CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 1, 2007
The War in Iraq preoccupied the US Senate yet again--and, yet again, was the networks' Story of the Day. The Armed Services Committee grilled Gen George Casey, appointed as the next Chief of Staff of the Army, about his leadership of the war effort in Baghdad. The Senate as a whole started to line up votes on opposition to President George Bush's policy of reinforcing the troops there. NBC led with the former; ABC led with the latter. CBS chose the economy instead, as new data showed personal spending exceeding personal income, producing a negative rate of savings.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 1, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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Iraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate compromise on no-build-up resolutionJake TapperCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate compromise on no-build-up resolutionChip ReidCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesSenate panel blasts Gen George Casey's recordJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailCBSSyria TV news channel airs Sunni Arab propagandaTV al-Zawraa opposes both US and Shiites in IraqElizabeth PalmerDamascus
video thumbnailCBSPersonal savings rate declines, turns negativeNegative for first time since Great DepressionAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailCBSHurricane Katrina aftermath along Gulf CoastMany children of evacuees clinically depressedArmen KeteyianLouisiana
video thumbnailABCFlood control levee system is poorly maintainedArmy Corps puts pressure on municipalitiesLisa StarkWashington DC
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TV cartoon marketing stunt backfires in BostonGuerrilla ad campaigners prosecuted for hoaxDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailNBCTV cartoon marketing stunt backfires in BostonGuerrilla ad campaigners prosecuted for hoaxLisa DanielsBoston
video thumbnailCBSNFL Super Bowl XLI in Miami: Bears vs ColtsFans asked for TV spot ideas to celebrate sportKatie CouricNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
SENATE STUDIES IRAQ The War in Iraq preoccupied the US Senate yet again--and, yet again, was the networks' Story of the Day. The Armed Services Committee grilled Gen George Casey, appointed as the next Chief of Staff of the Army, about his leadership of the war effort in Baghdad. The Senate as a whole started to line up votes on opposition to President George Bush's policy of reinforcing the troops there. NBC led with the former; ABC led with the latter. CBS chose the economy instead, as new data showed personal spending exceeding personal income, producing a negative rate of savings.

The proposed Senate resolution in opposition to the troop build-up--calling it "not in the national interest"--is likely to be toned down, ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) reported, in favor of Sen John Warner's wording. The Virginia Republican's leadership means there is now "a good chance of winning a bipartisan majority." That compromise, in turn, has alienated some Democrats, because the resolution no longer threatens to cut off funds for the build-up, NBC's Chip Reid noted. And there remains a majority of the Republican caucus that supports the Bush plan: "The pressure on Republicans not to abandon the President is intense." ABC's George Stephanopoulos conceded that this resolution, whatever the wording, will have no impact on the President's policy. Yet it puts "Congress one step closer to using its Constitutional power to restrict funding…there would be no more intermediate steps." CBS did not cover the Senate resolution.

CBS' David Martin did report on the Casey hearings, where the general opposed the troop levels contained in Bush's Baghdad build-up: he asked for 11,000 more, roughly half of what the President ordered. "If he is confirmed Casey will be responsible for providing all those extra troops he did not want to send." NBC's Jim Miklaszewski heard Casey get an "unprecedented public reprimand" from senators. "Forever the good soldier, Casey refused to pass on any blame."


SATELLITE PIX The only report from the region itself was filed by Elizabeth Palmer for CBS from Damascus. She interviewed an exiled Iraqi Baath politician Mishaan al-Jabouri, the head of al-Zawraa TV. The network is banned in Iraq so it operates from Syria and beams the signal by satellite from there. It is virulently opposed to the US military presence in Iraq: it airs video from the point of view of snipers of GIs being killed. It is equally opposed to Shiite power in Baghdad: to ridicule the preacher Muqtada al-Sadr al-Zawraa blackens his teeth when it shows video of his face. Palmer claimed that al-Zawraa is a potent recruiting tool, inspiring foreign Arabs to cross the border as jihadists "to fuel the chaos in Iraq."


