CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 06, 2007
After ten days of deliberation, the jury in the Lewis Libby perjury trial returned a guilty verdict. The conviction of the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney for obstruction of justice and three counts of lying was the Story of the Day. All three networks led with the verdict: ABC used its justice correspondent, NBC its White House correspondent, CBS chose the political beat.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 06, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSCIA undercover agent's name leaked: perjury trialVP Cheney's former aide Lewis Libby convictedGloria BorgerWashington DC
video thumbnailABC
sub req
CIA undercover agent's name leaked: perjury trialVP Cheney's former aide Lewis Libby convictedPierre ThomasWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCCIA undercover agent's name leaked: perjury trialVP Cheney's former aide Lewis Libby convictedKelly O'DonnellWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCShiite Moslem pilgrimage to KarbalaBombs massacre pilgrims in their tents at HillahRichard EngelBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesMood of troops at Camp Victory assessedBrian WilliamsBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSMilitary combat casualties suffer disabilitiesSenate panel probes systemwide hospital flawsDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailABCMilitary combat casualties suffer disabilitiesSmaller VA hospitals encumbered by bureaucracyBob WoodruffNew York
video thumbnailCBSJustice Department fires eight US AttorneysSenate panel probes political retaliation chargeSharyl AttkissonCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSSleep disorders, deprivation and insomniaMenopausal women experience sleeplessness surgeKelly WallaceNew Jersey
video thumbnailABCInternet encyclopedia is open to user-contributorsWikipedia expert exposed as fake professorDan HarrisNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
LEWIS LIBBY LIED After ten days of deliberation, the jury in the Lewis Libby perjury trial returned a guilty verdict. The conviction of the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney for obstruction of justice and three counts of lying was the Story of the Day. All three networks led with the verdict: ABC used its justice correspondent, NBC its White House correspondent, CBS chose the political beat.

The circumstances of the Libby trial were convoluted, to say the least. This is how each network tried to cut through the inside-the-Beltway minutiae, public relations spin, damage control, controled leaks and cover-up. "The heart of this case involves a political dispute," CBS' Gloria Borger asserted, describing the feud between Cheney and former diplomat turned Iraq War critic Joseph Wilson. "Cheney wanted Wilson discredited…and he asked Libby to do it." ABC's Pierre Thomas (subscription required) said the case "at its heart" was about a fixated Vice President "obsessed with pushing back against critics" who "micromanaged the media response." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell focused on Libby himself, "the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Ronald Reagan era and the Iran-contra scandal" who may have been the "fall guy" for political operative Karl Rove.

Next each network had the anchor of its Sunday morning interview program offer political analysis. Tim Russert (at the tail of the O'Donnell videostream) of NBC's Meet the Press had pride of place since he had been a key witness for the prosecution: "I take no joy in this…but when you are asked to testify under oath, you tell the truth." Bob Schieffer of CBS' Face the Nation saw adverse implications for Cheney. Why would Libby lie? Schieffer wondered. "Clearly because he did not want what was going on in the Vice President's office to come out." For ABC, George Stephanopoulos (no link) of This Week told substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas that "the White House is going to try to hold the line on not commenting about this." Will George Bush pardon Libby? "They are not going to rule it out." Will Rove be fired? "No. It ain't gonna happen." Will Cheney resign? "No plans. No plans at all."


IN THEIR TENTS NBC split is anchoring for a second day, with Campbell Brown in New York and Brian Williams in Baghdad, covering the US military base at Camp Victory. Yet the major story from Iraq did not concern US troops. This is the season of a major pilgrimage by Shiite Moslems to the holy city of Karbala. "Pilgrims are vulnerable targets. More than one million are now on the roads," noted NBC's Richard Engel after ten coordinated attacks took place across Iraq. Most deadly was a double bombing in Hillah, where more than 100 devotees were massacred as they rested in their tents. "Conspicuous by its absence was security," CBS' Allen Pizzey protested. "How can these civilians not be a priority for the much-talked-about Baghdad security plan?"


