CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 23, 2007
The political battle inside-the-Beltway over the Iraq War continues. Last week, a Republican filibuster succeeded in blocking a resolution to oppose President George Bush's troop build-up in Baghdad. Now Democrats in the Senate, led by Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden, are suggesting a second tactic: to rescind the 2002 resolution that authorized the President to go to war in the first place. Biden's plan was Story of the Day and the lead item on CBS.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 23, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate to revisit war authorization debateJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate to revisit war authorization debateDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailABCWar on Terrorism: US mounts global campaignVP Cheney insists that Iraq is crucial frontJonathan KarlSydney
video thumbnailNBCMilitary combat casualties suffer disabilitiesSecretary Gates inspects Walter Reed facilitiesJohn YangWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCElderly reside in assisted living facilitiesVA offers subsidies to some war veterans, widowsAnne ThompsonDallas
video thumbnailCBSNATO expansion in eastern Europe opposed by RussiaPresident Putin responds with Cold War rhetoricElizabeth PalmerMoscow
video thumbnailABC
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Automobile fuel efficiency standards, techniquesRevised EPA test gets lower, realistic mileageDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignIs his opposition to negativity hypocritical?Gloria BorgerWashington DC
video thumbnailABCAirline travel: anti-terrorism security precautionsTest X-ray machine to see through clothing in AzHeather NauertPhoenix
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Celebrity starlets' woes make tabloid headlinesPre-teen girls aware of dysfunctional behaviorKate SnowNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
DEMOCRATS DEVISE PLAN B The political battle inside-the-Beltway over the Iraq War continues. Last week, a Republican filibuster succeeded in blocking a resolution to oppose President George Bush's troop build-up in Baghdad. Now Democrats in the Senate, led by Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden, are suggesting a second tactic: to rescind the 2002 resolution that authorized the President to go to war in the first place. Biden's plan was Story of the Day and the lead item on CBS.

CBS' Jim Axelrod reminded us that Bush was sent to war by Congress "primarily to confront Saddam Hussein and to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction program." Biden told him: "That mission is finished. Done"--he did not add "accomplished." Biden's new authorization would confine the US military role to attacking terrorists and training soldiers. Would it pass? NBC's David Gregory found "no evidence that it will overcome Republican opposition." So that would make it just another Biden talking point.

ABC's Jonathan Karl is traveling round the Pacific Rim with Dick Cheney. For the second time in three days, Karl snared an Exclusive with the Vice President. Wednesday (subscription required), Cheney said he welcomed the British troop pullout from Iraq. Now, the Veep returned to the theme of the Global War on Terrorism. He explained that the United States should not follow Britain's lead because that would undermine the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. "We do not get to quit just because it is tough…al-Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can undermine our will. That is their fundamental underlying strategy."

Preparing for his Sunday show This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos (no link) asked former President Jimmy Carter to respond to Cheney's worldview: "His batting average is abysmally low. He has not been right on hardly anything." To call for a change in policy in Iraq is "obviously not playing into the hands of al-Qaeda." CBS' Lara Logan was also preparing for Sunday. On 60 Minutes she will profile the Appeal for Redress petition protest, a 1,000-strong group of active duty military organizing a troops out movement.


VETERANS AFFAIRS NBC has been most persistent all week in publicizing the Washington Post scoop exposing substandard outpatient conditions for disabled combat casualties at DC's Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Andrea Mitchell toured the facilities Tuesday and John Yang covered the reaction of army brass Wednesday. Now NBC's lead story was Yang's coverage of the in-person visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Yang called this "a week of hurried repair work and painting--all put on display for reporters, lawmakers and top Pentagon officials--as the army engages in a frantic mission of damage control."

NBC's series Trading Places stayed on the theme of veterans' care. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers subsidies for residents of assisted living facilities. It only applies to those who fought in wars, and their widows, not those who served during peacetime. And not all of them are eligible--they have to be financially strapped, Anne Thompson explained. But the benefit is "little known" and many who qualify do not receive it, only 143,000 out of "perhaps hundreds of thousands."


CHILLY Out of the blue, in this week when yet again Iraq has commanded the lion's share of foreign coverage, CBS decided to turn its attention to Russia. Elizabeth Palmer went to the Kremlin for Defense of the Fatherland Day where she talked to Mikhail Gorbachev, "the last Cold Warrior." Secretary Gates had stated publicly that the "unpredictability of Russia and China" was the reason why the United States maintains its military strength at a permanently high level. Gorbachev called Gates' claim "the last straw" following NATO's decision to install radar and anti-missile defenses in the Czech Republic and Poland. "Russia's generals were furious," observed Palmer. In retaliation, "Russia is threatening to build new missiles and point them at Europe" and has canceled a jetliner contract with Boeing.


UNREALISTIC ABC chose non-military matters for its lead. The Environmental Protection Agency is about to make its mileage test for automobiles more realistic. The old EPA test envisaged "the driving habits of a 90-year-old librarian," as Dean Reynolds (subscription required) put it, with no air conditioning use, sluggish acceleration and stately cruising speeds. CBS' Sandra Hughes concentrated on the resulting reduction in mileage ratings for hybrids, which use fuel efficiency as their key sales pitch. The new test, however, applies to all models and among non-hybrid cars, contemporary mileage is "quite similar" to that of 20 years ago, Reynolds observed. "That should be the sticker shock."


QUIET TOM No network assigned a correspondent to the quiet departure of Tom Vilsack from the Presidential race. The onetime candidate explained that he could not attract attention or campaign funds. That would be because the likes of Barack Obama are dominating the coverage.

CBS' Gloria Borger summarized the dilemma facing Obama's war room in the face of charges of hypocrisy from Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp: "How can you call for an end to partisan bickering knowing you need to hit back if your opponent kicks you around?" She suggested that "old political con--act like you are above it all while your campaigns slug it out in the muck." The beneficiary of this feuding on center stage could be candidate John Edwards, mused Borger, "waiting in the wings." NBC's Tim Russert (at the tail of the Gregory videostream) added that Clinton and Obama are testing each other's mettle while targeting the same base to raise campaign funds. He paraphrased their pitch: "Only one of us is going to make it. You had better bet right."


LADY GODIVA The fantasy of being able to see people naked in public by making their clothes invisible is so deeply ingrained that it is a surprise that the new anti-terrorist security apparatus at Phoenix Airport is not getting even more publicity. CBS' Bob Orr filed a story on the Back Scatter X-ray machine yesterday and now ABC had Heather Nauert (subscription required) play catch-up on the "virtual strip search."

Come on NBC! Don't you think your viewers want to see digital scans that produce nude silhouettes?


BALDFACED "Britney! Paris! Lindsay!" declared ABC's Kate Snow (subscription required) . "We live in a world where the average young girl now knows about hard-partying stars." Fair enough that all three networks could not resist the Anna Nicole Smith story yesterday. Its insignificance was genuinely fascinating. No such tolerance is deserved for Snow's disingenuous effort to find some news value in Britney Spears' bald head. "For parents of this fast-moving infosavvy generation it can feel like a losing battle against a barrage of images," was the stretch Snow used, trying vainly to convert those tabloid headlines into anxieties about depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders and premature promiscuity.

Just because Spears was formerly a Mouseketeer, that does not elevate her sordid dysfunction into a legitimate health threat to the current generation of girls.


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 pair of examples include the aforementioned departure of former Governor Vilsack…and the arrest in Iraq by US troops of the son of the leading Shiite politician abdul-Aziz al-Hakim--and his subsequent apology-filled release.