CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 03, 2007
Former President Gerald Ford was buried at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, qualifying for Story of the Day for the sixth straight weekday since he died. Only ABC led with the funeral: CBS chose a follow-up from Baghdad to the execution of Saddam Hussein; NBC opted for the winter weather on the great plains. Yet all three networks were unanimous on how to close their newscasts. They showcased the heroism of Wesley Autrey in the New York City subway.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 03, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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Former President Gerald Ford dies, aged 93Buried at Presidential Museum in Grand RapidsDean ReynoldsMichigan
video thumbnailNBCIraq: Saddam Hussein's Baath regime aftermathExecution run by militia instead of governmentRichard EngelBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSIraq: Saddam Hussein's Baath regime aftermathUS military disavows conduct of executionRandall PinkstonBaghdad
video thumbnailABC110th Congress convenes: Democrats in controlPresident Bush seeks bipartisan common groundJake TapperCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCWinter weatherFreezing livestock fed by air by National GuardKevin TibblesKansas
video thumbnailABCRetailer Home Depot fires CEO: pays $210m bonusShareholders urged Robert Nardelli's ousterCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailNBCInfants and toddlers child development studiedBrains of bilingual children are more nimbleRobert BazellSeattle
video thumbnailCBSDomestic terrorism preparedness and preventionHomeland Security finds urban EMS radio flawsBob OrrWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSNYC subway death averted by stranger's heroismJumped onto tracks in path of oncoming trainSteve HartmanNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FAREWELL TO FORD Former President Gerald Ford was buried at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, qualifying for Story of the Day for the sixth straight weekday since he died. Only ABC led with the funeral: CBS chose a follow-up from Baghdad to the execution of Saddam Hussein; NBC opted for the winter weather on the great plains. Yet all three networks were unanimous on how to close their newscasts. They showcased the heroism of Wesley Autrey in the New York City subway.

Autrey saw a fellow passenger suffer an epileptic seizure and fall off the platform. As a train approached, he jumped into the gutter between the rails on top of the fallen man, making sure that their arms were pinned by their sides clear of the oncoming wheels. Both men survived and all three networks produced computer-graphics animation to depict the danger.

ABC's David Muir (no link) went up to 137th Street in Harlem for a show-and-tell with Autrey himself: his network's animation showed the pair's feet facing the train and he estimated the depth of the gutter at a half-foot. CBS' graphics also showed them feet first and Steve Hartman called the clearance "exactly 21 inches." NBC's Rehema Ellis showed the men's heads pointing towards the train and had them surviving in a two-foot clearance.

"What better way to start off a New Year than save a life?" Autrey inquired of ABC's Muir (CBS' Hartman included the same soundbite, but was not personally on the scene).


REST IN PEACE ABC and CBS sent reporters to Grand Rapids for the funeral service; NBC anchor Brian Williams narrated from New York. CBS assigned Bill Plante, one of its White House correspondents, who admired the "crowd of thousands" standing in line at midnight to view their hometown dignitary's coffin. ABC's Dean Reynolds (subscription required) had been in Michigan all week: "It was a final salute to a favorite son…the ruffles and flourishes heralding an exceptional life began to fade with the afternoon sun."


SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND ABC's Jake Tapper heard George Bush lay out his legislative ambitions for the Democratic-controled 110th Congress: "Out went the President's tough campaign rhetoric; in came talk of bipartisan cooperation." So Tapper outlined the two agendas. From the White House: permanent tax cuts, an eventual balanced budget, an end to anonymous earmark spending and a line-item veto; from the Democrats: increased homeland security, a raise in the minimum wage and federal biotechnology funds for embryonic stem cell research.

Analysis came from ABC's George Stephanopoulos (no link): "These parties are far apart on policy," he stated, giving thumbs down to the tax cuts, the line veto and the stem cells, thumbs up to the minimum wage and the earmarks. "A big question is immigration reform. The President has more natural allies on policy but the politics of it are still very tough."

CBS' Sharyl Attkisson chipped in with three more items on the Democrats' agenda: reduced prescription drug costs, lower interest rates on student loans and fewer federal subsidies for the oil industry. As for that talk of bipartisanship, the Republicans now find themselves "cut out of the legislative push." They "wonder what happened to all the nice talk."


FROM A DISTANCE CBS led with Exclusive videotape of Saddam Hussein's funeral, with "angry, distraught" mourners pulling back his shroud to kiss the dead dictator's face. Randall Pinkston remarked at how "dignified" his US military guards had found Saddam's demeanor as he left for the gallows. He saw Iraq and the US "scramble to distance themselves" from the "unruly execution."

The government "lost control" of the execution, NBC's Richard Engel was told, as "20 or 30 supporters of radical Shiite militias turned the room into a mob scene." Engel's source was Iraq's National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie, an eyewitness at the gallows. "This is a new version of events," Engel deadpanned. Hours after the execution, al-Rubaie had told Engel it was done "methodically and with respect."

Back at the Pentagon, CBS touted David Martin's report about plans for a troop build-up as an Exclusive. Just yesterday NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reported that the reinforcement would number 20,000. Martin's Exclusive was that 9,000 would go directly to Baghdad with 11,000 on stand-by in Kuwait and in US bases.


THE FARMER & THE COWMAN NBC's Kevin Tibbles fought through the snow to the Kansas heartland, where 100,000 people suffered blackouts after the weight of ice pulled down electric utility lines. As bad as the blizzard was for humans, the region's $50bn/yr beef industry was worse hit. Cattle herds are freezing or starving to death. They are being fed by air from National Guard helicopters--"slinging hay from the side of a Huey," as Tibbles put it. As bad as the snow is for ranchers, it helps wheat farmers, who have endured a seven-year drought.


NICE WORK Both CBS' Anthony Mason and ABC's Charles Gibson attributed the firing of Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli to the fury of the company's shareholders. He had been in the job for six years, earning a salary of more than $120m, while the stock price had fallen by 7%. Yet, with his pink slip, Gibson noted on ABC's A Closer Look, Nardelli received a $210m bonus. "Will it stop? Not unless shareholders rise up in protest."

When CBS' Mason told his anchor Katie Couric that the severance bonus included $20m in cash, Couric commented: "Nice work if you can get it." She is right, of course, but it is still tacky when the highest-paid journalist on the planet poses as if she is in the same boat as regular working stiffs.


WEAK TEASE It is an age-old complaint about television news when an anchor introduces a story whose contents fail to back up the introduction. A pair of examples were Williams' lead into NBC's In Depth report on infantile brain development and Couric's lead for Bob Orr on urban EMS preparedness.

On NBC, Robert Bazell followed research into the neurological development of babies in bilingual households. Williams promised that the findings would be "surprising." So we expected to be disabused of our assumption that bilingual brains are better. No surprise whatsoever. Babies understanding two tongues perform better at certain tasks: more "mental dexterity." Quelle surprise!

Couric promised an explanation of why it was "harder than anybody thought" to put emergency responders on the same communications frequency. Au contraire, Orr told us that EMS planners have succeeded inside-the-Beltway, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and have failed to be "interoperable" in Cook County Ill…but he never delivered the promised reasons why.


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 sole example was Mitt Romney's declaration of his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008.