CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM APRIL 03, 2007
President George Bush came to the Rose Garden to blast Congressional Democrats for their insistence that he start preparing to pull troops out of Iraq. He called them "irresponsible." He asserted that they would abandon their pullout bill as soon as his veto was upheld and then agree to fund his policy without argument. His statements constituted the Story of the Day even though they received a mixed reception from the networks. CBS and NBC considered the President their lead. ABC did not even assign him a reporter, offering a soundbite of his reiterated veto threat only in passing.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR APRIL 03, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush calls funds limits irresponsibleDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesDemocrats undeterred by funds bill veto threatWyatt AndrewsWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCMilitary personnel face family, personal problemsFort Hood copes with accelerated troop rotationDon TeagueTexas
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesMassive security for politicians' market visitMartin SeemungalBaghdad
video thumbnailABC
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Iraq: sectarian Sunni vs Shiite violenceLull in conflict in five Baghdad neighborhoodsTerry McCarthyBaghdad
video thumbnailABCPakistan guerrilla forces based in BaluchistanJundullah cross-border sabotage raids into IranBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailNBCAIDS: HIV infection, mortality increases worldwideIran admits problem despite sexual puritanismIan WilliamsTeheran
video thumbnailABCSolomon Islands hit by earthquake tsunamiAid delivery begins for thousands of homelessDavid WrightLondon
video thumbnailCBSFrench passenger train sets world speed recordExceeds 350 mph in marketing showcase effortMark PhillipsLondon
video thumbnailABCAutomobile fuel efficiency standards, techniquesUPS pioneers fuel-saving no-left-turn routesBrian RooneyLos Angeles
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
ROSE GARDEN RESPONSE President George Bush came to the Rose Garden to blast Congressional Democrats for their insistence that he start preparing to pull troops out of Iraq. He called them "irresponsible." He asserted that they would abandon their pullout bill as soon as his veto was upheld and then agree to fund his policy without argument. His statements constituted the Story of the Day even though they received a mixed reception from the networks. CBS and NBC considered the President their lead. ABC did not even assign him a reporter, offering a soundbite of his reiterated veto threat only in passing.

CBS covered both sides of the political dispute. From the White House Bill Plante assessed the President's mood as "angry" as he "lashed out at Democrats." As for the Democrats' leadership, in-house historian Douglas Brinkley told Wyatt Andrews that they have nothing to lose by confronting the President. Brinkley characterized the Democrats' view thus: "Bush is not just a lame duck President but is irrelevant and wrong." Andrews suggested that the President is creating an artificial emergency, ignoring the Pentagon's ability to juggle its books. The true deadline for the extra spending vote may be mid-July not mid-April. "The reality is that neither side is backing down," noted NBC's David Gregory. "The war has come home and the fight in Washington now is about who should control it."

Providing analysis, NBC's Tim Russert (at the tail of the Gregory videostream) predicted that the President's head count of votes would be correct for now--enough Democrats would abandon their insistence on pulling troops out to join Republicans in a majority "but a significant bloc of Democrats will oppose the funding." Down the road, that split will become more dramatic, as the Senate schedules a vote to end war funding in the spring of 2008. Russert foresaw "enormous pressure" on Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd to pick sides.

In the meantime, the President and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are also at odds over regional diplomacy. Bush blasted Pelosi as "counterproductive" for including Damascus in her Middle East trip. CBS' Plante quoted the President as accusing the Speaker of allowing Syria's President Bashar al-Assad "into the mainstream of the international community" by meeting with him. NBC's Gregory observed that a Republican delegation had visited Damascus with no such criticism.


SEPARATION ANXIETY Bush's so-called surge of troops has led to an accelerated rotation for a couple of army divisions. The Tenth Mountain Division and the Fourth Infantry Division are both returning early to Iraq after less than a year back home. NBC sent Don Teague to Fort Hood where "hasty plans" are being laid and the quick turnaround is "hard on soldiers, even harder on their families."

CBS, too, focused on separated military families for its series on The American Spirit. Embodying that spirit is a pair of teenage siblings from Massachusetts. Robbie and Brittany Bergquist have organized a recycling operation for used cell phones, turning the proceeds into telephone calling cards so that soldiers can call home from Iraq free of charge. The human interest story was a perfect vehicle for AT&T's public relations department, which attracted free publicity from Kelly Wallace's report by donating $300,000 worth of calling cards to the teenagers' Cell Phones for Soldiers charity.


