CONTAINING LINKS TO 51656 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 07, 2007
Volatile trading on Wall Street is beginning to attract the attention of the network newscasts. Just three weeks ago--October 19th--the Dow Jones Industrial Average's drop of 366 points in a single day was not treated as the Story of the Day and only one newscast led with the selloff. Last week--November 1st--when the DJIA declined by 362 points, again, only one network led with market action but it was Story of the Day. Third time is a charm. Today's almost identical selloff of 361 points is both the Story of the Day and a unanimous choice for the lead on all three newscasts--CBS and NBC used a reported story, ABC an interview with an investment strategist.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 07, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCNYSE-NASDAQ closing pricesDJIA drops 361 on oil, housing, dollar worriesErin BurnettCNBC
video thumbnailABCOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesIncreased costs have economic ripple effectChris BuryChicago
video thumbnailNBCPakistan politics: state of emergency declaredFormer PM Bhutto opposes President MusharrafRichard EngelPakistan
video thumbnailABCPakistan politics: state of emergency declaredWell-dressed lawyers protest for rule of lawDan HarrisPakistan
video thumbnailABC
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2008 voting blocs: evangelical ChristiansNo unanimity in endorsements for RepublicansJake TapperIowa
video thumbnailCBS110th Congress assailed for legislative inactionDomestic progress overshadowed by Iraq failuresChip ReidCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSHospital patients at risk from infectious diseasesFew screen all patients for staph skin MRSAWyatt AndrewsMaryland
video thumbnailNBCEnergy conservation and alternate fuel useMicrobes experiment makes switchgrass ethanolLee CowanTennessee
video thumbnailCBSFast food restaurant industry trendsImpose zoning moratorium in poor LA neighborhoodBill WhitakerLos Angeles
video thumbnailNBCKorean War rememberedPoW hero escaped to forage for food for comradesJack JacobsNo Dateline
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
STOCKS START TO MAKE WAVES Volatile trading on Wall Street is beginning to attract the attention of the network newscasts. Just three weeks ago--October 19th--the Dow Jones Industrial Average's drop of 366 points in a single day was not treated as the Story of the Day and only one newscast led with the selloff. Last week--November 1st--when the DJIA declined by 362 points, again, only one network led with market action but it was Story of the Day. Third time is a charm. Today's almost identical selloff of 361 points is both the Story of the Day and a unanimous choice for the lead on all three newscasts--CBS and NBC used a reported story, ABC an interview with an investment strategist.

"Grim numbers," declared Erin Burnett on NBC. Burnett is an anchor at NBC's sibling financial news network CNBC. She ticked off the reasons for "jagged nerves" on the Street: the falling dollar, the rising price of crude oil, a $39bn loss at General Motors, the troubled mortgage industry. CBS' Anthony Mason recited the same sorry litany and threw in a conflict-of-interest investigation by the State of New York into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed housing lenders. Mason, however, reminded us that this is no bear market: "In spite of everything that has happened the Dow is still up for the year and the NASDAQ is up comfortably." Mason's reminder made ABC's choice of an interview with a Standard & Poor's expert--rather than a dispassionate report from its own newsroom--seem strange. Salesman Sam Stovall touted Charles Gibson's viewers on "a perfect opportunity where you want to buy." He claimed stocks are at "low bargain basement prices." But how can they be cheap if they are more expensive than they were at the start of the year?

ABC did follow up with its own reporter covering the impact of rising crude oil prices on the economy at large. Chris Bury ticked off higher gasoline and home heating costs and "oil related businesses"--truckers, asphalt pavers, plastic makers--"feeling the pain and passing it on." Aviation fuel costs, for example, have hiked the price of a United Airlines ticket from Chicago to New York City from $318 in January to $448 today.


UNIFORM OFF Both ABC and NBC assigned reporters to file from Islamabad on the gathering protests against Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and his martial law. NBC's Richard Engel focused on the decision by Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister who recently returned from exile, to "put herself on a collision course" with Musharraf. "Bhutto issued Musharraf an ultimatum: end the State of Emergency and step down as army chief or she shall send a million people onto the streets this Friday." If he were to leave the army, Engel observed, it would be a "devastating concession." For A Closer Look on ABC, Dan Harris profiled the "people getting beaten, tear-gassed and arrested by the hundreds--they are not professional agitators; they are professional attorneys." The lawyers, many marching in their business suits, denounced Musharraf for defying the rule of law and called on the United States for help. Harris heard them accuse George Bush "of preaching democracy while propping up a military dictator." For his part, President Bush urged Musharraf "to have the elections as scheduled and take your uniform off."


GIULIANI TIME Yesterday anchor Katie Couric went through CBS' opinion poll data on the race for the Presidential nomination of each party--before telling us that her numbers were meaningless because the primary battle is decided state by state. Now Tim Russert, anchor of Meet the Press, does the same thing for NBC before confessing: "I should point out Mitt Romney is ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire" and among Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards "are dead even in Iowa." For the record, NBC's national data differ from CBS' only in assessing Fred Thompson's popularity: CBS found 21% of Republicans supporting him, NBC just 15%.

