CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 19, 2007
President George Bush returned to the cameras he faced exactly four years ago when he launched the invasion of Iraq to acknowledge that the war is still going on. He urged patience, courage and resolve: "We will accept no outcome but victory." The fourth anniversary of the war was the Story of the Day as CBS and NBC both led with coverage of Bush's TV address. ABC chose the internal situation in Iraq instead, unveiling its nationwide survey Where Things Stand.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 19, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush speech marks fourth year of warDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush speech marks fourth year of warJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailABC
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Iraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush speech marks fourth year of warMartha RaddatzWhite House
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesVignettes of some of 3,200 US military deadBill BlakemoreNew York
video thumbnailABCIraq: post-war reconstruction effortsNationwide survey of security, basic needsCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUS can quell violence but not achieve victoryDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesBaghdad security build-up proceeds slowlyAllen PizzeyBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCSudan civil war: ethnic cleansing in DarfurPresident al-Bashir claims genocide fabricationAnn CurryKhartoum
video thumbnailABC
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Airline travel: Airbus builds A-380 super-jumbo jetLufthansa makes test flights to JFK, LAXLisa StarkNo Dateline
video thumbnailCBSPet food for cats and dogs tainted, recalledToxins in wheat gluten caused kidney diseaseDebbye TurnerNew Jersey
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FOUR YEARS AND COUNTING President George Bush returned to the cameras he faced exactly four years ago when he launched the invasion of Iraq to acknowledge that the war is still going on. He urged patience, courage and resolve: "We will accept no outcome but victory." The fourth anniversary of the war was the Story of the Day as CBS and NBC both led with coverage of Bush's TV address. ABC chose the internal situation in Iraq instead, unveiling its nationwide survey Where Things Stand.

All three networks assigned their White House correspondents to the President's speech. NBC's David Gregory called Bush's words "measured--a far cry from the certainty with which he launched the war." He noted that the White House now uses "determined" to describe the President's demeanor, rather than "optimistic." White House aides told CBS' Jim Axelrod that "he remains absolutely dug in." Axelrod consulted the Washington Post's Bob Woodward for his reaction: sometimes the White House "treats reality almost as if it is wrong." Woodward called the Commander-in-Chief convinced that he is right. "As we have found before, Presidents work their will. And his will is to persist."

ABC's Martha Raddatz (subscription required) reminded us how hard it is to predict a war's future. She rehashed the Pentagon's original invasion plan: by now it envisaged a total US deployment in Iraq of 5,000 troops. The current level is 170,000.

NBC and ABC closed their newscasts with a broad view of the war. ABC's Bill Blakemore narrated a montage of vignettes to display the variety of personalities represented in the US military dead with the mournful refrain: "It is hard to get to know them all." NBC aired an unnarrated videotape compilation of the sights and sounds of the past four years, including a memento of its own fallen correspondent David Bloom.

CBS' closer was personal instead. Cynthia Bowers visited the lonely wife of an army reserve major, raising a pair of toddlers in an impersonal Illinois subdivision, while her husband is serving at Camp Anaconda in Iraq. The camp is nicknamed Mortaritaville because of its daily bombardment.


QUESTIONNAIRE ABC's Where Things Stand is an update of the November 2005 nationwide opinion poll that it conducted, along with the BBC and USA Today, in Iraq. More than 2,000 Iraqis were questioned at 450-or-so sampling points by about 100 interviewers. Only 42% said life is better now than it was four years ago under the dictator Saddam Hussein and only 26% said they feel safe in their own neighborhood. The survey listed 13 basic needs of daily life--electricity, potable water, healthcare and so on--and for each category a majority called the situation "quite bad" or "very bad."

ABC was clearly proud at having pulled off the survey: "Conducting the poll was terribly difficult given the security situation," anchor Charles Gibson asserted. He had polling director Gary Langer explain the methodology: how the interviewers were recruited and deployed; the high interviewee response rate; the precise random sampling procedure used to select respondents, down to which door to knock on and which household member to ask for. Terry McCarthy (at the tail of the Gibson videostream) described the logistics of getting around the country: road travel within ten miles of Baghdad is impossible for fear of kidnapping; domestic airline travel and the roads are easy in Kurdistan; the south requires British military escort.


