CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 26, 2007
After taking time off last week for a press conference on his wife's ill health, the Presidential campaign of Democrat John Edwards received a payoff of maximum attention upon its resumption. The couple held the primetime spotlight on Sunday night, granting a 60 Minutes interview to CBS' Katie Couric. The return of cancer patient Elizabeth to the hustings was the Story of the Day as all three networks sent a female reporter to cover her. Edwards did not lead any of the newscasts, however. All three chose the latest research about heart disease as their top item.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 26, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBS2008 John Edwards campaignHis wife resumes grueling speaking scheduleSharyn AlfonsiCleveland
video thumbnailNBC2008 John Edwards campaignHis wife resumes grueling speaking scheduleJanet ShamlianCleveland
video thumbnailNBCJustice Department fires eight US AttorneysAtty Gnl Gonzales insists on his credibilityPete WilliamsWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSJustice Department fires eight US AttorneysLiaison to White House intends to take FifthJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailABC
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NFL former player Pat Tillman killed in combatPentagon report finds military brass of cover-upJonathan KarlPentagon
video thumbnailCBSNFL former player Pat Tillman killed in combatDetails of friendly fire death in AfghanistanDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesNew head of Central Command inspects troopsMartha RaddatzBaghdad
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Real estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseNC developer targeted sub-prime home buyersSteve OsunsamiNorth Carolina
video thumbnailABCHeart disease and cardiac arrests coverageAngioplasty stents overused, often unnecessaryJohn McKenzieNew York
video thumbnailNBCWives tend to maintain independent financesIncome, checking, savings separate from husbandCarl QuintanillaNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
C IS FOR CAMPAIGN After taking time off last week for a press conference on his wife's ill health, the Presidential campaign of Democrat John Edwards received a payoff of maximum attention upon its resumption. The couple held the primetime spotlight on Sunday night, granting a 60 Minutes interview to CBS' Katie Couric. The return of cancer patient Elizabeth to the hustings was the Story of the Day as all three networks sent a female reporter to cover her. Edwards did not lead any of the newscasts, however. All three chose the latest research about heart disease as their top item.

CBS' Couric replayed several soundbites from her interview--"Here you are staring at possible death." "Aren't we all, though?"--before introducing Sharyn Alfonsi's report from Cleveland: "She has not stopped or even slowed down." In five days, Edwards logged 6,600 miles and spoke in four cities. NBC's Janet Shamlian also aired a clip from 60 Minutes--"It is our intention to deny cancer any control over us"--to illustrate "a national discussion on illness, ambition and priorities." The Edwards Campaign recorded 12,000 supportive e-mails in the last four days. ABC's Barbara Pinto observed that Elizabeth received "even more media attention" than her husband. "There were doubters in the crowd who did not think Edwards should remain in the race--until they heard his wife."

As the reporting deadline for first quarter campaign fundraising looms, CBS' Alfonsi mentioned what she called "the rub…Will Democrats open their wallets for a candidate who may need to call it quits to care for his wife?" Couric replayed her own question about whether the disease helps or hurts the Edwards Campaign. "I have no idea," the former senator replied.


CREDIBILITY & INTEGRITY At NBC, Pete Williams claimed an Exclusive for his sit-down with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Williams asked Gonzales why he asserted that he had not participated in any deliberations about the firing even though he attended meetings at which decisions were made. Gonzales explained the distinction between "deliberations" and "recommendations to me." "I now know that people parse carefully the words that I use." Gonzales added that the White House played no role in "either adding names or taking off names" of prosecutors to be fired. He assured Williams that at the end of the day his credibility and integrity would be intact.

Meanwhile Monica Goodling, the Justice Department's liaison with the White House, has decided to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights when she testifies on Capitol Hill. ABC's Pierre Thomas called such testimony from a DoJ official "extremely rare, if not unheard of." From the White House, CBS' Jim Axelrod reported that one of Goodling's unnamed superiors, a "senior official," had already confessed to not being "entirely candid" to the Senate Judiciary Committee and he had blamed Goodling for his own error.


WEAK SAFETY All three networks assigned their Pentagon correspondents to the Inspector General's report into the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death. Tillman was the former NFL Cardinal who joined the commando fighters of the USArmy Rangers in Afghanistan and was killed by his own comrades. CBS' David Martin gave us a heads up Friday that the report would expose a cover-up by military brass of the fatal snafu. Martin's full report found that Tillman's bereaved father was left "in the dark at the nationally-televised memorial service."

