CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 11, 2006
The Iraq Study Group dominated last week's news. Now it is the President's turn. George Bush began his public relations counterattack against the ISG's stinging criticisms with a series of consultations. Both ABC and NBC led with his so-called listening tour. He visited the State Department and then hosted a briefing at the White House. Prominent among his guests were critics of the ISG's proposals. CBS countered with its own data: the network's own poll showed public support for the Iraq War plummeting.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 11, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush meets critics of Iraq Study GroupMartha RaddatzWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesRepublican loyalists' support for war plummetsBob SchiefferWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSNazi Holocaust disputed at Teheran conferenceCity's Jewish community fears persecutionElizabeth PalmerTeheran
video thumbnailABC
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2008 Barack Obama campaign expectedAttracts NH crowds, puts pressure on rivalsJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCBritish royals: Princess Diana inquest in LondonLikely to contradict conspiracy theoriesKeith MillerLondon
video thumbnailABC
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Metals mine in Congo uses child workforceBoys in dangerous search for copper, cobaltDavid WrightLondon
video thumbnailCBSSierra Leone civil war: fueled by diamondsBloody trade depicted in movie, non-fiction bookThalia AssurasWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCMadison Avenue advertising industry trendsBabyboomer women targeted by celebrity peersAnne ThompsonNew York
video thumbnailNBCAlzheimer's Disease coverageDiagnosis of middle-aged patients more frequentRobert BazellMinnesota
video thumbnailABC
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Christmas holiday seasonTrees are not secular enough for Seattle AirportNeal KarlinskySeattle
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
IRAQ STUDY GROUP ROLLBACK BEGINS The Iraq Study Group dominated last week's news. Now it is the President's turn. George Bush began his public relations counterattack against the ISG's stinging criticisms with a series of consultations. Both ABC and NBC led with his so-called listening tour. He visited the State Department and then hosted a briefing at the White House. Prominent among his guests were critics of the ISG's proposals. CBS countered with its own data: the network's own poll showed public support for the Iraq War plummeting.

CBS' Bob Schieffer likened public disapproval for the Iraq War effort with Vietnam: 62% now think sending troops to Iraq was a mistake; 60% called Vietnam a mistake in a Gallup Poll in 1973, at the height of opposition to that war. Support has eroded so fast because of Bush's own base: in the single month since the midterm elections, support for the war among Republican voters has nosedived from 70% to 47%.

Both ABC and NBC found their own in-house military analysts included among the White House guest list. ABC's retired general Jack Keane was "withering" in his condemnation of the ISG's recommendations, according to Martha Raddatz: "It is wholly inadequate, a cover story to accept defeat," he declared as he gave it a grade of F. NBC's Brian Williams interviewed his network's more dovish former brass. Barry McCaffrey and Wayne Downing both rejected adding US military reinforcements.


HOLOCAUST REVISION CBS sent Elizabeth Palmer across the border from Baghdad to Teheran to cover the conference organized in Iran purporting to examine the true history of the Nazi Holocaust. Palmer paid its discredited deniers little mind. Instead she visited Teheran's 27,000-strong Jewish community and filed fascinating pictures of prayer at its ancient synagogues. Schoolboys have to start the day with a loyalty song to the Islamic Revolution before they head to Hebrew classes.

From Washington, NBC's Andrea Mitchell wondered why President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was going through the effort of questioning such well-documented historical facts. She quoted his justification in an interview with her network's Brian Williams--"we should allow everyone to research it and study it"--but concluded that the motive was anti-Zionism to "consolidate his power at home."


BARACK IN NEW HAMPSHIRE This weekend can be designated as the kick-off Campaign 2008. For the first time so far, all three networks concurred that a single campaign event was worthy of the assignment of a correspondent. The case in point was a speech by Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, at a fundraiser for New Hampshire's Democratic Party.

ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) dramatized Obama's charisma with a shameless cross-promotional plug. Obama taped a promo for NFL Monday Night Football on ABC's sibling network ESPN: "I am ready for the Bears to go all the way, baby!" For Tapper to make it part of his news package on Obama's appeal to the African-American base and his contrasts with Hillary Rodham Clinton was purely gratuitous.


DIANA DENIALS The idea that the United States was spying on Princess Diana on the night that she died in Paris makes for a "sensational accusation," as NBC's Keith Miller put it--but does not appear to have much substance. At the time of her death, she was a leading activist against landmines, a protest movement whose telephone calls may have been bugged by the National Security Agency. She was probably to the other end of some of the eavesdropping, CBS' Sheila MacVicar suggested.

Now why the NSA should be spying on opponents of landmines--that is a story worth covering.


CELL PHONES & ENGAGEMENT RINGS The network news, justly, stands criticized of its failure to pay enough attention to Africa. So any exception is worthy of comment. Neither ABC nor CBS actually dispatched a reporter for these efforts but the packages aired nonetheless.

ABC took advantage of the work of newsgathering partner BBC for an expose of child labor abuses in the metals mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo. From London, David Wright (subscription required) narrated footage filed by Orla Guerin of boys wading through toxic waste water in search of trace amounts of copper and cobalt, used in refrigerators, televisions and telephone batteries.

CBS used the release of the Leonardo diCaprio movie Blood Diamond--"In America it is bling bling. Out here it is bling bang"--to examine corruption in the trade for precious gems. Thalia Assuras filed her report from a jeweler in Washington DC intercut with images of mutilation and amputation from photojournalist Chris Hondros. His book Blood Diamonds (plural) documented the civil war in Sierra Leone. "The war was a jewelry heist, is simply what it was," said co-author Greg Campbell.


DEMOGRAPHIC TARGETING Is NBC's newscast sagging in popularity among babyboomers? That would be one explanation for its pair of features.

NBC does have a regular series American Boomers targeted at that demographic. Anne Thompson's soft-hitting entry concerned Madison Avenue using that generation's celebrities to target their peers: Easy Rider's Dennis Hopper pitches retirement planning while Annie Hall's Diane Keaton sells skin cream.

But NBC also added a more depressing In Depth report for us fiftysomethings. Some 650,000 pre-retirement Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, Robert Bazell reported. He profiled a former information technology director, now retired, who finds himself unable to remember putting shoes in the refrigerator or leaving the flame lit on the stove.


WAR ON CHRISTMAS The latest front is Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport, ABC's Neal Karlinsky (subscription required) told us. Management has removed its display of 14 trees because a rabbi wanted a menorah installed as well. Karlinsky quoted a Family Research Council activist: "What is next? They are going to get rid of the Tooth Fairy?"--who, by the way, is neither Christian nor seasonal.

It is hard to know which is dumber: the airport authorities for pulling Tannenbaum or ABC News for paying them any mind.


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 Secretary General Kofi Annan, soon to retire, criticized the United States for human rights abuses in a valedictory address in Missouri…Relacement of the wiring system at the International Space Station is the key mission of the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Discovery.