BOOTS ON THE GROUND NBC and CBS examined the military situation. NBC's Tom Aspell discussed the morale of US troops at Camp Victory in the face of disaffection on the home front: "Many of them are from big military towns where they do not see much domestic opposition to the war." CBS' David Martin asserted that US troops can do nothing except "tamp down the violence at least for a while" pending a political settlement. NBC's Richard Engel observed that US military tactics belie their leaders' rhetoric: Gen David Petraeus says "there is no military solution" yet "that seems to be what the commanders continue to be focused on."

CBS' Allen Pizzey called the start of the fifth year of the war "well past" the date when Iraqi forces were supposed to take over their own security: "And so, four weary and bloodsoaked years on, the so-called Coalition of the Willing has become the Coalition of Those Who Are Stuck With It--American troops who cannot go home yet and Iraqi forces who have to learn to take their place."


KHARTOUM QUESTION TIME Ann Curry, newscaster on NBC's Today, has devoted herself to keeping Darfur in the headlines. Last November she traveled to the refugee camps of Chad to report on village arsons, raped women and war orphans. Now Curry is in Khartoum for an Exclusive interview with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. Confronted with evidence of 1,000 destroyed villages in Darfur, al-Bashir chose outright contradiction rather than the denial Curry anticipated.

Instead of denying his government's complicity in the rampage of the janjaweed militias, al-Bashir claimed that reports of widespread ethnic cleansing in Darfur were flat false. He alleged the same style of fabrication that Secretary of State Colin Powell had invoked at the UN Security Council to assert that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He extended the Iraq parallel further, insinuating that charges against his government were a precursor to intervention by an oil-hungry United States. As for all those rapes, al-Bashir told Curry: "It is not in the Sudanese culture or in the culture of the people of Darfur to rape. It does not exist."


GEARING UP Last week's #1 story--the ouster of those eight US Attorneys by the Justice Department--received q-&-a follow-ups on CBS and ABC but no mention at all on NBC. None of the networks filed a taped package. ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg focused on the looming Constitutional "showdown for a separation of powers battle" between the White House and investigators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Executive privilege is not even in the Constitution,' she pointed out, even though the Supreme Court agrees that "a President does have the right to confidential advice." CBS' Bob Schieffer saw a Hurricane-Katrina-style crisis: "Clearly political games were being played and worse, for the administration, it leaves the impression of incompetence--that nobody is running the store…Has the Justice Department become the new FEMA?"


LIKE A FERRARI CBS and NBC both showed a passing videotape clip of the completion of the transatlantic test flight of the A-380 superjumbo jet as it landed at JFK Airport. ABC went the whole hog, sending Lisa Stark (subscription required) for A Closer Look to Frankfurt so she could return with fellow aviation correspondents on Lufthansa's public relations dime: the 491 people on board allowed the manufacturer Airbus and the airline "to test boarding, catering, airplane systems." Pilot Juergen Raps bragged about the 1.2m pound plane: "You would think it moves like a bus or a truck but it moves like a Ferrari from Formula 1."


IT IS JOURNALISM! The Tyndall Report's final pick of the day should have been Anthony Mason's (no link) sly mix of blatant network cross promotion and satirical self-mockery. CBS' business correspondent was assigned to cover the impact on the economy of March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament, which happens to be broadcast by CBS Sports and whose live videostream is disrupting office work nationwide via cbssportsline.com. But as is so often the case, this broadcast sports story is not offered to online viewers: licensing restrictions are usually the hindrance to crossing platforms, which seems to mean that the future of sports news is in old media not in new media.

So, instead of jokes about sports, what about anxiety over pets? ABC and CBS both assigned a correspondent to the panic over tainted pet food. ABC's David Kerley (subscription required) told us that a single Canadian firm, Menu Foods, has recalled some 100 different brands of dog and cat food: "Wheat gluten from a new supplier may have been contaminated by mold or another toxin." CBS used Debbye Turner, in-house veterinarian at The Early Show: she called it "scary" that more than 60m packs of wet-style food have been recalled--all over "at least ten deaths" of animals with kidney failure.

Frankly Mason's observation was more interesting: "If you do feel guilty stealing work time for game time you could always just quit and get a job as a reporter. Then, when you are watching, you are working. It is not just goofing off--it is journalism!" But then, there are no pets in the Tyndall household for us to worry about.


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 methane coalmine explosion in Siberia killed dozens…the Supreme Court considered whether high schools can censor students' off-campus speech…the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay received a confession to the east Africa embassy bombings and the attack on the USS Cole in Aden Harbor.