A pair of major inside-the-Beltway stories dominated the day's news. ABC and NBC both led with the 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court on racial integration of public schools. CBS chose the defeat of immigration legislation as a Senate filibuster succeeded by a resounding 14 vote margin. The two stories together accounted for fully 40% of the three-network newshole with the Supreme Court nudging out the Senate for Story of the Day honors.    
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video thumbnailNBCPublic school racial desegregation effortsSupreme Court bans assigning students by racePete WilliamsSupreme Court
video thumbnailABCPublic school racial desegregation effortsAlternate classroom diversity schemes surveyedDan HarrisNew York
video thumbnailNBCIllegal immigration legislative plan blockedSenate upholds filibuster, falls 14 votes shortDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIllegal immigration legislative plan blockedPresident Bush rebuked by fellow RepublicansJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailCBSSeafood imports from China fish farms bannedFDA blocks antibiotic use for raising shrimpBob OrrWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCChina-US trade relationsCut-price imports pose quality, safety problemsAndrea MitchellMaryland
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesLocal informants aid house searches in BaqubahLara LoganBaghdad
video thumbnailABC
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Flash floods in Texas, OklahomaMarble Falls hard hit, infrastructure wiped outBarbara PintoTexas
video thumbnailNBCAmerican bald eagle conservation effortsBird no longer protected as endangered speciesAnne ThompsonVirginia
video thumbnailABCGolf major tournaments: US Women's Open in NCContestants include 12-year-old girl qualifierJeffrey KofmanNorth Carolina
RACE AND IMMIGRATION A pair of major inside-the-Beltway stories dominated the day's news. ABC and NBC both led with the 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court on racial integration of public schools. CBS chose the defeat of immigration legislation as a Senate filibuster succeeded by a resounding 14 vote margin. The two stories together accounted for fully 40% of the three-network newshole with the Supreme Court nudging out the Senate for Story of the Day honors.

Do public school students have a Constitutional right to be educated in racially integrated classrooms? Do they have a Constitutional right to be free of public school assignment based on racial classification?

Of the nine Justices, four liberals chose the former at the expense of the latter; four conservatives chose the latter at the expense of the former. Justice Anthony Kennedy--"complicating everything," as CBS' Wyatt Andrews put it--chose both. He struck down specific plans in Seattle and Louisville that used race as the criterion to assign students to maintain a racial mix "but also said that sometimes race can be considered as one component to achieve a diverse student population."

With that single swing vote, "this decision vividly reveals how divided this current Supreme Court is on social issues," observed NBC's Pete Williams. He called the liberal dissent by Justice Stephen Breyer "blistering" and his tone "exasperated." ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg (subscription required) noted a lack of the usual sense of decorum: "The Justices took the gloves off. They were angry--one even was rolling his eyes almost in disgust." Chief Justice John Roberts ruled: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race." Dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens insisted: "No member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today's decision."

The immediate impact of the ruling is that "all across the country hundreds of school boards may now have to go back to the drawing board," predicted ABC's Dan Harris. Integration plans have not been banned, noted NBC's Williams, since Kennedy still considered classroom diversity "a legitimate goal--provided schools can figure out how to do it without illegally discriminating." And that is the rub, CBS' in-house legal eagle Andrew Cohen exclaimed: "How in the world are people on the ground--school officials, administrators, lawyers--going to decipher his test?" The upshot, CBS' Andrews concluded, is that "more school lawsuits will be needed to test out what Kennedy means--and many more years in the courts to sort it out."

DEAD FINITO MORTE ABC's Jake Tapper reminded us of the problem that the immigration bill was supposed to fix: "status quo border security…at least 12m illegal immigrants…an antiquated and broken immigration system…that system will continue as is, with no solution in sight." For the former governor of a border state, "immigration has been a signature issue throughout his career," NBC's David Gregory reminded us, with a never-enacted guest worker program being "a top priority" when George Bush entered the White House. NBC anchor Brian Williams asked Tim Russert (at the tail of the Gregory videostream) whether the legislation could be revived: "It is dead. Finito. Morte. It is over."

Most of the opposition to the bill came from Senate Republicans, CBS' Sharyl Attkisson observed, even including the pair from Georgia--Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson--who were members of the original bipartisan group that drafted the legislation. They were "influenced by the backlash from constituents at home," she reflected, despite the fact that her network's own poll showed that 51% of Americans "did not know enough about the bill to say one way or the other" whether they supported it. As for the Democrats, NBC's Russert predicted that in Campaign 2008 they will "try to convince Hispanics that they were the party with a pathway to citizenship and they will try to get the Hispanic vote by a margin of two-to-one."

