CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 07, 2007
Spies hogged headlines for the second time this week. Monday and Tuesday, the Story of the Day was the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear program. Now it is the Central Intelligence Agency's turn--not so covert for the way it tried to hide its secret interrogation techniques. The revelation that the CIA destroyed its own videotape of the methods its spies used in 2002 against suspected al-Qaeda ringleaders abu-Zubaydah and Ramsi bin al-Shibh was the lead story on both ABC and NBC. CBS chose to kick off with further details about Wednesday's department store shooting in Omaha.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 07, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSCIA accused of rendition, torture of suspectsVideotapes of agents' waterboarding destroyedDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesShiite militia ceasefire secures southern townStephanie GoskIraq
video thumbnailCBS2008 Mike Huckabee campaignSocial conservative, easygoing debate styleJeff GreenfieldNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Rudolph Giuliani campaignCreated $70m business after he left mayoraltyLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailNBC2008 South Carolina primary previewedPolitics still tainted by Jim Crow historyBob FawSouth Carolina
video thumbnailCBSFederal porkbarrel spending from earmarked projectsOffer jobs to politicans' kin in SC, Ohio, AkaSharyl AttkissonOhio
video thumbnailCBSOmaha department store shooting leaves nine deadKiller left suicide note, image caught on CCTVByron PittsNew York
video thumbnailABCOmaha department store shooting leaves nine deadHuman resources manager was eyewitness for 911Chris BuryNebraska
video thumbnailNBCBorneo rainforests depleted by clearburningWild hardwood replaced by palm oil plantationsIan WilliamsBorneo
video thumbnailABCOrangutan conservation efforts in Borneo forestsOrphan apes rescued as habitat is destroyedNick WattBorneo
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
WATERBOARDING EVIDENCE DELETED Spies hogged headlines for the second time this week. Monday and Tuesday, the Story of the Day was the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear program. Now it is the Central Intelligence Agency's turn--not so covert for the way it tried to hide its secret interrogation techniques. The revelation that the CIA destroyed its own videotape of the methods its spies used in 2002 against suspected al-Qaeda ringleaders abu-Zubaydah and Ramsi bin al-Shibh was the lead story on both ABC and NBC. CBS chose to kick off with further details about Wednesday's department store shooting in Omaha.

"Waterboarding, simulated drowning, widely viewed as torture," was what the CIA did not want anyone to see, asserted NBC's Andrea Mitchell. She quoted the CIA's explanation for destroying the video--"to protect the identities of interrogators"--before pooh-poohing it. "Other officials say the real reason was concern about criminal charges because waterboarding…violates the Geneva Conventions." The CIA insists "all its interrogation techniques were legal," commented CBS' David Martin wryly, "but, with the tapes now destroyed, there is no way to verify that claim."

ABC's Jonathan Karl (no link) noted the timeline for the tapes' destruction in November 2005, shortly after a Washington Post expose about the CIA's secret prisons. The 9/11 Commission was never told that the tapes existed in the first place. Congressional Intelligence Committees and President George Bush both insisted they knew they existed but were kept in the dark about their destruction. "There was one White House official who knew about the plans to destroy the tapes," ABC's Karl revealed. Then counsel Harriet Miers "urged the CIA not to destroy the tapes," according to Karl's unidentified sources.

Illinois Democrat Sen Richard Durbin requested that the Justice Department launch an obstruction of justice investigation. ABC's legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg (no link) called it a "really tough case" with "big legal hurdles." She explained that prosecutors would have to prove that the spies knew there were "official proceedings either going on or contemplated" in which the videotape would be used as evidence.


MAYOR FOR LIFE With all the attention on Iran this week, we had to wait until Friday for the first report filed from Iraq. NBC's Stephanie Gosk took a trip south from Baghdad to al-Haswa with Gen Rick Lynch. Lynch was celebrating the peace and quiet that has descended on the town of 80,000 in the last two months since 120 US troops set up a base in a local police station and the militia based in a nearby Shiite mosque, loyalists of Muqtada al-Sadr, declared a ceasefire. Next al-Haswa, with 80% unemployment, needs to improve its economy, Gosk noted, and a young officer will be "the new mayor." Declared the general, "Captain Walker is never leaving."


REPUBLICAN ROUND-UP All three networks filed reports on the Republican race for the Presidential nomination. ABC had Jake Tapper (no link) file a Fact Check on three issues. He called a Mitt Romney direct mail message in New Hampshire "false" when it asserted that a trio of his main rivals--John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudolph Giuliani--supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. Tapper contradicted Giuliani's characterization of the violent crime rate in Massachusetts under Governor Romney--it did not deteriorate; it improved. And he corrected Mike Huckabee on same-sex marriage: both he and Giuliani have "consistently opposed" legalization.

