CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 26, 2007
When Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Pakistan for talks with President Pervez Musharraf, the three networks treated his flying diplomacy radically differently. CBS ignored it altogether. NBC led from the White House with US worries that the war in Afghanistan is about to escalate. ABC traveled with the Vice President and focused on his fears about al-Qaeda. As a result of these mixed messages, Cheney's visit failed to attract enough attention to qualify as Story of the Day. Instead the most heavily covered was a story of wartime heroics from Vietnam in 1965.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 26, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingUS braces for spring offensive from PakistanDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailABCSuspected al-Qaeda leaders manhunt continuesVP Cheney urges crackdown on Waziristan basesJonathan KarlAfghanistan
video thumbnailABCSuspected al-Qaeda leaders manhunt continuesCIA briefed Pakistan's Musharraf on secret basesBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailCBSElectric utilities urged to reduce coal generationTXU privatized in $45bn deal, axes power plantsAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailABC
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2008 Al Gore candidacy speculation mountsWill global warming docu Oscar be springboard?Bill WeirLos Angeles
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesBattlefield medevac, ER surgery saves many livesRobert BazellBaghdad
video thumbnailABCMilitary combat casualties suffer disabilitiesVA rehabilitation shortfall for brain traumaCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSMedal of Honor recipients honoredVietnam War heroism by helicopter pilot in 1965Jerry BowenWashington State
video thumbnailNBCHistorical figure of Jesus Christ investigatedDiscovery TV docu challenges his resurrectionRon AllenNew York
video thumbnailCBSHistorical figure of Jesus Christ investigatedDiscovery TV docu challenges his resurrectionMark PhillipsLondon
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
CHENEY UPSTAGED When Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Pakistan for talks with President Pervez Musharraf, the three networks treated his flying diplomacy radically differently. CBS ignored it altogether. NBC led from the White House with US worries that the war in Afghanistan is about to escalate. ABC traveled with the Vice President and focused on his fears about al-Qaeda. As a result of these mixed messages, Cheney's visit failed to attract enough attention to qualify as Story of the Day. Instead the most heavily covered was a story of wartime heroics from Vietnam in 1965.

President George Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to Bruce Crandall, a combat helicopter pilot who saved the lives of 70 GIs by continually flying his Huey into a battle zone under heavy fire, 22 separate missions in all. His heroics were recreated in the movie We Were Soldiers. ABC's Martha Raddatz covered the ceremonies at the White House. NBC's Bob Faw narrated archival battlefield footage from the central highlands: "It was the first time the Vietnamese had so directly and fiercely challenged US forces." As part of CBS' American Heroes series, Jerry Bowen profiled the friendship between the two "gutsy chopper pilots" Randall and Ed Freeman, who won the Medal of Honor for the same battle five years ago. "Bruce is a good pilot--do not get me wrong--but he is the second-best pilot," said Ed. Bruce replied that "Ed was the second-best helicopter pilot in the army at the time."


TRIBE TRIBULATIONS VP Cheney was worried about the failure of the Islamabad government to control its northwestern provinces. President Musharraf signed a treaty last September withdrawing his military in exchange for a promise by local tribal chiefs to secure the border with Afghanistan. NBC focused on the failure of that treaty. Last week, Lisa Myers had demonstrated how open the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is. Now, David Gregory quoted Musharraf as acknowledging Cheney's concerns about "a spring offensive" in Afghanistan: "The Taliban claims it has a force 10,000 strong." Bush has offered Pakistan $785m in foreign aid and wants Musharraf to resume his crackdown. "It really is not very likely that this pressure is going to work," Andrea Mitchell (at the tail of the Gregory videostream) observed. "Musharraf knows that the US needs him as much as he needs the US."

ABC focused on the new freedom found by al-Qaeda to regroup now that Pakistani forces have withdrawn. Jonathan Karl, traveling with Cheney, was told by unidentified "US officials" that they are "alarmed" by the revitalized training camps in Waziristan. Brian Ross in New York reported that Cheney had a top CIA spy fly into Islamabad to "personally present" Musharraf with secret satellite images pinpointing the location of the bases. Ross' unnamed spook sources told him that both a foiled plot against airlines in London and the successful plot against London subway trains were hatched there. Ross predicted that the US would "violate the sovereignty of a supposed ally" and infiltrate to attack the bases without Musharraf's permission.


