CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 11, 2007
All three networks led their newscast with the paralysis in the great plains. An icestorm stretched from northern Texas to Illinois, causing traffic accidents on icy roads, branches weighed down by icicles to break off trees, electricity blackouts from downed power lines and delays in airline travel. States of Emergency have been declared in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. More than 20 have been killed; more than 500,000 residents lost power, which will not be restored fully for ten days. ABC kicked off from Oklahoma, CBS from Iowa, NBC from Missouri as winter weather was Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 11, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCWinter weatherIce causes power blackouts, slick roads, delaysSteve OsunsamiOklahoma
video thumbnailNBCCIA accused of rendition, torture of suspectsDubious evidence obtained from waterboardingAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSCIA accused of rendition, torture of suspectsDirector Hayden testifies on destroyed videotapeDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCAlgeria terrorism: truckbomb attacks in AlgiersUN offices, courts attacked by African al-QaedaNed ColtLondon
video thumbnailCBSInterest rates set by Federal Reserve BoardCuts rates, fears spread of housing weaknessAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailCBS2008 John Edwards campaignEmphasizes southern roots, populist approachJeff GreenfieldIowa
video thumbnailNBC2008 Mike Huckabee campaignEthics of gifts received as governor questionedLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailCBS2008 issues: global warming climate changeCandidates assess whether risks are overhypedKatie CouricNew York
video thumbnailABC2008 issues: healthcare reformCandidates assessed on five key policy elementsTimothy JohnsonNo Dateline
video thumbnailABCPresident Bush profiled in his daily scheduleBehind scenes at Oval Office, personal quartersMartha RaddatzWhite House
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
THE ICESTORM COMETH All three networks led their newscast with the paralysis in the great plains. An icestorm stretched from northern Texas to Illinois, causing traffic accidents on icy roads, branches weighed down by icicles to break off trees, electricity blackouts from downed power lines and delays in airline travel. States of Emergency have been declared in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. More than 20 have been killed; more than 500,000 residents lost power, which will not be restored fully for ten days. ABC kicked off from Oklahoma, CBS from Iowa, NBC from Missouri as winter weather was Story of the Day.

ABC's Steve Osunsami's face was tastefully framed by ice laden branches for his report. His anchor Charles Gibson appreciated the effort: "It would be beautiful if it were not so devastating." In Iowa, CBS' Nancy Cordes observed that "only truly terrible weather could keep most of the major Presidential candidates from campaigning." NBC, which led with the weather for the second straight day, had Janet Shamlian in St Joseph where "90% of the city was dark" team up with Don Teague in Oklahoma City. There, the Survivor Elm, which withstood the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, "has not lost a limb."


NOT SUITABLE John Kiriakou, the former spy, who gave ABC's Brian Ross an Exclusive yesterday about the waterboarding torture of al-Qaeda suspect abu-Zabaydah, today appeared on the other two networks. NBC's Andrea Mitchell played a clip from Kiriakou's interview with Matt Lauer on her network's Today in which the ex-CIAer euphemized that such an "advanced technique" would not have been used "willy-nilly." Stated Kiriakou: "This was a policy decision that was made at the White House, with concurrence from the National Security Council and the Justice Department." Mitchell also obtained a soundbite from Col Morris Davis, a military prosecutor based at Guantanamo Bay, who refused to use torture-induced evidence: "Whatever they tell you is not reliable and not suitable in an American court of justice." The Pentagon forbade Davis from testifying yesterday before a Senate committee.

Kiriakou also talked to David Martin on CBS. Even though he helped to arrest abu-Zubaydah, Kiriakou refused to participate in the waterboarding, on the advice of a senior spy at the CIA. Kiriakou recalled what he said: "This is a slippery slope and one of these days somebody is going to go too far and someone is going to get hurt and it is going to leak and there is going to be an investigation and somebody is going to be prosecuted."


SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN The major foreign news occurred in Algeria, where a pair of truckbombs were triggered by suicidal attackers in the government center of Algiers: one blast tore the façade off the nation's Supreme Court building; the other hit United Nations offices killing at least ten staffers. NBC's Ned Colt and ABC's Jim Sciutto both narrated the footage from London. The north African branch of al-Qaeda posted posthumous tributes to its two bombers. NBC's Colt noted that the group is active across Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria and ABC's Sciutto added that it was been strengthened by returning veterans of the fighting in Iraq.


