CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 30, 2007
The weeklong standoff between London and Teheran over the 15 British sailors and marines held captive by Iran finally found a domestic angle. The Story of the Day was the rising global price of crude oil--and of gasoline at American filling stations. It was the day's only development that warranted coverage by a reporter on all three newscasts. NBC led with the price at the pump and CBS chose the frictions between Iran and Britain. ABC selected President George Bush's visit to disabled combat veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 30, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesIran benefits from rising global crude costsAnthony MasonNew York
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Oil, natural gas, gasoline pricesCost at the pump heads for $3 per gallonBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSIran military expansion feared in Persian GulfMore propaganda video of British sailors airedElizabeth PalmerLondon
video thumbnailCBSIran military expansion feared in Persian GulfBritish diplomacy, naval training criticizedDavid MartinPentagon
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Military combat casualties suffer disabilitiesPresident apologizes for Walter Reed conditionsJonathan KarlWhite House
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2008 Presidential race fundraising intensifiesCampaigns innovate to lead 1Q07 money rankingsJohn BermanNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Rudolph Giuliani campaignCronyism questions during tenure as NYC mayorDavid GregoryNew York
video thumbnailNBCRussia politics: President Vladimir Putin profiledWields centralized power, crushes opponentsJim MacedaMoscow
video thumbnailNBCPope John Paul II dies: may be named saintPossible miracle cure of French nun investigatedAnne ThompsonNew York
video thumbnailNBCCoffee gourmet chain Starbucks diversifiesMedia expansion includes music, movies, booksJohn LarsonSeattle
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
PERSIAN GULF FUELS OIL The weeklong standoff between London and Teheran over the 15 British sailors and marines held captive by Iran finally found a domestic angle. The Story of the Day was the rising global price of crude oil--and of gasoline at American filling stations. It was the day's only development that warranted coverage by a reporter on all three newscasts. NBC led with the price at the pump and CBS chose the frictions between Iran and Britain. ABC selected President George Bush's visit to disabled combat veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Crude oil was the angle chosen by CBS' Anthony Mason. He noted that the very tension fomented by Iran's refusal to release its British prisoners was creating "an economic opportunity," increasing income from its exports by more than $4 per barrel in the past week. Mason called it "profit from fear." Fully 20% of the globe's oil consumption ships through the Straits of Hormuz at the southern end of the Persian Gulf. Shutting those straits would increase the cost of a barrel from $65 to $100 "in a heartbeat."

The cost of domestic gasoline was the angle preferred by NBC and ABC. ABC's Betsy Stark (subscription required) noted that the price at the pump normally spikes at this time of year anyway, as refineries switch from winter to summer blends, "but the hostage standoff with Iran has inflicted a double whammy on prices" with the national average price for a gallon at $2.61, already 11c higher than this time last year. Stark added that motorists are apt to conserve fuel once average prices exceed $3. NBC's Andrea Mitchell added that the seasonal bottleneck is compounded this year by fires at refineries in Indiana and Texas.


LACK OF UNDERSTATEMENT Iran released yet another piece of propaganda videotape through al-Alam TV with a soundbite by a Royal Marine. This video, ABC's Jim Sciutto pointed out, was edited to make the phrase "apologize" appear, after a jumpcut, next to the phrase "entering your waters without permission" and was accompanied by an unidiomatic letter, indicating dictation by a non-English speaker. CBS' Elizabeth Palmer reckoned that the standoff has been orchestrated by the "hardline elite" Revolutionary Guard, which answers to Iran's religious rulers--so the "provocative" President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "seems to have been sidelined."

After Palmer characterized the London government as "already outraged" and Prime Minister Tony Blair's mood as "incredulous," her colleague David Martin consulted Carter Administration hands from the 1979 Teheran hostage crisis. They found Britain's UN-based diplomacy "heavy-handed" and counterproductive. Jimmy Carter's State Department spokesman Hodding Carter saw Blair making the same mistakes his team made almost 30 years ago, beating his breast and making public declarations. "In a hostage crisis, less is more," Martin mused.


HE IS SORRY NOW ABC made President Bush's twelfth trip to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center its lead--because this was his first since The Washington Post exposed the squalid conditions for disabled out-patients at the hospital six weeks ago. ABC's Jonathan Karl (subscription required) emphasized the "rare public apology" by the President: "The system failed you and it failed our troops. I apologize for what they went through and we are going to fix the problem." NBC's John Yang noted that an apology does not fix the problem: veterans' activists told him "the system is overwhelmed by more wounded than anticipated from a war that is lasting longer than anticipated."

