CONTAINING LINKS TO 51656 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM NOVEMBER 21, 2007
For the second time this week, ABC News' polling unit broke Campaign 2008 news. Monday, ABC found gathering support for Barack Obama among would-be Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa; now ABC turns to Iowa's Republicans and finds Mike Huckabee closing in on Mitt Romney's lead (24% v 28%), leapfrogging ahead of both Fred Thompson and Rudolph Giuliani (15% and 13% respectively). Repeating Monday's story selection, both ABC and NBC led with this latest development while CBS played it down, not even assigning a reporter to the poll. Instead CBS chose to observe the holiday, leading with that annual staple, a survey of travel conditions. Thus the eve of Thanksgiving became Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR NOVEMBER 21, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABC
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2008 Mike Huckabee campaignGains support among conservative ChristiansJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSPakistan politics: President Musharraf confirmedOpposition protests agiant censorship persistSheila MacVicarPakistan
video thumbnailNBCCyclone in Bay of Bengal blasts BangladeshHomeless villagers wait six days for food aidIan WilliamsBangladesh
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Automobile ownership global boom predictedConversion to cars in China, India expectedRobert KrulwichNew York
video thumbnailNBCReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseTenants face eviction when landlords defaultMike TaibbiMinneapolis
video thumbnailNBCUS dollar price declines on foreign exchange marketsRetail bargains lure European shopping touristsStephanie GoskLondon
video thumbnailCBSIraq: sectarian Sunni vs Shiite violence diminishesSelf-defense in Baghdad's Adamiyah neighborhoodLara LoganBaghdad
video thumbnailABCMilitary personnel enjoy civilian supportAvalanche of text messages of thanks organizedBill WeirNew York
video thumbnailCBSThanksgiving Day holidayTravel smoother, weather better than expectedDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailNBCThanksgiving Day holidayAtlanta's Hartsfield hub handles extra trafficTom CostelloAtlanta
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
MEET MIKE HUCKABEE For the second time this week, ABC News' polling unit broke Campaign 2008 news. Monday, ABC found gathering support for Barack Obama among would-be Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa; now ABC turns to Iowa's Republicans and finds Mike Huckabee closing in on Mitt Romney's lead (24% v 28%), leapfrogging ahead of both Fred Thompson and Rudolph Giuliani (15% and 13% respectively). Repeating Monday's story selection, both ABC and NBC led with this latest development while CBS played it down, not even assigning a reporter to the poll. Instead CBS chose to observe the holiday, leading with that annual staple, a survey of travel conditions. Thus the eve of Thanksgiving became Story of the Day.

So far, Huckabee has been almost entirely excluded from the networks' agenda, "known mostly as the charming former governor of Arkansas," as NBC's Lee Cowan put it, "he had a funny name and played in a rock band." ABC anchor Charles Gibson (subscription required) had included him in his Who Is? series of profiles and CBS' Jeff Greenfield offered him as an example of the difficulty of dark horse candidacies in August. So Huckabee's late advances in Iowa reveal that the Republican nomination "is still very much up for grabs," ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) announced.

Huckabee made "big gains among evangelicals, conservatives, abortion opponents and weekly churchgoers," ABC's Tapper told us, reading his network's poll internals. "He cultivates an affable image with communication skills honed as a Baptist minister and televangelist." NBC's Cowan commented on his "folksy self-deprecating humor" and noted his endorsement by pro-wrestler Ric Flair and martial arts actor Chuck Norris. Cowan ran the punchline from a Huckabee TV ad: "My plan to secure the border--Two Words Chuck Norris."

Both ABC and NBC followed up with analysis from their Sunday morning anchors. Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press saw jockeying for position, to use a horse race metaphor. Giuliani would like Huckabee to slow down Romney in Iowa "to keep this race going for New Hampshire and South Carolina." George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week speculated that the longshot Huckabee's surge may reflect "overall pessimism" among the Republican base about any General Election victory: "If it is going to be difficult to win we might as well go with a candidate who agrees most with us," was how he paraphrased their thinking.


ABC DROPS ITS OWN BALL Despite spending almost twelve minutes yesterday on Charles Gibson's profile (text link) of George Bush at Camp David, a sloppy ABC did not bother to follow up on the news it made. CBS did. Sheila MacVicar in Islamabad picked up on the praise Gibson extracted for the Pakistani president from his US counterpart. When Bush called Pervez Musharraf "a man of his word" who "has not crossed the line," MacVicar wondered "what does Musharraf have to do to cross that line?" She ticked off censored TV networks, arrested journalists, detained human rights workers, disappeared judges. To Bush, Musharraf may be "a moderate leading his country to democracy." To many Pakistanis he is "a dictator, dressed as a democrat, taking his country backwards."


