CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 07, 2007
Capitol Hill is turning into a prominent dateline. Just this week, both House and Senate hearings into military healthcare have made headlines and a Senate panel has probed the firing of federal prosecutors. Now both ABC and CBS again choose the Hill for their lead: a Senate inquiry into bank credit card abuses. Only saturation coverage from NBC, with anchor Brian Williams on day three of his reporting mission to Baghdad, blocked the banking hearings from the top spot. Singlehandedly, NBC made the War in Iraq the Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 07, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesBuild 40 small neighborhood security stationsBrian WilliamsBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesGI patrols face mortars, snipers in Sunni zonesRichard EngelBaghdad
video thumbnailABCIraq: soccer is passion throughout BaghdadChildren, professionals persist amid violenceJim SciuttoBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCRussian journalists targeted for assassinationAnother mystery death intimidates free pressJim MacedaMoscow
video thumbnailCBSBank credit, debit card rates, fees, chargesSenate panel on bankers' abuse of fine printSharyl AttkissonCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSMilitary personnel suffer mental health problemsVA psychiatric shortfall blamed for Mass suicideSharyn AlfonsiMassachusetts
video thumbnailABCVeterans Administration healthcare quality questionsNew patients' transition database plan shelvedBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailABCSexual offender ex-inmates post-release rulesAnti-recidivist residency restrictions spreadJim AvilaTexas
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Daylight Savings Time begins earlier than usualMany consumer digital devices not reprogramedNed PotterNew York
video thumbnailNBCGrand Canyon tourist attraction assailed as eyesoreHualapai Reservation builds Skywalk beyond rimJennifer LondonArizona
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
HEARINGS MAKE HEADLINES Capitol Hill is turning into a prominent dateline. Just this week, both House and Senate hearings into military healthcare have made headlines and a Senate panel has probed the firing of federal prosecutors. Now both ABC and CBS again choose the Hill for their lead: a Senate inquiry into bank credit card abuses. Only saturation coverage from NBC, with anchor Brian Williams on day three of his reporting mission to Baghdad, blocked the banking hearings from the top spot. Singlehandedly, NBC made the War in Iraq the Story of the Day.

NBC's Williams explained the system of Joint Security Stations that US and Iraqi forces have devised to try to pacify Baghdad. He flew by helicopter to the neighborhood of Karada with Gen John Campbell to explain the plan--and was clearly more impressed by its difficulty than by its accomplishments. He called them "small victories dwarfed by continuing major attacks." The Blackhawk had to "fly fast and low" to avoid gunfire--that same flight had been hit only yesterday. The police station was isolated, "a tiny piece of real estate in a much wider war." Translators have to work behind masks for fear of reprisals for collaboration. The general and the news crew had to hide for self-protection in a bombed-out building to wait for the flight back to base.

Meanwhile NBC's Richard Engel went on patrol in a "hardline Sunni neighborhood" in western Baghdad. The USArmy cavalry unit in which he was embedded was attacked by mortar fire and snipers--and none of the locals showed any interest in helping the soldiers root out the assailants. A resident explained: "The Americans are part of the problem. In four years they have brought assassinations and civil war. We still do not have gas or electricity. Why should I help them?" Williams checked in with Tim Russert back in Washington DC on the latest NBC News poll on popular sentiment about the prospects for victory in Iraq: 69% are pessimistic; 20% optimistic.

CBS did not file from Iraq but ABC did, and struck a less bleak note. Jim Sciutto offered an inspirational view of the bravery of Iraqi men and boys. Death squads may walk the streets and carbombs may tear markets apart--but the beautiful game is still beautiful. "Soccer! Just about any field or street will do."


PRESS GANGED Second only to Iraq, Russia is the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. NBC was the only network to assign a reporter to cover the funeral of Ivan Safronov, a military journalist who fell, suspiciously, from a fifth-floor window. "He knew too much about a shadowy arms deal with Iran and Syria, embarrassing to the Kremlin," Jim Maceda speculated. Since Vladimir Putin became President of Russia, Safronov is the 14th journalist to die there under mysterious circumstances. As for Russian television, criticizing Putin on TV "is like committing career suicide."