On a related note, CBS' Sharyl Attkisson profiled Sean Knudsen, a National Guard sergeant, who is disabled from shrapnel wounds suffered in Tikrit in Iraq. On the battlefield he had been told his head wounds had earned him a Purple Heart medal--with its attendant superior healthcare benefits--but that citation was later disapproved by his commanding general. Knudsen is now on Capitol Hill lobbying for the honor he believes he won and on behalf of comrades he believes have been similarly shortchanged, "nobody knows how many more," Attkisson commented. "The Pentagon says it does not track how many Purple Hearts are disapproved."


OFF & RUNNING Both NBC and ABC went on the campaign trail. ABC's John Berman (subscription required) covered the so-called money primary: the competition to rank highest in the Federal Election Commission's report on quarter-by-quarter contributions. This week has seen a fundraising frenzy: nine held by John McCain, seven by Rudolph Giuliani, five by Hillary Rodham Clinton in just two days and so on. Mitt Romney's son has promised a 10% commission to student fundraisers who bring in at least $1,000. Would-be First Husband Bill Clinton runs spinning classes--$2,300 per stationery bicycle--at a New York City health club.

NBC's David Gregory followed up on The New York Times' front page investigation into Republican Giuliani's hiring techniques when he was Mayor of New York City. Did Giuliani know that Interstate Industrial Corp, a business run by his close aide Bernard Kerik, was suspected of ties to organized crime? Kerik became one of Giuliani's Commissioners of Police and was later recommended, strongly but unsuccessfully, by Giuliani for the post of Homeland Security Secretary, Gregory reminded us. Kerik is a potential "skeleton in Giuliani's closet." Meanwhile Giuliani himself sat down with ABC's Barbara Walters (no link) for a profile on 20/20. Walters inquired whether would-be First Wife Judith would attend his Cabinet meetings. "If she wanted to," he replied. ABC's Kate Snow, substitute anchor for Charles Gibson, read Giuliani's subsequent clarification: "My wife is not political but, as a nurse, she is interested in healthcare issues."


SOVEREIGNTY In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is supposed to leave office next year. NBC sent Jim Maceda In Depth to Moscow where he found Putin not acting like a man preparing to relinquish power. Maceda listed the excesses of Putin's so-called "sovereign democracy." He crushes opponents. He cracks down on protests. He controls the mass media. He jails or exiles oil oligarchs. He controls appointments of mayors and governors. "Critics call it dictatorship…but his approval ratings are soaring in the stratosphere." So Putin may overrule the constitution and stay in power--or he may rule "from behind the scenes," Maceda speculated ominously, showing a shot of Putin wearing mirrored sunglasses. The world "could be dealing with Putin's Russia for years to come."


LOOKING FOR A MIRACLE Vatican authorities introduced Sister Marie Simon-Pierre to the world's religion reporters. She is the French nun whose atrophied left arm was apparently cured of Parkinson's Disease after praying over the death of Pope John Paul II. If proven, that cure could constitute the posthumous miracle required as evidence of his saintliness. NBC's Anne Thompson covered the nun's story remotely from New York where she found an unimpressed lay worshipper at St Patrick's Cathedral, who suggested that JPII was holy enough to be a saint just because of "the way he brought people together." Thompson explained that a miracle had to be proven: "This is not a popularity contest."


SMELL THE COFFEE "Auto parts?" No. "Pizza delivery?" Negative. "Homeland Security?" Negative. Howard Schultz, the boss of Starbucks rattled off to NBC's John Larson the list of businesses that the coffee chain was choosing not to diversify into. At the moment its global network of 13,000 cafes in 39m nations is settling for expansion into music CDs, movie DVDs and bookselling. "How about Network TV?" Schultz suggested. "No." Larson assured us the executive "is kidding--but not completely." Starbucks has the world's largest system of wi-fi Internet hotspots and a potential viodeostream audience of 44m customers each week.


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: Zelnorm, the constipation prescription drug frequently advertised during the network news, has side effect safety problems…Attorney General Alberto Gonzales repeated that he has no memory of being involved in deliberations over the firing of eight federal prosecutors, despite his former aide's testimony to the contrary…NBC News' longtime Dallas bureau chief Jim Cummins has retired.