CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 28, 2006
The opinions of former President Gerald Ford were freed from embargo by his death. For the second straight day Ford was Story of the Day. This time he made news via Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, who released a 2004 interview in which Ford criticized the Iraq War and repudiated two of its key architects, his own former aides and proteges, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 28, 2006: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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Former President Gerald Ford dies, aged 93Criticized former aides, Iraq War two years agoGeorge StephanopoulosNew York
video thumbnailNBCFormer President Gerald Ford dies, aged 93Criticized former aides, Iraq War two years agoAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailABCFormer President Gerald Ford dies, aged 93Presidential Library exhibits in Grand RapidsDean ReynoldsMichigan
video thumbnailCBSFormer President Gerald Ford dies, aged 93Plans for private and state funerals outlinedBill WhitakerCalifornia
video thumbnailABCFormer First Lady Betty Ford was trailblazerBroke taboos about cancer and drug addictionKate SnowNew York
video thumbnailCBSIraq: Saddam Hussein's Baath regime aftermathHanging scheduled for weekend, to be videotapedRandall PinkstonBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush says war cabinet makes progressDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBC2008 John Edwards campaign announcedRenews Two Americas theme in New Orleans speechChip ReidNew Orleans
video thumbnailCBSAnimal cloning in agriculture safety researchFDA sees no food risk from cloned meat, dairyThalia AssurasWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSWinter weatherDenver airline travelers rush to avoid delaysKelly CobiellaDenver
video thumbnailNBCSmoking: tobacco use banned in public spacesWashington law ends pols' smoke-filled lobbyPete WilliamsWashington DC
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FORD SPEAKS POST MORTEM The opinions of former President Gerald Ford were freed from embargo by his death. For the second straight day Ford was Story of the Day. This time he made news via Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, who released a 2004 interview in which Ford criticized the Iraq War and repudiated two of its key architects, his own former aides and proteges, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos (subscription required) led with the Woodward tapes. "He told Woodward that George Bush fought the wrong war for the wrong reasons," Stephanopoulos summarized, while pointing out that "a year earlier Ford had forcefully defended the decision to go to war," calling it "totally justified." NBC's Andrea Mitchell added that Ford was "not known to have offered Bush advice" on Iraq. Ford despaired of his one-time Chief of Staff. Cheney had "turned pugnacious."

Stephanopoulos promised a follow-up tomorrow: Ford to Woodward on Richard Nixon. Ford and Nixon had "a very intimate relationship--which would be surprising."


MORE FORD Other Ford follow-ups included fuller details on the funeral plans. CBS' Bill Whitaker claimed that Ford never wanted a full state funeral: "The humble man had to be persuaded…still it will be simpler than some." ABC's Dean Reynolds received a guided tour of Ford's Presidential Library in Grand Rapids. The exhibit includes Ford's shortlist recommendations to Nixon for the VP job he eventually landed himself: John Connally, Melvin Laird, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan.

CBS' Hattie Kauffman and NBC's Campbell Brown covered Ford's widow Betty yesterday. ABC played catch-up with A Closer Look, running clips from White House profiles by Barbara Walters. Years before Ford confessed to her alcoholism and pill addiction in 1987, she was slurring her words with Walters. "The First Lady was visibly impaired," ABC's Kate Snow showed us.


HANG HIM HIGH Both NBC and CBS led with late-breaking news that US military authorities in Iraq have been asked to hand former dictator Saddam Hussein over to his executioners for a weekend hanging. CBS' Randall Pinkston called his report an Exclusive even though it aired at the same time as that of NBC's Richard Engel and contained much of the same information about videotape of the hanging that ABC's Terry McCarthy (subscription required) reported on Tuesday. What Pinkston showed, that his rivals did not, were soundbites from Iraq's National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

President George Bush's war cabinet is close to a decision to dispatch 20,000 troop reinforcements to Iraq, CBS' David Martin reported. However Bush may be vetoed by Baghdad: "a smaller build-up of about 8,000 US troops" is the most Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki "could handle politically," Martin's military source told him.


CATCH-UP On Tuesday, NBC's Tom Costello told us that the FDA would recommend that meat and dairy from cloned animals be designated safe for consumption. Now both ABC and CBS confirm Costello's report. ABC's Lisa Stark (subscription required) stated that no other country in the world has permitted clones to enter the food chain.

CBS' Thalia Assuras pointed out that humans would not actually eat the clones but their offspring instead. The clones would be made of "animals of exceptional quality" and would be used for breeding. Any FDA go-ahead would represent a business bonanza for the biotech firm ViaGen, Assuras touted. ViaGen's president told ABC's Stark that cloning for meat or milk is "simply too expensive." Clones have "higher death rates and birth defects," Stark added.


POOR NEWS JUDGMENT NBC's Chip Reid explained why Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards selected now for the formal announcement of his candidacy. Edwards understood that this is, traditionally, a slow news week and he "carefully calculated" that he would garner plenty of free publicity. Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein scuppered that scheme: ABC today and CBS yesterday mentioned Edwards' hat-in-the-ring only in passing


DENVER REDUX Even before a second winter storm in two weeks blanketed Denver, all three networks had reporters descend on the airport to preview a repeat of last week's disruption of airline travel. When it opened eleven years ago it was optimistically dubbed the "world's first all-weather airport," ABC's Nancy Cordes (subscription required) recalled, while aviation specialist Michael Boyd offered CBS' Kelly Cobiella this soundbite: "Remember this airport was built in order to unclog the western skies. It needs a little Drano."


NO CIGAR When Washington DC imposed its ban on using tobacco in indoor public spaces, NBC's Pete Williams used the new law to teach a fun history lesson. President Ulysses S Grant used to like to sneak out of the White House for a cigar. He went over the street to the lobby of the Willard Hotel for a smoke, where he ran into petitioners and influence peddlers, thereafter known as "lobbyists." Warned Williams, "powerbrokers must abandon a comforting ritual"--a nice cognac, a great port, a fantastic cigar.


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 are law enforcement follow-ups: a quartet of New Orleans policeman has been accused of murder in the infamous Danziger Bridge shooting, which killed two in the wake of Hurricane Katrina…District Attorney Mike Nifong has been formally accused of unprofessional conduct in his handling of the Duke University lacrosse team no-longer-rape case.