NBC had Lisa Myers look at Giuliani's personal wealth since he left New York's City Hall with a net worth of only $7,000 at the end of 2001. "Now financial documents indicate Giuliani could be worth as much as $70m." His business empire includes motivational speaking, corporate consulting, now-sold investment banking, a law firm and the provision of security services. Most of Giuliani's client list is secret, Myers admitted, but she was aware that his team helped the painkiller OxyContin cope with an investigation into hundreds of overdose deaths. His firm represents Citgo, the state-owned oil firm of Venezuela, controled by the regime of "strongman" President Hugo Chavez.

Huckabee, the ordained Baptist minister and Iowa frontrunner, whose campaign consisted of "a skeleton staff, an empty bank account and an asterisk in the polls" as recently as August, earned a profile from CBS' Jeff Greenfield. Greenfield attributed his success to his "plainspoken, often humorous, eloquence" and his appeal to the Christian conservative base, as exemplified by a speech that "blew the roof off" a Family Research Council gathering: "Our party may be important but our principles are even more important than anybody's political party." Greenfield predicted that Huckabee will face challenges on his record of tax hikes, his lack of a hard line on immigration, his lack of foreign policy credentials--and Wayne Dumond, that paroled rapist that ABC's Brian Ross investigated on Wednesday.


O&O CONFRONTS JIM CROW On the Democratic side, NBC's Bob Faw traveled to South Carolina where the state "is abuzz" with its biggest sports stadium sold out in advance of the "Oprah and Obama" rally where TV daytime talkshow host Winfrey will stump for fellow Chicagoan Barack. Even with all that cheering for a pair of African-Americans, Faw pointed out that a visit to "just about any roadhouse" reveals "how the old South struggles with the new." The vox pop comment was unequivocal. "He is not going to win." "Because he is black?" "Yes. That is a fact. A black man or woman is not going to win." The South Carolina primary, Faw anticipated, will be "a referendum, of sorts, on how much this state is still shackled to its Jim Crow past."


ALL IN THE FAMILY What have these three institutions in common? The National First Ladies' Library in Canton Ohio? The Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board? And the Charles R Drew Wellness Center in Columbia SC? All three were founded with the help of federal money earmarked by local politicians--Rep Ralph Regula (R-OH), Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Rep James Clyburn (D-SC) respectively. And all three have the solons' family members on the payroll. For her Follow the Money series on CBS, Sharyl Attkisson asked Clyburn whether there was a connection: "I would hate to think that because I was involved with helping them build the center that they would refuse to hire my daughter."


DYING TO SHOP All three networks tied up loose ends from the Omaha department store shooting that was Story of the Day Wednesday (text link) and Thursday (text link). NBC was most perfunctory, assigning Leanne Gregg to a short stand-up, including a line from killer Robert Hawkins' suicide note: "I know everyone will remember me as some kind of a monster." CBS had Byron Pitts lead its newscast with the aftermath. Pitts said Hawkins' note was "scribbled like a kindergartener" and selected a different line to quote: "I have been a constant disappointment and that trend would only have continued." ABC ran two reports: Eric Horng's (no link) on the suicide note and CCTV images from the Von Maur department store showing Hawkins casing his targets; and Chris Bury on Person of the Week Jodi Longmeyer, from the store's human resources department, who stayed on the telephone with EMS 911 for 30 minutes narrating the carnage. By the way, NBC anchor Brian Williams, in his occasional weekending summary of viewers' e-mail comments, remarked that those killed "died because they went holiday shopping on a Wednesday afternoon." Well not quite. Of the nine who died, six were employees not shoppers, one was the suicidal gunman himself--only two were looking for Christmas presents.


BORNEO BOUND It is a rare day when the networks file from Indonesia. So what a treat when both ABC and NBC pitch in! The news hook was a United Nations conference on global warming in Bali, which led to scrutiny of Indonesia's practice of using fire to clear rain forests for agriculture. The fires make Indonesia the nation with the third heaviest emissions of carbon dioxide, after the United States and China, Ian Williams told us in NBC's Our Planet feature. Williams took the development angle showing the mass conversion of Borneo's heartland into palm oil plantations. ABC, perhaps inspired by Bill Blakemore's success with chimpanzees on Monday, made it an adorable animal story. Nick Watt played with orphan orangutans, displaced by the destruction of their ecosystem, in a sanctuary in Nyaru Menteng.


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 66th anniversary of the raid on Pearl Harbor was commemorated…the unemployment rate held constant in November at 4.7% with 94,000 jobs added to the economy…NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis remains on its launchpad because of a technical glitch…Chrysler announced the safety recall of pick-up trucks whose gears can slip out of park while stationary…Kevin Everett, the NFL player who risked paralysis from breaking his neck in a tackle, took steps once more.