CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 09, 2007
A pair of different angles on the Iraq story vied for leadership of the news agenda. All three newscasts led with the Senate hearings into pre-war intelligence. The Defense Department's Inspector General told the Armed Services Committee that the CIA's skepticism about the threat Iraq posed had been manipulated by the Pentagon to advance the case for war. In Baghdad itself, military leadership is transferred from Gen George Casey to Gen David Petraeus. The current fighting received fractionally more coverage than the pre-war maneuvering so the war itself was Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 09, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesGen George Casey leaves job, sees slow progressMartha RaddatzBaghdad
video thumbnailABCPentagon accused of manipulating Iraq intelligenceSenate hearings into false al-Qaeda findingsJonathan KarlWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCPentagon accused of manipulating Iraq intelligenceSenate hearings into false al-Qaeda findingsChip ReidCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSPentagon accused of manipulating Iraq intelligenceSenate hearings into false al-Qaeda findingsDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Israel-Palestinian conflictClashes at al-Aqsa Mosque over construction workWilf DinnickJerusalem
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama to announce candidacy formallySupport by white and black voters assessedRon AllenChicago
video thumbnailABCSmoking: second-hand smoke health risksCt legislature lobbied by child for in-car banCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSCredit broker links small borrowers, small lendersOnline bids for loans, interest rates eBay-styleAnthony MasonChicago
video thumbnailCBSMilitary personnel face family, personal problemsWife-to-wife support network on online talkradioMark StrassmannGeorgia
video thumbnailNBCPlaymate Anna Nicole Smith dies, aged 39Cause of death, paternity of daughter unresolvedMark PotterMiami
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
INTELLIGENCE TESTS A pair of different angles on the Iraq story vied for leadership of the news agenda. All three newscasts led with the Senate hearings into pre-war intelligence. The Defense Department's Inspector General told the Armed Services Committee that the CIA's skepticism about the threat Iraq posed had been manipulated by the Pentagon to advance the case for war. In Baghdad itself, military leadership is transferred from Gen George Casey to Gen David Petraeus. The current fighting received fractionally more coverage than the pre-war maneuvering so the war itself was Story of the Day.

Even though it contained little original content, ABC announced an Exclusive profile by Martha Raddatz of the departing Casey, promoted to Army Chief of Staff, after three years in command in Baghdad. "This has been a bit of a rollercoaster," Casey summarized. "Some peaks, some valleys--but overall, slow, steady, relentless progress." His greatest problem, Raddatz surprised no one, was the "spiraling sectarian violence."

NBC aired a couple of reports on this week's fighting. Richard Engel was traveling with a First Infantry patrol through Baghdad's Adel neighborhood when its HumVee was jolted by a mistimed bomb in roadside garbage but emerged unscathed. John Yang, at the Pentagon, followed up on his report on Wednesday on the downing of a USMC Sea Knight helicopter near Fallujah with jerky online videotape posted by an unidentified "group with ties to al-Qaeda" that purported to document the explosion and crash. And anchor Brian Williams' concluded his network's coverage of the celebrity circus surrounding the late Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith by contrasting her with Jennifer Parcell, aged 20, of the Marine Corps, killed in action in al-Anbar province.

CBS did not cover any aspect of the ongoing conflict in Iraq.


PROVING A NEGATIVE The official put in charge of reviewing and reworking the CIA's intelligence was Douglas Feith, then Undersecretary of Defense. In a 26-point briefing to the White House, he reported that Saddam Hussein's Baath regime had operational ties with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. ABC's Jonathan Karl pointed out that "before the war, the CIA had concluded that Saddam and al-Qaeda were rivals, not allies." Feith told Karl that it was "flat wrong" to say he was manipulating intelligence. He was just providing an "alternative view." Karl observed that Feith registered "absolutely no contrition."

Feith's efforts paid off, NBC's Chip Reid reminded us: "When the Iraq War began more than half of the American people believed Saddam Hussein had been personally involved" in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Reid replayed a soundbite by Vice President Dick Cheney on his network's Meet the Press that restated one of Feith's talking points, namely that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta had met with a top Iraqi spy in Prague. "Now," Reid noted, "even the White House concedes the meeting likely never happened."

