CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 19, 2007
The week ended with disarray at the top of the news agenda. NBC led with the possibility that space may be opened as a new military frontier with Beijing's anti-satellite missile test. ABC led with recycled optimism in Baghdad from the US military. CBS chose a looming snowstorm in New Mexico that the other two networks did not bother to mention, even in passing. Yet none of these leads attracted enough attention to qualify as Story of the Day--that was an altogether different weather event, the gale force winds across northern Europe.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 19, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCGale force winds batter western EuropeTrail of damage from Britain through PolandDawna FriesenLondon
video thumbnailNBCPRC military expansion: anti-satellite missileSuccessful test foreshadows space warfareJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailABC
sub req
PRC military expansion: anti-satellite missileSuccessful test foreshadows space warfareJonathan KarlPentagon
video thumbnailCBSIraq: political coalition government under firePM al-Maliki criticizes arrest of al-Sadr aideLara LoganBaghdad
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesGen George Casey predicts late summer successMartha RaddatzWhite House
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesWhite House feuds with Speaker over oppositionChip ReidCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSCollege tuition costs escalateStudents often settle for cheaper second choiceJerry BowenLos Angeles
video thumbnailABCGlobal warming greenhouse effect climate changeSki resort turns activist in self-preservationBill RedekerUtah
video thumbnailCBSStress hormones can cause harmful lasting impactChronic adrenaline overdoses create burnoutJohn BlackstoneCalifornia
video thumbnailCBSChantey singing is Chesapeake Bay traditionFormer fishermen keep working songs aliveSteve HartmanVirginia
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
BLOW, WINDS The week ended with disarray at the top of the news agenda. NBC led with the possibility that space may be opened as a new military frontier with Beijing's anti-satellite missile test. ABC led with recycled optimism in Baghdad from the US military. CBS chose a looming snowstorm in New Mexico that the other two networks did not bother to mention, even in passing. Yet none of these leads attracted enough attention to qualify as Story of the Day--that was an altogether different weather event, the gale force winds across northern Europe.

High winds carved a path from the British Isles through Holland and Germany to Poland. All three networks assigned reporters in their London bureaus to string together the videotape: ABC's Jim Sciutto (subscription required), CBS' Mark Phillips and NBC's Dawna Friesen. All showed the same English Channel lifeboat rescue, the same jet having trouble while landing in Manchester, the same tree lay waste to an English school, the same coastline battered by waves.

Weather porn supplied by pool video.

CBS assigned Kelly Cobiella to its lead on the domestic storm. On Monday, she covered the icestorm that blacked out Oklahoma. The state has still not recovered--"utility workers are still patching power lines"--yet faces six inches of snow this weekend.


STICK IN THE EYE IN THE SKY NBC's Jim Miklaszewski speculated that China may have tested its anti-satellite missile in order to persuade the United States to sign an arms control treaty to ban the testing of space weapons. ABC's Jonathan Karl (subscription required) read it differently: "China is prepared to challenge America's dominance in space." And Miklaszewski warned that if the People's Republic were to pursue its plans, US spy satellites would be vulnerable. Karl again differed, citing a wider range of satellites, used for "everything from financial transactions to communications to precision bombs." CBS mentioned the PRC's test only in passing.


BAGHDAD BULLETINS The power struggles of Iraqi politics continue to confuse. Yesterday ABC's Dan Harris and NBC's David Gregory told us about the jockeying of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Now CBS' Lara Logan adds her analysis of the arrest by US commandos of Hadi al-Darraji, a top aide to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. Logan observed that al-Maliki, "who depends heavily on al-Sadr for political support, immediately distanced himself from the US raid." If the US military takes on al-Sadr directly in Sadr City "there will be a bloodbath. They will not risk that. There has to be some kind of political and military solution." Yet the idea that al-Maliki will act against al-Sadr is incredible in Baghdad.

