Nigeria. There is even a hit music video--You Are The Loser. I am the Winner--created in their honor. "The masters mocking the white American victims as the big fools."


DO-GOODERS In contrast to that venality, both ABC and NBC closed the week with heartwarming. NBC's Making a Difference kept an Africa theme, following fundraising for the World Vision charity for AIDS patients. John Larson told us about Austin Gutwein, a twelve-year-old from Arizona, who has organized children to make sponsored basketball free throws in the Hoops of Hope program. The boy's latest drive raised $100,000 for a school for HIV-orphans in Zambia.

ABC's closer was Person of the Week Chris Walsh, a medic with the Marine Corps who stumbled over a deformed newborn girl while on patrol in Fallujah. Anchor Charles Gibson (subscription required) recounted how Walsh promised to organize intestinal surgery but was killed by a bomb before he could make good. His platoon comrades took up Walsh's cause and the baby has just flown to Boston for lifesaving surgery.


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: the aforesaid meeting between President Bush and Congressional leaders on Iraq…and an obituary for Jeane Kirkpatrick, neoconservative trailblazer and former envoy to the United Nations.