Feith argued that his intervention was neither inappropriate nor illegal. But for sheer gall, no justification matched the one CBS' David Martin cited. The CIA had been wrong about Iraq's threat from weapons of mass destruction so why could it not also have been wrong about Iraq's ties to al-Qaeda? Thus, Feith justifies erroneously contradicting the CIA's accurate anti-war findings by reminding us that the CIA had been erroneous in its findings that had been pro-war.


FRIDAY PRAYERS Only ABC covered the clashes between Arab worshippers and Israeli soldiers at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem--thrown rocks against tear gas and stun grenades. Wilf Dinnick (subscription required) said "a construction project" was the trigger for the violence. Israel called the bridge maintenance necessary repairs; Palestinians called it a provocation on sacred ground. This same site sparked the second intifada six years ago, Dinnick reminded us.


HONEST BARACK Tomorrow is a marquee day in Campaign 2008 as Democrat Barack Obama travels to his adopted home state of Illinois to make a formal announcement of his candidacy in Springfield, just as Abraham Lincoln did almost 150 years ago. CBS' 60 Minutes is preparing a Steve Kroft profile on Sunday and Gloria Borger gave us a preview. "Do you think the country is ready for a black President?" Kroft asked. "Yes," answered the candidate. But how could he have said "No"?

Borger added that the question is not only one of white support, "black voters are wary of Obama." For the second time this week NBC assigned Ron Allen to the campaign trail (Allen covered Rudolph Giuliani's entry on Monday). In an In Depth report, Allen agreed with Borger that the biracial Obama has to win over many black voters: "He is not like traditional leaders in Chicago who came of age marching for civil rights."


OUT OF THE MOUTHS An altogether different player in state-level politics is Justin Kvadas, ABC's Person of the Week. The fifth-grader testified to the Connecticut legislature on his proposal to protect children in automobiles from second-hand smoke by banning cigarette use in cars. Kvadas told Charles Gibson that he was inspired to seek the ban as he stared out of the car window on his way home from taekwondo class. In recent months, ABC has been backsliding on its commitment, made to honor the late anchor Peter Jennings, to keep a focus on Big Tobacco. A ten-year-old boy provided the jolt.


LATEST ONLINE CBS aired a couple of features about online innovations, in the fields of banking and talkradio. Anthony Mason's In Focus was on prosper.com an eBay-style loan broker that matches small borrowers with small lenders. The Website sets up interest rate auctions whereby microlenders compete to offer the best person-to-person terms to complete strangers. So far $34m in debt has been extended. And Mark Strassmann filed an American Heroes profile on the pregnant Tara Crooks, a captain's wife at Fort Stewart in Georgia, whose troops have been deployed again to Iraq. She hosts the armywifetalkradio.com wife-to-wife mutual support forum "part Oprah, part Dear Abby."


ANNA NICOLE None of the three newscasts could resist following the saga of Smith's death. NBC's Mark Potter quoted her bereaved mother, Virgie Arthur, on rival network ABC's Good Morning America, theorizing that her daughter died the same way her grandson Daniel, Smith's 20-year-old son, died: "I think she had too many drugs." CBS' Kelly Cobiella was quite cold, even callous: "The body that brought Anna Nicole Smith money, men and fame went under the medical examiner's knife."

"So litigious in life, she may be equally so in death," ABC's David Muir (no link) mused. The cause of her death is still to be determined: an autopsy is to be followed by toxicology. The paternity of her infant daughter is still to be determined: three men are candidates for fatherhood, including--in the "zaniest moment of the day," according to NBC's Potter--a prince who is married to Zsa Zsa Gabor. Her estate is still to be determined: the lawsuit against her late husband's kin is unresolved. "I think she is going to get more famous than she has ever been," Vanity Fair's celebrity-watcher Dominick Dunne told ABC.


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 two examples were Boston-related: Harvard University has appointed a new president, the first woman in its history…The head of the Cartoon Network resigned over the guerrilla marketing stunt that brought Beantown to a standstill last week.