BREATHE EASIER CBS offered a totally different set of priorities. Not only did it ignore Cheney altogether, it also chose to lead with a story that its two rivals ignored altogether: the $45bn buyout of a major Texas utility. The deal would be the biggest privatization in history, but Anthony Mason chose the environmental angle as more newsworthy than the financial one. The buyout consortium would "make it go green." As part of the deal, TXU would cancel plans to build eight coal-burning power plants and become the nation's largest purchaser of wind-generated electricity. Mason reminded us that burning coal, not gasoline, is the largest cause of greenhouse gas and that coal generates half the nation's electricity.


CONVENIENT SPRINGBOARD The green angle also led the post-Oscar buzz. Both CBS and ABC speculated on whether former Vice President Al Gore would use the Academy Award for his anti-global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth as a springboard for his third run for the White House. ABC's Bill Weir (subscription required) called Gore "bigger, looser" than he was in 2000, when he lost. Weir quoted Gore backer Jimmy Carter on ABC's This Week: "I have put so much pressure on Al to run that he has almost gotten aggravated." Gore's operatives told CBS' Gloria Borger (no link) to "check back this fall." If Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama were to falter, he could move then. "He is in no rush" since he already has name recognition and a fundraising network.


BROKEN BODIES Both ABC and NBC mounted major efforts to cover the medical catastrophes created by the conflict in Iraq. NBC's Robert Bazell started his Wounds of War series. Because of advances in military medicine many more combat casualties are dodging death than in previous wars. Bazell kicked off from Baghdad where doctors, nurses and medics "work with an intensity and dedication one never sees" in the trauma centers of the United States. He showed how soldiers' own first aid kit tourniquets, rapid medevacs and emergency surgery combine to keep 96% of the wounded alive--if lacking limbs.

ABC's former World News anchor Bob Woodruff was one of those kept alive after brain injury. Charles Gibson showed us a grisly CT scan of Woodruff's unconscious head. Part of his skull had been cut out and his face was riddled with shrapnel. Gibson previewed Woodruff's primetime special To Iraq and Back with A Closer Look at healthcare for combat veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury: follow-up rehab therapy from Veterans Affairs is "severely deficient." A brain-damaged sergeant's wife called searching for the right VA care "like a scavenger hunt."


WE REPEAT A PET PEEVE It was a throwaway line in a trivial Life Line report by Nancy Snyderman on NBC but it should be protested anyway, just as we did against CBS' Jon LaPook last week. Snyderman debriefed anchor Brian Williams about a study that found that excessive doses of over-the-counter pain relievers are bad for men's blood pressure. She suggested that men who are self-medicating excessively should check in with their doctor. She should not use that mantra so thoughtlessly. With tens of millions of Americans with no regular access to a healthcare, Williams should have challenged his in-house doctor: "And what about the uninsured who are self-medicating, what should they do?"


IS HE RISEN? The public relations push by the Discovery Channel for James Cameron's TV documentary The Last Tomb of Christ is firing on all cylinders. ABC sent Wilf Dinnick (subscription required) to the Talpiyot district of Jerusalem where the documentary speculates the proclaimed Messiah's unresurrected bones were buried. With additional claims that Jesus lived with Mary Magdalene after he was crucified, NBC's Ron Allen reminded us that "The Da Vinci Code told a similar story as fiction. This project claims with new DNA and forensic evidence to uncover fact." That novel was mentioned by CBS' Mark Phillips too. He called the documentary's methods from "The Da Vinci Code via Indiana Jones School of Archeology." Phillips concluded: "Once before the Discovery Channel tried to sell audiences a story about another ancient box of bones with a Jesus connection. The man at the center of that claim is now facing trial for fraud."


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: gasoline prices are starting to rise again…the coalition government in Baghdad may have reached a deal to share oil revenues between the provinces…the jury deliberating in the Lewis Libby perjury trial is down to eleven members…Queen Elizabeth II may invite Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren of The Queen to tea at Buckingham Palace.