WAR SPONSORS CBS' Pizzey and NBC's Engel both covered the first day of the 82nd Airborne Division's patrols in the Sadr City zone of Baghdad yesterday. Now ABC's Terry McCarthy (subscription required) played catch up. He saw "commerce is making a comeback; markets are more crowded; some stores that closed are reopened; and death squad killings are down." For US troops, Sadr City "has been a pleasant surprise" as the militias have melted away.

Back at the desert camp, NBC's Williams contrasted soldiers' soundbites evincing enthusiasm for their mission with an obvious yearning to be home. American corporate logos are plastered all over the facilities at Camp Victory as if it were a NASCAR racer: Popeyes, Burger King, Cinnabon, Seattle's Best, Subway, Pizza Hut--"emphasis on hut." When one sergeant finished telling Williams how committed she was to saying the course in Iraq, she could not hide her glee that she had only three more days in Baghdad before she was homeward bound.


TASKFORCE The President addressed the scandal of the military healthcare system for disabled combat casualties. He appointed Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health, and Bob Dole, former senator and disabled war veteran, to head a taskforce. CBS' David Martin called the hospital system "overwhelmed by the complexity of today's battlefield injuries, particularly Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." Some 31,000 casualties have come from battle in the army alone. Martin called the taskforce's job "a massive undertaking."

On ABC, TBI patient Bob Woodruff showed off the sheaf of e-mail messages he has received from fellow casualties complaining of therapy failures at local VA hospitals after initial first-rate trauma care. His reporting is especially poignant since he has not fully recovered his diction. Some misplaced emphasis and slight slurring--"We busy, so busy, for the past couple of weeks"--add power to his crusading insistence on more federal resources: "This has to begin to change."

NBC's Lisa Myers remained focused on the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that triggered the wider story. She traced the poor upkeep of the hospital's out-patient quarters to the army's decision last year to outsource maintenance: 350 unionized federal workers were replaced by 100 privately employed. The contractor, International American Products, was the same firm that failed to deliver ice properly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.


MIDTERMS Only CBS assigned a correspondent to Senate hearings into the Justice Department's decision to fire eight US Attorneys. Sharyl Attkisson pointed out that federal prosecutors are usually replaced when a Presidential term ends, not when it has two more years to run. The former prosecutors testified "they endured unprecedented and improper pressure from Congressional Republicans to prosecute cases for political purposes." The Bush Administration's defense was that the eight were fired "for performance not politics."


NOT REAL The Tyndall Report is not amused by reporters using clips of fictional movie or television characters to illustrate real life trends. But at least, when Kelly Wallace showed us a Sex and the City clip back in January to illustrate the growing number of bachelorettes in the population, the image fit the story. Wallace's latest example is simply unacceptable. In order to illustrate CBS' closing feature on insomnia--the incidence of sleeplessness among women increases during menopause--Wallace's twentysomething fictional clip was utterly irrelevant. Sex and the City again!

UPDATE: Brian Montopoli (text link) at CBS' Public Eye shares our beef with that Sex and the City fixation.


NUTTY PROFESSOR For its closer, ABC assigned Dan Harris to have some fun with wikipedia.org. Harris brought his audience up to speed on how wikis work: "Anyone--you, me, my 87-year-old grandfather, my five-year-old nephew can edit." Then he updated us on Essjay, the so-called theology professor--presumably a Jesuit--who supposedly contributed to 16,000 encyclopedia entries. Now unmasked as a 24-year-old college dropout, Harris wondered whether Essjay's expertise on Justin Timberlake and Star Wars trivia should have been a tipoff that something was fishy. Harris did not, however, cite a single extant error in wikipedia.org that resulted from the impersonation.


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: a pair of earthquakes on Sumatra killed 70…on Wall Street, the stock market rebounded from last week's slump.