BORROW AND SPEND Both CBS' Anthony Mason and ABC's Betsy Stark (subscription required) took economic data about the negative savings rate as bad news. Mason noted that the last two years of overspending were the first such years since the depths of the Great Depression. Stark predicted that the savings rate would suddenly accelerate as people nearing retirement age "get serious about putting money aside." That would slow economic growth by taking "a lot of spending power off the table."

NBC had CNBC's Erin Burnett (at the tail of the ExxonMobil videostream) contradict the conventional wisdom. The savings data do not count assets accumulated in real estate or in 401(k) retirement plans. "Include all of those things and the wealth of Americans is at an all-time high."


LEVEE WORRIES The aftermath of the levee break in New Orleans inspired a pair of radically different features. For CBS News Investigates, Armen Keteyian obtained a Children's Health Fund report on the disastrous state of the mental health of child evacuees living in 96,000 FEMA trailers, "a permanent state of limbo." Those children are four times more likely to be clinically depressed than before Hurricane Katrina displaced them. He visited Renaissance Village, a "sad, muddy" FEMA trailer park in Baker La, where families see no hope of returning home. FEMA has just renewed the security contract for the camp for four more years.

For ABC, Lisa Stark took A Closer Look at the state of the levees. The Army Corps of Engineers is warning that 122 of the 2,000 systems nationwide are "unacceptable," poorly maintained and eroding. "In the past the Corps has failed to force local governments to make needed repairs." Stark explained the Corps' leverage: if local municipalities do not pay for repairs, the Corps will withdraw its certification; as a consequence the land sheltered by the levee becomes designated as a flood plain; homeowners living in such zones are obliged to purchase flood insurance. So pay levee repair dues to City Hall or pay higher premiums on homeowner's insurance.


WE ARE WHAT WE EAT Psychiatrists have identified a new mental illness, an eating disorder that is more prevalent than anorexia or bulimia. NBC's Tom Costello gave us an In Depth examination of the disorder called binge eating--consuming as much as 1,500 calories at a single sitting on at least two occasions each week. As Costello's colleague Josh Mankiewicz pointed out yesterday, naming a new disorder is often the important first step towards marketing a medicine to treat it.


CARTOONISH ABC and NBC both assigned reporters to follow up on that animated character that paralyzed Boston. ABC's David Muir (subscription required) pointed out the ridiculous situation that one TimeWarner network, CNN, was covering a potential plot while its sibling, Cartoon Network, knew it was a stunt all along. "You would think someone could go down the hall and explain to them--it is not guerrilla warfare; it is guerrilla marketing," joked Steve Safran of www.lostremote.com. The whole idea of guerrilla marketing is that we do not know it is happening when we encounter it, Muir added. Overhear people touting a product in conversation on the subway, and "the passengers may never know, because they are actors."

The pair that festooned the city with signs for Aqua Teen Hunger Force clowned around when they appeared in court. What seemed to be frivolity in the face of serious charges had method to its madness, NBC's Lisa Daniels explained. A valid defense against plotting to cause panic is that it was just a joke. So acting silly--"Any other hair questions are definitely welcome," deadpanned one at a press conference--works in their favor.


PRE-GAME BUILD-UP STARTS CBS Sports has the rights to this year's NFL Super Bowl on Sunday. So CBS News helped crank up the hype. Tomorrow Katie Couric will anchor from Miami where the game is to be played. First Couric profiled Gino Bona, an NFL fan who won the contest to create a TV spot to air when the game has two minutes left to play, to celebrate the sport as it prepares to end its season. NFL Films documented the auditions, American Idol style, as 1,700 fans made their pitch. Couric asked Bona: "You go from going to grad school to being this hotshot advertising creative director guy. It must have been crazy. Was it a complete whirlwind?" "Yes." Couric's feature was more pre-game promotion than human-interest journalism.


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: suicide bombs in the Iraqi city of Hillah killed at least 45…the Senate approves a hike in the federal minimum wage…former Vice President Al Gore is on the short list for the Nobel Peace Prize for his global warming activism.