There were two pieces of campaign news concerning Rudolph Giuliani. ABC and NBC both covered his endorsement by televangelist Pat Robertson. CBS' Bob Orr reported on the looming corruption indictment of Giuliani's protege and onetime police commissioner Bernard Kerik, the man who was briefly the nominee for Homeland Security Secretary at Giuliani's urging. ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) took pro-life Robertson's decision to back pro-choice Giuliani as "the clearest indication yet that Christian conservatives may be more politically divided than ever before." NBC's David Gregory saw other evangelicals siding with John McCain and Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. "If social conservatives cannot coalesce around one candidate…that allows Giuliani to ride in on a split Republican ticket," NBC's political director Chuck Todd opined.

This is the first anniversary of the midterm elections that saw Democrats gain control of both House and Senate. Speaker Nancy Pelosi bragged to CBS' Chip Reid that her party had managed to pass legislation to improve security against terrorism, to raise the minimum wage, to reform ethics rules for lobbyists, to increase student aid and to expand veterans' benefits. She conceded however, noted Reid, that Democrats "have failed on the primary reason they were elected, to end the war in Iraq."


COCKROACH CONTROL Director Julie Gerberding of the Centers for Disease Control appeared on Capitol Hill to testify on MRSA, the virulent form of staph skin infection, "the cockroach of bacteria," as she put it. CBS' Wyatt Andrews noted that the hospitals of the Veterans Administration plus those in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey require all patients to be screened for the infection before admission in a protocol to "stop MRSA at the front gate." Gerberding opposed universal testing with the $20 nose swab, emphasizing improved handwashing and hygiene instead. To dramatize the dangers from unchecked MRSA, Andrews introduced us to Kerri Cardello of Annapolis Md, an activist for universal screening. Cardello, "not so long ago..a vibrant twenty-four-seven soccer mom" was infected with MRSA in hospital. It damaged her lungs and caused both legs to be amputated below the knees.


GRASSOLINE The microbe on the mind of Lee Cowan at NBC was of the genetically-engineered variety. Cowan visited the laboratory of Professor Lee Lynd, a microbiologist who is trying to replicate the action of termites on wood or the stomachs of cows on hay--breaking down cellulose into sugars than can be converted into ethanol. NBC's Our Planet feature was part of its corporate Green is Universal week. The fuel for the professor's microbes, Cowan showed us from a Tennessee farm, may be switchgrass: "It stores so much energy in its ten-foot stalks that it has earned the reputation as nature's solar battery." And switchgrass is "more environmentally friendly than corn" because it needs less water to grow and no fertilizer.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association inspired both NBC and ABC to consult their in-house physicians. Citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, the study made the distinction between obesity, which can kill a person, and being merely overweight, which is not lethal. "I do think we have somehow conveyed the idea even a modest amount of extra weight is an automatic death sentence," admitted Dr Timothy Johnson (no link) to ABC anchor Charles Gibson, "and that is simply not true…A person who is modestly overweight can still be healthy and fit if they pay attention to other issues like smoking and good nutrition and good exercise." Dr Nancy Snyderman pointed out to NBC anchor Brian Williams that, granted, the study found that being overweight, short of obesity, is not a killer but nevertheless those extra pounds can harm our quality of life. "Death should not be the end point," Snyderman insisted, in an unfortunate turn of phrase, since, of course, the end point is precisely what death is.

CBS took a sociological look at obesity instead of a medical one for its series Forced to be Fit. Bill Whitaker stood on a block in South Central Los Angeles where there was one grocery store within a mile radius--and 40 fast food restaurants. He showed us a montage of signage: KFC, el Pollo Loco, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Popeye's, Pizza Hut, Church's Chicken, Domino, Jack in the Box--and Sexy Donuts. Community activists claim that this proliferation, plus a high concentration of poverty and a lack of parks for exercise, leads to South Central's epidemic of obesity, which afflicts fully 30% of its adult population. The upshot is a proposal for so-called Health Zoning before the City Council: a new farmers' market for fruits and vegetables combined with a moratorium on permits for any further fast food in the 'hood.


HEROISM BEHIND BARS Leading up to Veterans Day, NBC is presenting a weeklong series of profiles called Medal of Honor on some of the 109 recipients of the award for military heroism who are still alive. Monday, anchor Brian Williams gave us John Finn, a sailor who was at Pearl Harbor on the date which will live in infamy. Tuesday, Williams' predecessor Tom Brokaw visited Bud Day: he was a bomber pilot, shot down over the DMZ in Vietnam, held prisoner of war for five years and beaten to within an inch of his life by his Hanoi jailors. Now MSNBC military analyst Jack Jacobs, who was awarded the medal himself, introduces us to another prisoner.

Ted Rubin was first captured as a teenager in Hungary during World War II, spending three years in a Nazi concentration camp before he was freed by the USArmy. In gratitude he signed up to be a soldier in 1950 and was sent to fight in the Korean War where he was captured and confined, this time as a prisoner of war. Conditions were abject, with PoWs freezing and starving. Rubin managed to escape--but that was not the heroism for which he won the medal. Jacobs explained: while free he foraged for food "and then snuck back in" to feed his comrades.


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: the Space Shuttle Discover returned safely to Kennedy Space Center from orbit with the International Space Station…Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, held talks with George Bush and addressed a Joint Session of Congress…a raid at Chicago's O'Hare Airport found immigrant workers with counterfeit working papers…a ceremony to honor the US military dead of the Vietnam War that will culminate on Veterans Day began at the Memorial Wall on the DC Mall.