MODESTLY LOWER The Federal Reserve Board intervened in the financial markets by cutting short term interest rates to 4.25%. CBS' Anthony Mason calculated that this was the board's third cut in three months "as it tries to steer the economy away from recession." Mason pointed to continuing home mortgage foreclosures and mused that "the Fed could have its hands full." ABC's Betsy Stark (no link) looked at the stock market's reaction, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average responded to the rate cut by selling off 294 points to close at 13432. "Wall Street wanted more," she told anchor Charles Gibson. "The problems in the housing market--whether it is that vast supply of unsold homes or cautious lenders with a lot of bad debt on their books--cannot be solved by modestly lower interest rates."


HORSE RACE POLLS It was another heavy day of Campaign 2008 coverage (19 min or 33% of the three-network newshole). At the start of the primary season--with all eyes on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina--national opinion polls are irrelevant. Yet ABC News published one anyway, just as CBS News did yesterday. This is how they match up among the Democrats: Hillary Rodham Clinton leads (ABC 53%, CBS 44%) followed by Barack Obama (ABC 23%, CBS 27%) and John Edwards (ABC 10%, CBS 11%). On the Republican side the rankings are tighter: Rudolph Giuliani (ABC 25%, CBS 22%) ahead of Mike Huckabee (ABC 19%, CBS 21%) and Mitt Romney (ABC 17%, CBS 16%). So the only material difference between the polls concerns the extent of Rodham Clinton's lead.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos found a couple of points of interest. First, that Giuliani is losing support among conservatives and those who are "watching the race very closely." Second, the weakening economy has supplanted the Iraq War as the most important issue for voters.

The other networks offered a pair of candidate profiles. CBS' Jeff Greenfield looked at Edwards, who had a "strong second place showing" in Iowa in 2004. Greenfield speculated that a win this time around "turns a two-way fight" between Rodham Clinton and Obama "into a three-way fight everywhere." Edwards' pitch consists of his southern roots--matching the last two Democrats to be elected President--his working class background, and his populist attack on corporate power. His pitch in Iowa is that "change requires a fighter and not Obama's intention to be a healer."

On NBC, Lisa Myers took a sardonic In Depth look at Huckabees penchant for receiving gifts while he was Governor of Arkansas: guitars, jewelry, vacations, clothes, free dental care, free dry cleaning--even "50% off hamburgers at Wendy's." All the gifts were legal, Myers reassured us, but some were tacky: "As the Huckabees moved out of the Governor's Mansion they signed up on the wedding registry…at Target identifying gifts they would like for their new home." An uproar caused that idea to be scrapped.


PARTISAN DIVIDING LINES The issues of universal healthcare and global warming climate change were the topic of feature series on CBS and ABC. ABC had in-house physician Timothy Johnson follow up on yesterday's Critical Condition roundtable by anchor Charles Gibson on where the candidates stood on healthcare. Johnson echoed the conclusion voiced by Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation that the key difference between Republicans and Democrats cannot be found in their support for cost control or improved quality or personal choice or efficient recordkeeping. What divides the parties is that Democrats "are committed to universal coverage" and Republicans support "tax credits and personal savings accounts to help individuals" rather than relying on provision by governments or employers.

CBS anchor Katie Couric continued her Primary Questions series, which poses the same battery of ten questions to ten top candidates--five of each party--and then edits their answers to each question together side by side and one at a time. Last week Couric chose to ask about the candidates' mistakes and fears of loss. Now she turned to public policy issues: "Do you think in any way the risks of climate change are being over hyped? "

None of the ten flat out denied that the globe is warming; Huckabee and Thompson were skeptical; Giuliani and Romney allowed that human activity contributes to warming; McCain, Rodham Clinton, Obama and Biden acknowledged that the risks are real; Richardson and Edwards stated that the risks have not been hyped enough.

Three candidates advocated energy independence from imported oil--they were all Republicans.

Four candidates mentioned the wind and the sun as sources of renewable energy--three were Democrats; one was Republican.

Three candidates sought an expansion of nuclear power--they were all Republicans.

Five candidates called for more efficient mileage in automobiles--four were Democrats; one was Republican.

UPDATE (text link): Mike Huckabee's soundbite gets transcribed with a single-word error by the Sierra Club, exposing him to undeserved ridicule by a libertarian and an anti-clericalist.


NO REST As for the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, George Bush invited Martha Raddatz and her ABC camera crew to follow him during a day's work--from his 6:45am review of overnight intelligence…to his meeting with reformed teenage drug addicts…to his press conference with the President of Italy…to a party for friends from Texas. "What about time for reflection?" wondered Raddatz. "You can reflect when you are exercising," replied the First Multi-Tasker.


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.

There were no examples today.