All three networks aired the army's videotape reenactment of how Rangers traveling down a valley road reacted to Tillman's gunfire in surrounding hills, presuming it was a guerrilla ambush. "Tillman was awarded a Silver Star for bravery," noted NBC's Jim Miklaszewski. "The citation says he was killed under enemy fire." That has now been rewritten. ABC's Jonathan Karl (subscription required) claimed the report "definitively put an end to the myth" of a death in combat and called the army's apology to the Tillman family "heartfelt."

None of the correspondents reported on what the motive may have been for those nine officers, including four generals, to pretend that Tillman had acted more heroically than he actually had.


SHORT TERM THINKING ABC's Martha Raddatz brought us the day's only Iraq story, an Exclusive profile of the new head of Central Command as he inspected the troops. Admiral William Fallon's leadership is focused on the short and medium term: his officers "have to show results and fast." If any of his subordinates has a plan to improve life in Iraq over the long term he tells them to forget it. "Time is of the essence. It is now, now, now," Fallon told Raddatz. Fallon figures that without a dramatic improvement by year's end, Congress will bring US troops home before any long term benefits can kick in.


DESPERATE HOUSES Last week, CBS' Anthony Mason was the only reporter to cover the Senate hearings into the prospect of hundreds of thousands of homes facing foreclosure. Now ABC follows up with a series entitled The Homewreckers. Steve Osunsami (subscription required) picked up on an expose in The Charlotte Observer about North Carolina subdivisions developed for those with bad credit or insufficient income: homes were marketed for sale with a $1 down payment. There are 30 separate neighborhoods where as many as one fifth of all residents have lost their homes. "We call it the American nightmare," confessed one woman, whose equity in her home is worth negative $15,000.


PAIN IN THE CHEST The lead story on all three networks was inspired by a report in the New England Journal of Medicine on the overuse of angioplasty to treat blocked arteries. "Blockbuster news," punned ABC's John McKenzie. Routinely, heart patients are prescribed blood thinners and anti-cholesterol statin medicines but hundreds of thousands each year also have a stent balloon inserted to keep the artery open. Each stent costs $20,000-or-so to install yet the research found that, in non-emergency patients, it offers no extra benefit in reducing heart attacks or preventing death. A leading cardiologist told NBC's Tom Costello that this study is "a game changer for patient care."

ABC's in-house physician Timothy Johnson (no link) predicted "a real battle" among cardiologists, those who prefer surgical intervention and those that do not: "Cardiologists and hospitals have a lot, both professionally and moneywise, invested in this procedure…It is going to be real war." CBS' in-house physician Jon LaPook concluded less dramatically: "We may have more options than we thought in the treatment of heart disease."


NEW LOOK, OLD FLAWS NBC advertised the first day of its transmission in HDTV. Anchor Brian Williams joked about how much more scrutiny his facial pores will now get: "We are in the detail business, after all, and now you can see every last detail." At the same time NBC tweaked its graphics to be whiter and squarer, with upper-and-lower capitals replaced by uniform height. Presumably the less vertical, more horizontal look comports with the wider-screen format HDTV affords.

The first day of this new so-called detailed look was accompanied by a lazy lifestyle feature by CNBC's Carl Quintanilla and a sloppy q-&-a with in-house physician Nancy Snyderman that belied that claim. Snyderman referred to research that concludes that the more time toddlers spend in pre-school daycare the better their language becomes and the worse their attitude. I suppose that means they develop a smart mouth. Snyderman's report was called In Depth but was far from that. Since Snyderman offered no specifics of the study or detailed definition of its terms beyond "aggression, argumentative behavior, disruption" who knows?

And Quintanilla kicked off NBC's series The State of our Unions with that always irritating technique of illustrating current social trends with clips from TV sitcoms. More irritating than usual, the sitcoms Quintanilla referenced--Roseanne and I Love Lucy--had nothing to do with any current phenomenon. He reported that contemporary wives are more likely than the Roseanne Barrs and Lucille Balls of previous generations to "run two sets of books"--to earn their own income, have their own checking accounts and decide on their own spending. How much more likely than previous generations? How much more likely than their husbands? Who knows?


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: Iran continues to question 15 British sailors and marines over alleged violations of Persian Gulf territorial waters…onetime candidate Tom Vilsack endorses his former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton…inveterate communal rivals Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams met for the first time in Northern Ireland…Anna Nicole Smith died of a prescription drug overdose, an autopsy found.