ABC's lead focused on Gen George Casey, the outgoing leader of US forces in Iraq, predicting that, as Iraqi troops are already beginning their deployment in Baghdad, US soldiers will be able to follow him home starting in late summer. He made "almost the exact same prediction in 2005 about drawing down troops only to be overwhelmed by a worsening security situation," Martha Raddatz cautioned. NBC's Chip Reid watched the counterattack at Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she told ABC's Good Morning America that President George Bush had rushed the troop build-up, certain in the knowledge that Congress would never vote to cut funds for it after the fact. The White House called those words "poisonous."

Both ABC and NBC tried to portray the hopeful side of Baghdad society. NBC's Jane Arraf told us what a "wonderful sign of resilience" it is to see the city's children on their way to school--unfortunately she cannot file a story about such everyday normalcy because the presence of an American TV news crew might get those children killed. ABC's Dan Harris (subscription required) reported that wedding ceremonies are still conducted at the honeymoon Babylon Hotel. He called them "acts of optimism." However, the guests have to keep their partying short. "Nobody wants to be a target."


FRESHMAN MATH The newly-arrived House Democrats passed their promised package of six bills this week but received almost no attention from the network newscasts. No reporter was assigned to their alternate energy plans; none to their Medicare prescription drug revisions. The Democrats' plan to reduce interest rates on student loans was the news hook for Jerry Bowen's report on the rising cost of college tuition on CBS.

He reported on a survey conducted by UCLA that found that high prices are forcing freshmen to turn down a place at the university of their choice in favor of a less expensive secondary selection. However he used statistics deceptively to make the problem seem worse than it is: some 33% of all freshmen are not attending their first-choice college despite being accepted; 34% of those cited expense as the reason. A clearer use of the data would have been to say 11% were priced out of their first-choice college, rather than citing a higher thirtysomething percentage twice. A couple of weeks ago Bowen's colleague Sharyn Alfonsi used the same statistical sleight of hand about teenage drinking.

But even the 11% seems high: why would they apply to a college they knew they could not afford?


SCHUSS Leveraging his expense account admirably, ABC's Bill Redeker managed to squeeze a story out of a ski trip to Park City Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival has just opened. Redeker filed his story on global warming from the slopes themselves: "There is plenty of snow here--at least this winter." His angle: if climate change is not reversed then those very slopes will be bare of snow 40 years from now. Park City, population 8,500, has launched a Save Our Snow campaign to promote alternative energy and enforce tougher, greener building codes.


ADRENALINE OVERDOSE In part three of CBS' series A User's Guide to the Brain, John Blackstone told us about the burnout we suffer when we live under continual stress. The natural hormones of adrenaline and cortisol that surge whenever a stressful situation arises harm our brains if they are ever-present. Too much cortisol shrinks our brain neurons, leading to memory loss, anxiety, aggressiveness and depression. "Chronic stress speeds up aging."

A recent poll found that for 26% of Americans, one's job is the primary source of stress. "Tell me about it," muttered Katie Couric. Not six months in her anchor chair, things do not appear to be going so swimmingly.


BAYWATCH Both CBS and ABC closed their week from the Chesapeake Bay. ABC's substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas made the physician for Tangier, population 600, the network's Person of the Week. David Nichols, honored as Country Doctor of the Year, has to use a helicopter from the mainland to hold a clinic on the Virginia island every Wednesday. "A bit of old Europe in the middle of America," the doctor called it.

On CBS' Assignment America, Steve Hartman profiled the North Neck Virginia Chantey Singers, a choir of former bay fishermen who preserve the traditional working songs that were used to establish a rhythm in unison for pulling up nets by hand. Hartman is attempting to fill great shoes at CBS. After all, one of the most famous On the Road features ever filed by Charles Kuralt, in 1972, was on the gandy dancers, a chantey singing railroad gang lining a curve.


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 Senate imposed restrictions on perks and junkets from lobbyists…former Republican Congressional leader Robert Ney was sentenced to 30 months in prison for graft…Dennis Doherty, singer with the Mamas and the Papas pop group died, aged 66.