When the President persuaded only 12 senators from his own party to support him, reporters were unanimous: "greatly diminished clout"--NBC's Gregory; "just did not have the clout"--CBS' Attkisson; "serious loss of clout"--ABC's Tapper. CBS' Jim Axelrod consulted Douglas Brinkley, his network's in-house historian: "Bush is beyond being a lame duck President. He is a dead duck President."

IMPORT COCKTAIL The crackdown on imports from China continues. CBS' Bob Orr could not resist calling the shrimp trade a "jumbo" market when the Food & Drug Administration imposed its ban. The FDA found that 15% of shrimp imports from China contained outlawed antibiotics added to fish farm water to prevent infection. After recent reports on defective imported tires by ABC's Lisa Stark, poisonous imported toys by ABC's Dan Harris, tainted imported agricultural produce by CBS' Barry Petersen and adulterated imported pet food ingredients by CBS' Nancy Cordes, NBC's Andrea Mitchell offered an overview of the United States' $287bn annual import trade with the People's Republic. "So far this year, an astonishing 60% of all recalled consumer products came from China," she pointed out. Mitchell's sources blamed a combination of lax domestic standards in the PRC itself and the "demand for cheaper goods" from US consumers that prompts Chinese exporters to compromise standards.

VEGETABLE MIXING NOT ALLOWED ABC and CBS each filed from Iraq. CBS' Lara Logan claimed an Exclusive for her footage of the sweep of Baqubah in Diyala Province by patrols from the Second Infantry Division. Logan stated that Baqubah had been governed by al-Qaeda until ten days ago. She reported on what the soldiers claimed residents had told them as they searched house-to-house about the group's rule: al-Qaeda had executed more than a hundred people in a public square; they punished residents for smoking cigarettes in public; they made mixing different vegetables together on a produce stand a crime; they burned down some houses and wired others as trigger sites for buried bombs. Yet when the US troops arrived these al-Qaeda warriors were nowhere to be seen, leading to what Col Steve Townsend called "a lack of heavy fighting." Meanwhile, ABC's John Hendren (subscription required) left Baghdad with Gen David Petraeus to attend a police graduation ceremony in the 110F heat of Hillah. Check out their martial arts demonstration with its "unusual swordsmanship."

MORE FIRE, MORE WATER All three networks followed up on yesterday's heavy natural disaster coverage: ABC and NBC stayed in Texas for the floods; CBS' Bill Whitaker filed for the fourth straight day from the firefighting lines of Lake Tahoe. Whitaker projected that the blaze in the Sierra Nevada forest will be extinguished in time for the Fourth of July. ABC's Barbara Pinto (subscription required) called Texas "water weary" as she surveyed the aftermath of the flash floods in Marble Falls while NBC's Don Teague stood on the banks of the Brazos River at Horseshoe Bend where the water "could rise several more feet even without more rain."

LET THE EAGLE SOAR "Not a bad way to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday," proclaimed NBC anchor Brian Williams as the United States' national symbol was removed from the endangered species list. It was almost like watching The Colbert Report on Comedy Central as CBS' John Blackstone showed us "the first time in 200 years that there are real Philadelphia eagles" and Anne Thompson, for NBC's In Depth, gloried in "the distinctive head and beak, white tail and powerful six-foot wingspan." Thompson noted that the challenge for the American bald eagle has changed: 40 years ago DDT pesticide was the threat as it damaged the bird's egg shell; now human development threatens to encroach on the eagle's habitat. CBS' Blackstone concentrated on human help not harm: zookeepers from San Francisco intervened to help bald eagles return to the channel island of Catalina off the California coast.

NO TEENAGE PHENOM ABC's sibling network ESPN was supposed to cover the opening day's play of the US Women's Open golf tournament in North Carolina. Jeffrey Kofman went along for an up-close-and-personal profile of one of the players--but rain arrived after Alexis Thompson played only one hole so we saw only the pre-game none of the actual performance. But even Thompson's practice swings were worth the look. In an age when so much coverage about women's golf concerns teenage phenoms, Thompson, from Coral Springs Fla, is an exception. Lexi is no teenager playing against grown-ups…she is a pre-teen heading for the seventh grade, a contestant at age twelve.

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 carbomb at a bus station in Baghdad killed 22 commuters…reporters at The Wall Street Journal protested the probable takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp…long lines of consumers formed at Apple stores to purchase its iPhone.