CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 17, 2007
More than half a million Americans die each year of cancer but the news that such a huge total stopped increasing--even as the population gets larger and older--was important enough that all three networks made it their lead. This progress in the War on Cancer was Story of the Day: cancer, in 2004, killed at least 3,000 fewer Americans than in 2003. Yet no one explained: are those Americans still alive or did they die of something else?    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 17, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSWar on Cancer research effortsDeath toll declined by 3K to 553K in 2004Jon LaPookNew York
video thumbnailNBCWar on Cancer research effortsDeath toll declined by 3K to 553K in 2004Robert BazellNew York
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate drafts resolution against troop build-upSharyl AttkissonCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBC2008 issues: Iraq War policyPolitical jockeying by Clinton-Obama-EdwardsDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailNBCNational Security Agency eavesdrops on citizensJustice Dept relents, agrees to seek warrantsPete WilliamsWashington DC
video thumbnailABCOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesCollapsing crude costs ripple across economyBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailABCComair 5191 crash in Lexington Ky kills 49Cockpit audiotapes reveal pilots' distractionLisa StarkWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSTeenage girl violence is online video trendReal-life catfights are popular on YouTubeKelly WallaceNew York
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Puzzle game Rubik's Cube makes comebackFanatics feud in speed-solving competitionsBill BlakemoreNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
WINNING THE WAR ON CANCER More than half a million Americans die each year of cancer but the news that such a huge total stopped increasing--even as the population gets larger and older--was important enough that all three networks made it their lead. This progress in the War on Cancer was Story of the Day: cancer, in 2004, killed at least 3,000 fewer Americans than in 2003. Yet no one explained: are those Americans still alive or did they die of something else?

CBS' Jon LaPook, a practicing gastroenterologist, emphasized that the greatest progress in preventing deaths was in his own field, colon cancer. He properly gave credit to his anchor Katie Couric--"I hate to embarrass you"--for raising awareness of the need for colonoscopies, which LaPook performs, to prevent that cancer from turning lethal. ABC's in-house doctor Timothy Johnson (no link) concurred that colonoscopies were key--but refrained from offering Couric a hat tip. Johnson also gave credit to basic research conducted by the National Cancer Institute. He objected to the President's taking credit for his administration's leadership of the NCI. Under George Bush's budgets, Johnson noted, NCI funding is being cut.

NBC and ABC also assigned regular non-physician reporters to the cancer story. ABC's John McKenzie (subscription required) cited earlier detection and improvements in treatments: in 1996 there was only one drug approved for colorectal cancer; nowadays seven are available. NBC's Robert Bazell stated that the falling lung cancer death rate is a consequence, 20 years later, of millions of men having quit smoking: "Unfortunately more women have continued to smoke so their lung cancer deaths have continued to rise." He warned that if the general trend towards obesity continues, the killing trend will resume. "Being overweight increases the risk for all kinds of cancers."


RESOLUTE All three networks filed from Capitol Hill on the developing political showdown between Congress and the Commander in Chief over his decision to send US troop reinforcements to Baghdad. A bipartisan group of Foreign Relations Committee senators drafted a non-binding resolution in opposition that the White House pledged to ignore even if passed. NBC's Chip Reid did a head count and found no more than the seven Republicans opposing the policy that he counted last Friday. CBS' Sharyl Attkisson pointed out that the President met privately with "selected GOP members of Congress, presumably to nudge them back in his direction."

The other big domestic dispute over Iraq policy does not concern Congress and President, it is an internal Democratic Party split between its likely leading contenders for the 2008 nomination. NBC's David Gregory outlined the positions being staked out by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards to create "distance from the war." Rodham Clinton unveiled her "high profile stance" to legislate a maximum US troop level in Iraq on NBC's Today. Obama "used an Internet message" to call the Iraq War "tragic and costly." Edwards "now urges Congress to deny funding for additional troops." ABC's Jake Tapper noted that the non-binding resolution was by no means the only Iraq trial balloon being floated on the Hill: there is also a phased withdrawal, support for partition, military redeployment to elsewhere in the region or a complete withdrawal. "Democrats do not want ownership or blame for the President's war."


NEVER MIND A second, potential, showdown between the Democratic Senate and the Bush Administration was averted. All three networks covered the decision by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to avoid a fight at Judiciary Committee hearings over the domestic wiretapping of citizens by the National Security Agency. The NSA had insisted that requiring eavesdropping warrants was unConstitutional and obtaining them was burdensome. Now, "the government is abandoning that approach," noted NBC's Pete Williams; ABC's Martha Raddatz (no link) called it "an abrupt change;" CBS' Jim Axelrod "an about face--the White House has to learn to deal with a Democratic-controled Congress."


BLACK GOLD The plummeting price of crude oil, down from $80-or-so a barrel to $50-or-so in just six months, caught the attention of CBS' Anthony Mason yesterday. ABC and NBC chimed in, with markedly different takes. CNBC's Carl Quintanilla stated that retail gasoline prices have not fallen nearly as fast as the underlying crude: since November a barrel of crude is $7 cheaper while a gallon of gasoline costs only one penny less. ABC's Betsy Stark celebrated how the cuts in crude costs have a beneficial ripple effect across the economy as a whole. She cited the ratio used by economists that each $10 reduction in the cost of a barrel, accelerates the growth of the GDP by 0.5%. Stark accounted for the high price then and the low price now: she conceded that changes in supply and demand have some impact; yet the majority of the swing "is the work of speculators" in global financial markets.


DISTRACTED FLYING Only ABC covered the investigation into last year's pre-dawn crash of a Comair commuter jet in Lexington Ky that killed 49 on board. The plane crashed before getting properly airborne. Lisa Stark analyzed the audiotape transcripts of the pilots in the cockpit: they were "distracted, talking about kids with runny noses, co-workers, other job opportunities…the first officer is clearly not paying attention…he cannot remember the tower's instructions…he is trying to recall the correct runway…they end up racing along a runway that is too short." The pilot's last words: "Whoa!"


GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS A pet peeve of the Tyndall Report concerns correspondents who use fictional video clips as supposed evidence of actual behavior that is happening in real life. Case in point is Kelly Wallace's trend feature for CBS on teenage girls videotaping their own catfights and then posting them as online streams. Wallace searched YouTube and found more than 11,000 "girl fight" clips. She also showed us three Long Island girls beat up a fellow student on www.photobucket.com.

But then, Wallace tried to make a larger point about an increase in teenage girl-on-girl violence with the following examples: a girl character punching a boy bully in a Harry Potter movie; two big-bosomed adult women ripping each other's shirts off in a beer commercial; the militant animated female characters of The Powerpuff Girls.

This lazy type of assemblage was all-too-frequent on Today when Couric was morning anchor. Let's hope she is not importing that trend to the Evening News.


CUBISM If you want captivating real-life video, check out the offering by Bill Blakemore (subscription required) on ABC. He covered the World Cubing Competitions in San Francisco, founded by Tyson Mao, a teenager, who is trying to revive the 1970s puzzle toy Rubik's Cube. Events include one-handed solving and blindfolded solving. Mao invented the sport of speed cubing, and was its world champion, until his younger brother Toby started beating him. The Mao brothers were hired by movie star Will Smith to teach him to speed-solve in a scene in his recent release The Pursuit of Happyness. But they now have to take a back seat to Asian champion Yu Jeong-Min, his nom-de-Rubik is Gungz, whose online videostream shows him cubing in an average time of 11.6 seconds.


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: House Democrats are proceeding with their legislative agenda by reducing the interest rate charged on college student loans…Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Afghanistan called for an increased US troop deployment there, too.