CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 19, 2007
The first test by fire of President George Bush's expanded military plan for Iraq was the Story of the Day. A police station being used by the US military as a forward operating base in the Sunni Arab town of Tarmiyah came under daytime attack by a coordinated trio of carbombs. The fighting, in which two GIs were killed, was the lead item on all three network newscasts. ABC and CBS both recreated the scene using computer animation. NBC's lead, by Jane Arraf in Baghdad, consisted only of a stand-up.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 19, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUS military outpost in Tarmiyah carbomb attacksLara LoganBaghdad
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Iraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUS military outpost in Tarmiyah carbomb attacksMiguel MarquezBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCSuspected al-Qaeda leaders manhunt continuesTraining bases reorganized in WaziristanAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSSuspected al-Qaeda leaders manhunt continuesTraining bases reorganized in WaziristanJim AxelrodWhite House
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Gang violence by inner city teenagers escalatesFBI breaks up murderous NJ franchise of BloodsPierre ThomasWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCAirline travel: disruptions, delays, cancelationsDiscount carrier jetBlue overwhelmed, apologizesTom CostelloWashington DC
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Heart disease and cardiac arrests coverageAHA issues prevention guidelines for womenJohn McKenzieNew York
video thumbnailCBSAdult children are caretakers for aging parentsBabyboomers suffer family financial strainsSandra HughesCalifornia
video thumbnailNBCAlzheimer's Disease coverageFamily-style group home helps demented patientsKevin TibblesMinnesota
video thumbnailCBSMedia lifestyle guru Martha Stewart under fireTries to trademark name of her home villageAnthony MasonNew York State
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
TARGET TARMIYAH The first test by fire of President George Bush's expanded military plan for Iraq was the Story of the Day. A police station being used by the US military as a forward operating base in the Sunni Arab town of Tarmiyah came under daytime attack by a coordinated trio of carbombs. The fighting, in which two GIs were killed, was the lead item on all three network newscasts. ABC and CBS both recreated the scene using computer animation. NBC's lead, by Jane Arraf in Baghdad, consisted only of a stand-up.

The Tarmiyah attack was significant because it dramatized two key elements in the Bush build-up. First, by concentrating forces in Baghdad, CBS' Lara Logan suggested, it makes sense that insurgents would look for targets elsewhere: "This was a rare and brazen assault on a US base carried out in broad daylight." Second, deploying troops in neighborhoods 24-hours-a-day makes them more vulnerable: "These small bases are not as well protected," noted NBC's Richard Engel. ABC's Martha Raddatz (no link) consulted her USArmy sources. They told her that that such forward deployment is the correct military move but is probably being adopted too late in the war. When the inevitable extra casualties occur, "patience will grow thin" back in this country.

From Baghdad itself, ABC's Miguel Marquez (subscription required) reported that the Islamic State of Iraq had taken unverified credit for the attack. He called them "an al-Qaeda group." The Shiite militias, by contrast, have "stopped fighting. They have decided to wait out the process," NBC's Engel added. Their tactic is to let the US military and Sunni insurgents battle it out, then "consolidate power, wait for the Americans to leave and then just take over."


WILD EAST Both CBS and NBC decided to follow-up on the President's press conference of last week when he called the northwest frontier of Pakistan "wilder than the wild west." NBC's Andrea Mitchell replayed a Bush soundbite from the campaign trail last October: "Absolutely we are winning. al-Qaeda is on the run." Her anonymous sources confessed to her: the President's claim "was not accurate then, in the heat of the fall campaign."

Unnamed "western intelligence sources" told CBS' Jim Axelrod that the province of Waziristan now hosts restored training bases for al-Qaeda militants, probably under the direct control of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second-in-commend to Osama bin Laden. A deal between Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and local tribal leaders to police the Pakistan-Afghanistan border "has been ineffective," Axelrod understated.

None of the three networks assigned a correspondent to the bigger Pakistani story of the day, the bombs that killed 66 on the so-called Friendship Express passenger train outside New Delhi en route to Pakistan. The train embodied the progress towards peace being made by India and its neighbor.


BLOODIED ABC chose violence of a domestic nature. Pierre Thomas (subscription required) kicked off Mean Streets, a series on an upsurge in urban teenage gangs. He obtained undercover FBI video from East Orange NJ where Tewhan Massacre Butler of the iiBloods tried to attract new teenage recruits: "I am facing the rest of my life in prison for every one of you all." The FBI told Thomas that this single New Jersey gang committed two dozen murders over a three-year period before prosecutors used racketeering laws to "dismantle this franchise" sending 42 members to prison a year ago.


GROUND DOWN The continuing woes at jetBlue Airlines attracted the attention of all three networks: "This darling of low-cost carriers has stumbled so badly," declared NBC's Tom Costello. Service is still shut down in eleven cities following the disruption caused by last Wednesday's icestorm. CBS' Bob Orr noted that the discount airline "did not have enough employees trained to handle emergency rescheduling" and ABC's David Muir called its internal communications system "bare bones…pilots could not get their assignments." CEO David Neeleman continued to apologize: "It was a company that grew too big" to handle the winter weather he told ABC.


PUMPED UP Presidents' Day created a vacuum of political and financial news and CBS' Katie Couric took the holiday off. In stepped the American Heart Association, which received full coverage for its publication of a set of guidelines for women about how to prevent heart disease. Much of it was frankly not newsworthy. Tips on improved diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight are hardly headline grabbers. NBC anchor Brian Williams was not impressed: "A lot of this seems so basic," he told reporter Robert Bazell.

ABC's John McKenzie (subscription required) noticed that the AHA was standing up to the diet supplement industry: " Vitamin pills do not help prevent heart disease. Folic acid does not either." When CBS' in-house physician Jon LaPook covered recommendations to take preventative aspirin, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell asked if he had any cautions. "You have to check with your doctor before taking any new medicine, including aspirin," LaPook answered.

This is a pet peeve at the Tyndall Report. Medical correspondents routinely give such advice and, when they do, the follow-up question should always be: "What should uninsured patients who do not have a regular doctor do?" LaPook's assumption of universal coverage should not go unchallenged.


GETTING OLD All last week, NBC told us about the plight of the elderly in its Trading Places series. Not only is NBC continuing its focus on that demographic--Kevin Tibbles visited the family-style Rakhma House that cares for Alzheimer's patients in Minnesota--but now CBS is joining in with The Caregivers. Sandra Hughes profiled a Lancaster Cal member of the so-called sandwich generation, who cares for growing children and aging parents simultaneously, "an exhausting full-time business." Maryanne Winchell spends up to four hours a day looking after her ailing parents. She has nothing saved for her own retirement or for her children's college.

As vicious as those teenagers were in Pierre Thomas' series on ABC, at least the Mean Streets offered some demographic variety.


NAME BRAND CBS' Anthony Mason offered a celebrity closer on ex-con Martha Stewart. The media lifestyle guru is having a spat with her neighbors in the New York village of Katonah. Stewart markets a line of furniture, lights, paints and furnishings "inspired by the beautiful landscape of the region in which I live" and named after the village. She now wants to protect her Katonah brand but the townsfolk object to having the name turned into a trademark. The tiff is terribly polite: No Think You Martha say the protest signs, but "make no mistake," Mason warned, "them's fightin' words."


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, as mentioned, were led by the bombing of the Friendship Express passenger train in India. In addition, rival satellite radio operators Sirius and XM are planning to end their competition and merge into a single service.