LITERACY TEST At that Senate hearing, Chase, Citibank and Bank of America were under fire. The credit card industry stood accused of raking in excess profits by devious use of the fine print in its contracts to hike interest rates, rack up penalty charges and impose extra fees. ABC's Lisa Stark (subscription required) focused on onerous fines for exceeding credit limits. CBS' Sharyl Attkisson told us about hidden automatic triggers for high interest rates. Consumer protection law stipulates that contracts must be written in the plain language that an eighth grader can understand. For NBC's In Depth Lisa Myers chose the enterprising angle of taking a camera crew to Harvard Yard to ask Ivy League college students to read impenetrable clauses aloud.

CBS followed up with a second story on debt. Anthony Mason looked at the strains in the real estate market caused by an increase in foreclosures as mortgage rates are adjusted upwards and housing values fall: an economist warned that these delinquencies "could prolong the slump another year." ABC had David Muir cover the same issue yesterday. Presumably, NBC will too when its stepped-up coverage of Iraq relaxes upon Williams' return.


WOUNDED BY WAR CBS devoted continued concerted attention to the plight of combat casualties. Bob Orr watched a House committee grill Army Surgeon General Kevin Kiley. It was "another brutal retelling of Walter Reed horror stories." Cynthia Bowers profiled Andrea Holldorf, an Iowa seamstress who is making denim comfort quilts from used blue jeans for the amputees at the Army Medical Center.

Sharyn Alfonsi illustrated the failure to treat mental illnesses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the tale of one suicidal Marine corporal in Massachusetts. Jeff Lucey was self-medicating his depression with alcohol so he checked himself into the local VA psychiatric hospital. The staff diagnosed him as a danger to himself yet told him they could not treat him until he was sober. Lucey's father found him dead in the cellar, hanging from a garden hose noose.

On ABC, Brian Ross Investigates exposed the failure of the Seamless Transition Taskforce, a database system designed to transfer the medical records of discharged military personnel automatically into the healthcare computers of the Veterans Affairs Department. Ross reported that STT was shelved two years ago when Veterans Secretary Jim Nicholson took over. The paperwork is to this day entered by hand.


MOLESTOR MOTEL The conclusion of the case of a Florida nine-year-old, kidnapped, raped and murdered by her ex-con next door neighbor, was the news hook for Jim Avila to take A Closer Look at sexual offenders for ABC. More neighborhoods impose zoning regulations that exclude these former inmates. As a result they are forced into their own ghettoes away from schools and daycare centers. Avila showed us one Iowa motel where convicted molestors, having served their time, are forced to room together. Such measures offer a sense of false security, an academic told Avila, since most sexual offenses are not committed by strangers but by members and friends of the family.


TURNING BACK THE CLOCK On Monday, CBS had Daniel Sieberg, its technology correspondent, warn us about the looming onset of Daylight Savings Time. This year the clocks move earlier than usual, so Sieberg warned us that many digital consumer devices have not been programmed to make the change. Now ABC's Ned Potter (subscription required) examined the rationale behind saving that daylight earlier. The theory is that if sunset occurs at a later hour, households will use less electricity in the evening. It is based on 30-year-old research that found that people rarely rise before dawn. Since then, Potter pointed out, more commuters are waking earlier, so any energy saved by a later sunset may be consumed before sunrise instead.

So the switch may not save any energy--and reprogramming all those digital devices by hand may cost $2bn economywide.


NO, NOT A CASINO The impoverished Hualapai Reservation in Arizona has one prime asset: a peerless view of the Grand Canyon. To capitalize on it, the Hualapai have commissioned a $40m Skywalk. It is a tube that juts out 70 feet beyond the canyon rim, some 4,000 feet above the riverbed at the base. For $25 a head, tourists can walk round this glass loop as if they were flying. Some conservationists object to it as an eyesore but it looked cool in Jennifer London's story for NBC--like Wile E Coyote must feel when he runs off the top of a mesa and looks down. Yikes!


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 lone example was the MegaMillions lottery jackpot. All three networks voiced over videotape of the half-winner in Georgia picking up his check for $116m, which amounts to $80m after taxes. These jackpot headlines reek of bait-and-switch. If the half-winner is taking home $80m, how come the entire prize is announced as $390m, almost five times as much?