SCHOOL DAZE Only NBC filed a follow up on the devastation left by Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. Ian Williams traveled to the village of Kalika Bari where food aid was only now arriving six days after the storm. And even that consisted only of a ration of "three packets of high protein biscuits per family." The local school building, "specifically built to double as a storm shelter," had withstood the test of the storm's 150mph winds, saving the lives of 800 huddled inside. Not everyone made it to the school in time. Williams showed us the lacerated chest of a local fisherman who had to cling to the bark of a tree for twelve hours to stay alive.


GOOD TO THE LAST DROP As the cost of crude oil again flirted with a record price of $100, CBS assigned John Blackstone to offer a concrete demonstration of the inflationary abstraction of a ripple effect across the economy. Blackstone picked coffee. The costs of shipping beans from Honduras and Guatemala, firing up the roaster, running the forklifts, powering delivery trucks, even the petroleum based "plastic wrap that keeps coffee fresh" are all increasing.

How could Blackstone resist? He actually said it: "Energy prices percolate through the whole economy." And his sign off? "That could mean that what is brewing in the economy is trouble."

For ABC's A Closer Look, Robert Krulwich (subscription required) dramatized how many more cars will be built if the economies of India and China come anywhere close to emulating those of the western Europe, Japan and the United States. Consider these statistics for automobiles per 1,000 people of an age to have a driver's license: USA 1023; France 702; Japan 608; India 11; China 9. He imagined the billions of new ccars and trucks yet to be built. "If they run on gasoline and oil what is going to happen to gas prices then?"

NBC ran a couple of features on other aspects of the economy. Mike Taibbi added to the series The Housing Bust with discouraging news for tenants. If landlords foreclose on their properties, tenants are liable for eviction even if they never missed a month's rent. He found homeless shelters in Minneapolis "opening up new dorms because of the new phenomenon--rental families made homeless by the mortgage crisis." The decline in the value of the US dollar on European exchanges has led to a new type of vacation in the United States: Virgin Atlantic and other airlines advertise three-day blitzes, Stephanie Gosk told us from London. "Shopping is the mission not sightseeing" with buses taking newly arrived passengers straight to "a suburban outlet mall for bargains."

Funnily, Gosk told us that "Britons and Europeans are flocking to the US." She did not explain in which continent she thought Britain was to be found.


NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH Security is starting to return to a pair of Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad. Miguel Marquez (subscription required) of ABC went to Ghazaliyah where the US military has armed the Guardians, a local patrol of former insurgent guerrillas, to help evict al-Qaeda elements. At least 12,000 families fled the fighting over the past few years, yet the Guardians are unable to resettle even the first 20 to return. When they left "families fleeing sectarian violence in other neighborhoods moved in" and cannot be evicted. Lara Logan of CBS introduced us to the 50-strong female militia of Adamiyah, paid by the US military to guard schools and hospitals and trained to fire AK-47s. The women told Logan that they will be targeted if the US military hand Adamiyah over to local control: "They hate us. They hate us." Mused Logan: "The Shiite-dominated Iraqi government has not been as eager as the US to embrace their former Sunni enemies."


NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU ARE SORRY As propagandists, opponents of the Iraq War appeared puny, according to report by Bill Weir on ABC. He painted a glowing profile of Shauna Fleming, who started a thank-the-troops movement when she was just 15-years-old. Now a college freshman, Fleming has built an organization called amillionthanks.org that has attracted the official backing of the Department of Defense and subsidies from major cellular telephone providers, who offer free messages for thank-yous from civilians to US military personnel deployed in war zones. Weir implied that Fleming was a pro-war activist, noting that "this is the fifth Thanksgiving since the invasion of Iraq." Meanwhile, anti-war opinion had no similar voice. For those who insist the invasion was a mistake and believe it needlessly put troops in lethal danger, there was no student activist enabling citizens to say sorry. No amillionapologies.org.


NOT A TURKEY And then there was the Story of the Day. All three networks recycled that good-old-holiday staple. CBS's substitute anchor Russ Mitchell even had Dean Reynolds lead with the worries of travelers "hoping their trip would not be a turkey." As usual, even though 31m travel on Thanksgiving by car and fewer than 5m by air, the network newscasts, having national not local scope, chose to emphasize the airline angle. Yesterday ABC's Barbara Pinto (subscription required) was behind the scenes at the American Airlines hub at Chicago's O'Hare; now NBC's Tom Costello files almost precisely the same story from Delta Airlines' operation center at Atlanta's Hartsfield. Costello showed us time lapse video of the turnaround of a 767 widebody jet "bags off, bags on, refueled, just over an hour" as a "NASCAR pit crew type effort." So was there a newsworthy problem to be found? "A surprisingly smooth ride," ABC's Pinto reassured us. "Horror stories were few today."


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: railroad sabotage is suspected by militants in France's mass transit strike…the incidence of abortion continues to decline nationwide yet there were still almost 850,000 terminations nationwide in 2004…German paleontologists have discovered the fossilized claw of an eight-foot-long sea scorpion…manslaughter arrests have been made in the case of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who went missing more than two years ago while on vacation in Aruba.