CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 06, 2007
Utmost dissent reigned at the three network newscasts about the day's news agenda. ABC led with a massive lawsuit against Wal-Mart that the other two networks dismissed as only worthy of a passing mention. NBC led with a follow-up to Monday's Story of the Day: the winter weather is still cold. CBS selected sensational tabloid fare in the form of the astronaut love triangle. Yet none of these three leads represented the Story of the Day. NBC singlehandedly made the aftermath to Hurricane Katrina the day's most heavily covered story as it broadcast from New Orleans.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 06, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCRetailer Wal-Mart accused of workforce abusesSex bias lawsuit given class action statusJim AvilaNew York
video thumbnailCBSIraq: post-war reconstruction effortsHouse panel probes mishandling of $12bn in cashDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailCBSIran military expansion feared in Persian GulfTeheran diplomat goes missing in BaghdadLara LoganBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCHurricane Katrina aftermath along Gulf CoastCrime, levee fears block rebirth of New OrleansMartin SavidgeNew Orleans
video thumbnailNBCNASA astronaut love triangle stalking arrestFemale specialist accused of attack on rivalMichelle KosinskiFlorida
video thumbnailNBCWinter weatherFrigid cold causes deaths, hikes heating costsKevin TibblesChicago
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Winter weatherWarm Lake Erie waters create heavy NYS snowfallSam ChampionNew York State
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Ice climbing on artificial frozen walls in IowaGiant agricultural silos offer winter recreationBarbara PintoIowa
video thumbnailCBSVideo software downloads TV programs to computersJoost brand undercuts cable, satellite costsDaniel SiebergNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
NEW ORLEANS BREAKS TIE Utmost dissent reigned at the three network newscasts about the day's news agenda. ABC led with a massive lawsuit against Wal-Mart that the other two networks dismissed as only worthy of a passing mention. NBC led with a follow-up to Monday's Story of the Day: the winter weather is still cold. CBS selected sensational tabloid fare in the form of the astronaut love triangle. Yet none of these three leads represented the Story of the Day. NBC singlehandedly made the aftermath to Hurricane Katrina the day's most heavily covered story as it broadcast from New Orleans.

Anchor Brian Williams introduced a three-parter in NBC's Long Road Back series. Ann Curry, from Today, profiled Michael Miller, an anxious and insecure eight-year-old, who wonders "whether his sadness will ever end…his fear of another hurricane is compounded by how long it takes for life to get back to normal." Williams himself visited the temporary trailer that serves as a firehouse for the city's downtown NOFD engine company. Every firefighter in the firehouse lost his own house in the floods. "These are nice digs," Williams looked around. "No they are not," a firefighter told him.

And Martin Savidge listed the reasons--violent crime, skepticism about the levees, red tape preventing rebuilding--why the population of New Orleans may never recover to even half the 440,000 it was before the levees broke. "The big comeback that many people hoped to see post-Katrina just simply has not happened," he declared. But he did not explain why smaller is worse. Neither did he suggest what the optimum population for the new Crescent City might be.


SPACE CADETS You will find no criticism here of the decision to cover Lisa Nowak, the Space Shuttle astronaut and 43-year-old mother of three, accused of driving from Houston to Orlando to confront her suspected rival in love for fellow astronaut Bill Oefelien. All three networks assigned a reporter to the basically trivial story. Why not? "With a master's degree in rocket science, she is one the most accomplished women in America," ABC's Bill Weir recounted. "She was so motivated by jealousy, police say, that she skipped bathroom breaks on her 950-mile drive by wearing adult diapers, common gear in orbit." NBC's Michelle Kosinski detailed Nowak's alleged outfit, "wig and trenchcoat with a BB gun and knife." While CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi concluded of the robotic-arm specialist, "her high-flying career came crashing to the ground."

Our quibble is with CBS' decision to try to dress this up as anything more important than salacious fun. There is no way this is worthy of the lead story. And it must have been hard for anchor Katie Couric to keep a straight face as she interviewed in-house analyst Bill Harwood about the larger lessons for the space program as a whole. "Is this episode causing NASA to rethink the way it screens or evaluates astronauts?" "It is too soon to say what might come out of this."


ALWAYS LOW PRICES ABC, which was guilty of leading with trivia twice last week (the race horse Barbaro and Aqua Teen Hunger Force) was on solid ground with its Wal-Mart selection. A federal appeals court in California gave a go-ahead to transform a gender discrimination lawsuit into a nationwide class action. Jim Avila listed charges that the retailer had a "common pattern and practice of discrimination" to underpay and underpromote up to two million women companywide. Wal-Mart plans to appeal this decision as far as the Supreme Court: it claimed "its workers should be required to sue each store individually."


SLUSH FUND Yet again, there is evidence that the Democrats' victory in last November's midterm elections is going to change the news agenda. An old story from Iraq saw the light of day purely because a House committee has the power to convene hearings into the mindboggling details.

Can anyone imagine what $12bn in cash looks like? That was the value of Iraq's frozen assets that were confiscated by the US as part of the sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime and returned to Baghdad after the US occupied. ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) painted the picture: "484 pallets of bills each weighing 1,500 lbs were flown into Iraq." Then it was distributed "in almost comical ways," CBS' David Martin told us, out of duffle bags, from the backs of cars, to ghost employees. What happened to the cash? "There are no good answers," Tapper shrugged.


NO IMMUNITY In Baghdad itself, the escalation of tensions between the US and Iran continues. Shalal Sharafi, a diplomat at Teheran's embassy to Iraq, went missing on Sunday. CBS' Lara Logan interviewed Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qozi. He asserted categorically: "The Americans were behind the kidnapping." Logan's sources told her that "commandos from an elite Iraqi unit, controled by US forces, had taken the diplomat--but they offered no proof." The US military denied any involvement.


NEGATIVE WARMING Both CBS and NBC had their Chicago reporters update us on the cold weather. CBS' Cynthia Bowers told us that an overworked furnace may be responsible for the fire in a Kentucky home that left a family of ten dead. "Oil and natural gas prices shot up as soon as the mercury went down," she added with hikes of 10% in a single week. NBC's Kevin Tibbles cited a 20% surge in demand for electricity to cope with the cold. Power officials "are urging consumers to conserve."

That early season warmth was a major factor in Sam Champion's (subscription required) report for ABC. The Good Morning America weathercaster was on the southern shores of Lake Erie: "Unfrozen lakes are a never-ending source of snow for towns" like East Aurora NY. As he waded through five-foot snow drifts, Champion explained that increased global warming does not just mean more hot weather--"expect wild weather extremes" of all sorts.

And Barbara Pinto (subscription required) offered an oddball winter feature from Cedar Falls for ABC. How do ice climbers have fun amid the "flat, frozen plains" of the heartland's cornfields? An Iowa farmer has jury-rigged shower heads to spray the sides of agricultural silos. She showed us how the water freezes into a giant white wall and climbers with ice axes and pitons scale 70-foot icicles.


FOR COUCH POTATOES For those who want to stay indoors in the cold, CBS' Daniel Sieberg offered free publicity to Joost (that's "juiced"), the software the turns computer screens into a digital-cable-style TV browser. Joost is created by the engineers who invented Kazaa music swapping software and the cheap Skype online telephone service. Sieberg says that "unlike cable or satellite this TV signal is coming through the Internet for free" (except that you have to buy broadband cable). The other problem is that, as yet, most of Joost's content is music videos and nature documentaries: "Your favorite programs probably are not on the system yet."


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: Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies that the troop build-up in Baghdad may be reversed before the end of the year…and the Senate filibuster to block a vote on the build-up seems to have succeeded.