RUG MERCHANTS ABC and CBS took contrasting looks the relative calm in the neighborhoods of Baghdad. CBS' Martin Seemungal investigated the claims by a Republican Congressional delegation, led by Sen John McCain and Rep Mike Pence, that the security crackdown led by the US military had succeeded in making wartorn markets safe once more. Seemungal pointed out that the visit the politicians made over the weekend was enabled by a "massive military operation, dozens of US soldiers, snipers, helicopters hovering overhead." The carpet store where the politicians were so proud to have haggled was "closed and shuttered well before dark."

As the Iraqi government eases its Baghdad curfew, allowing residents to stay out two hours later, until 10pm each night, ABC's Terry McCarthy (subscription required) visited five separate central-city neighborhoods and was generally encouraged: "Children have come out to play again. Shoppers are back in markets." Haifa Street is no longer "Sniper Street." Ice cream is on sale in Zadriyah ready for peak summer business. A clothing store has reopened in Karada. Worshippers are praying once more at a firebombed mosque in Zayouna. And the fair is open in Zawraa Park: "It is really great to see people in Baghdad having fun," McCarthy grinned from his carousel horse.


EYES ON IRAN All three networks covered Iran, with three radically different angles. ABC assigned Brian Ross to its lead item about the guerrilla raids Iran suffers along its southeast border with the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. He showed us video via al-Arabiyah TV of members of Jundallah, a small band led by a "youthful" militant named abdul-Malik Regi. According to ABC's in-house consultant Alexis Debat, Regi is a former comrade of the Taliban. Jundallah's cross-border raids have succeeded in killing a few members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Ross reported that the CIA was "secretly advising and encouraging" them. Can such a small group have any impact on the government in Teheran? Ross' spook sources believe "destabilization" can occur.

From the Pentagon, CBS' David Martin anticipated the end to that standoff between Teheran and London over the 15 arrested sailors and marines. Diplomats have arrived at wording that will not address the facts about whether they were in Iraqi or Iranian waters when they were captured south of the Shaat al-Arab: "You can be sure that neither side will admit to giving in." Martin noted that this looming agreement coincided with the "sudden and unexplained release" of an Iranian diplomat who had "gone missing" in Iraq.

NBC's Iran story was an In Depth profile of HIV-AIDS physician Minoo Mohraz. "There can be few people who have challenged taboos in Iran as successfully," said Ian Williams. His cameras attended her clinic alongside a "groundbreaking" visit by Iranian state television, whose medical correspondent Atefeh Mirseyedi was prohibited from even mentioning AIDS as little as three years ago. The virus in Iran used to be confined to 70,000-or-so male intravenous drug users but has now started to spread to women by sexual transmission. Condoms are legal in Iran, Williams told us, but "prostitution as well as pre-marital and gay sex are mostly underground to avoid heavy punishment."


THIS JUST IN Obviously, no network has a bureau on the Solomon Islands so they had to wait for a videotape feed to begin covering the devastation from the tsunami caused by Monday's ocean-floor Richter 8.1 earthquake. Some 5,000 islanders have been made homeless from the surge. ABC had London-based David Wright narrate the first scenes of carnage: "The wave that struck this coastline came so fast and furious that it swallowed a church, drowning the bishop and three worshippers during mass." To round out the package, ABC added Virtual View computer animation of the 30-foot wave plowing ashore.


SPEEDING BULLET All three networks ran video of the glorious publicity stunt by the French railroads, as its TGV express broke the world railroad speed record at 357 mph. CBS was the only one to package it as a story. "It was such a big deal in France it even interrupted lunch," joked Mark Phillips as he narrated the images from London. "The train rocketed along, sparks flying. It was a blur to those trying to catch a glimpse." If Amtrak had such speeds, we could arrive in Washington DC from New York City in 40 minutes.


WHAT CAN BROWN DO? For its closer, ABC offered tips on automobile fuel efficiency from the experts at the United Parcel Service and had Brian Rooney (subscription required) go along for a ride to check its "lo-tech secret" with a deliveryman in Gardena Cal. Each route is meticulously plotted so that trucks make fewer than 10% of turns left across traffic. If we all followed suit and only made right turns…we would spend less time idling at intersections; we would consume less fuel; and we would get our errands finished more quickly.


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: automobile sales by Detroit's Big Three continued to decline in March in favor of Japan's Toyota and Honda…the trial of an alleged computer hacker for breaking into the Pentagon's databases is about to start…Presidential candidate Bill Richardson has been sent on a mission to North Korea to retrieve remains of Korean War dead.