CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM APRIL 02, 2007
Global warming was the Story of the Day as the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency was obliged to assess whether carbon dioxide emissions are exacerbating the greenhouse effect. All three networks had a correspondent file from the court, with CBS and NBC leading their newscast with the ruling. ABC too gave global warming pride of place--with a special six-minute feature. This was the first of a series of limited commercial World News newscasts, with Pfizer's Celebrex as its single sponsor. The extra editorial time was spent on the fate of the Pacific Ocean nation of Kiribati, which expects to disappear within 50 years as global warming causes sea levels to rise.     
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR APRIL 02, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCGlobal warming greenhouse effect climate changeS.Ct orders EPA to assess carbon regulationsPete WilliamsSupreme Court
video thumbnailCBSAutomobile fuel efficiency standards, techniquesDetroit warns of expense of improving mileageAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailABCKiribati threatend by rising Pacific Ocean watersCoral islands expect global warming inundationBill WeirKiribati
video thumbnailNBCEnergy conservation and alternate fuel useCalifornia statewide programs lead innovationJohn LarsonSan Diego
video thumbnailNBCAllergy hayfever season caused by pollensRecord levels in Georgia caused by warm weatherMartin SavidgeAtlanta
video thumbnailABCIran nuclear weapons program suspectedUnderground uranium centrifuges make advancesBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailCBSIran military expansion feared in Persian GulfMore video confessions by British sailors airedDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBC2008 Presidential race fundraising intensifiesBarack Obama may lead Democratic money raceAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Pope John Paul II dies: may be named saintDocuments examining his life formally submittedElizabeth VargasVatican
video thumbnailCBSBlack swan attracted to giant plastic lookalikeFollows white swan paddleboat on German lakeMark PhillipsLondon
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
GREENHOUSE GAS RULING Global warming was the Story of the Day as the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency was obliged to assess whether carbon dioxide emissions are exacerbating the greenhouse effect. All three networks had a correspondent file from the court, with CBS and NBC leading their newscast with the ruling. ABC too gave global warming pride of place--with a special six-minute feature. This was the first of a series of limited commercial World News newscasts, with Pfizer's Celebrex as its single sponsor. The extra editorial time was spent on the fate of the Pacific Ocean nation of Kiribati, which expects to disappear within 50 years as global warming causes sea levels to rise.

The Supreme Court majority was a narrow one, with the Justices splitting 5-4, the losing four being "the most conservative Justices," as CBS' Wyatt Andrews put it. Ever since President George Bush came to power, his EPA "has refused all regulation of global warming gases...saying it lacked the authority." Andrews called the ruling "a hard slap." NBC's Pete Williams presented the conflict as being state-v-federal rather than liberal-v-conservative. Coastal states, with Massachusetts in the lead, had sued Washington because of fear of losing property to rising waters. Even the majority was hardly alarmist about the threat: they called the risk of catastrophe "remote" yet "real." ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg (subscription required) pointed out that although the EPA had lost the case, "the regulatory process moves slowly" so it could be well into the next President's administration before any changes actually appear.

Some Democrats in Congress told NBC's Williams that they doubted that this EPA would impose controls despite the ruling, so they argued that it is "more important for Congress to set greenhouse gas limits for new cars." Williams added that some automobile manufacturers want federal mandates too, to avoid a "patchwork" of state-level controls. CBS' Anthony Mason was less optimistic about the impact on the automobile industry: its "campaign to fight off stricter emissions rules may be running out of road." A Detroitwatcher told him that future regulatory limits on greenhouse gas from the tailpipe will hit sales of big vehicles--large pick-ups and SUVs--hardest and they are the lines that are most profitable for Detroit.

The day's other major Supreme Court ruling, that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have no right to challenge their detention in federal court, was not covered by any network reporter. Only CBS' substitute anchor Russ Mitchell even mentioned it in passing.


SHRINKING ISLANDS ABC assigned Bill Weir to kick off its Key to the World series from the Pacific islands. NBC, too, aired a single sponsor, abbreviated commercial newscast on December 4th (text link) last year. Back then NBC used the opportunity to run the same number of stories as usual, but to increase their average length. ABC took a different tack: it added Weir's single extended feature to its regular rundown of seven normal-length stories of 140 seconds or so.

The equatorial coral islands of Kiribati have an average elevation of just six feet, so any encroachment by salt water or increase in storm activity ruins the supply of potable water and kills plant life. President Anote Tong is planning for his people's world to end by 2050. Weir asked the sarong-clad leader if it was already past the point of no return: "I believe that is the case. I think the momentum must already be set." Even here, however, Weir found global warming skeptics. The principal of a local high school is a devout Christian and she trusts in God's promise to Noah after his flood, that the land will never again be submerged. Some more skeptical fellow islanders are leaving already. New Zealand, 2,600 miles away, has relaxed its immigration rules for "climate change refugees."


GLOBAL GOES LOCAL Global warming inspired a pair of follow-up features on NBC as well. John Larson surveyed the variety of clean energy initiatives undertaken in California, such as biofueled school buses, energy-efficient televisions and solar paneled roofs. Local climatic conditions--agricultural drought, increased risk of forest fires, a water shortage from light snowfall--have brought the potential pitfalls of climate change home to Californians. Opinion polls show that many now worry about global warming even more than about street crime.

The local climate in Georgia was blamed for a hayfever season that is earlier and more aggravating than ever. CBS' Mark Strassmann complained about those itchy and scratchy pollens last week. Now NBC's Martin Savidge chimes in with the inevitable exclamation: "That is something to sneeze at!" This spring's plants have been stimulated by a wet fall, a mild winter, and a dry, suddenly hot spring. If the planet keeps getting hotter we could be wheezing all year round. An environmental activist warned that carbon dioxide "is stimulating plants to make more pollen. The weeds love this stuff."


ACCELERATED CASCADES ABC chose to lead with Brian Ross' warning about Iran. No, not the continuing stand-off over the 15 captured British sailors and marines--Ross revealed a "dramatic upgrade" in the last three months in Teheran's nuclear weapons program. Its facility for enrichment of uranium now consists of a cascade of 1,000 centrifuges assembled 70 feet underground at Natanz. Once operational, the cascade can make enough weapons-grade fuel for a bomb by 2009, instead of 2015, as the US officially estimates. Ross, confusingly, contradicted Iran's claim that it wants nuclear fuel in order to produce electricity. He asserted that power plants "could not run on the kind of uranium they are now producing." Yet earlier he had said that the cascade was not yet up and running.

As for those sailors, CBS' David Martin rebroadcast two more videotaped confessions that they had indeed strayed into Iranian territorial waters. Now that even the captured officers are on the record, none of them would be put on trial, an Iranian diplomat announced. Martin consulted his regular expert, former spy Bill Riedel at the Brookings Institution, who told him the videotapes are made for a domestic Iranian audience not a worldwide one. Mused Martin: "If this crisis is really about a power struggle between moderates and hardliners inside Iran, then Britain and its American ally can do very little to effect the outcome."


BARACK & MITT Official data for first quarter fundraising by Presidential candidates are not released until the middle of the month, but that did not stop the campaigns wading into the spin zone. "The bottom line here is the bottom line," quipped NBC's Andrea Mitchell as she concentrated on the race among Democrats. Barack Obama is still being "coy" about the size of his kitty while Hillary Rodham Clinton's recordbreaking $26m total has been revealed. Obama "will nearly match, or even beat, the frontrunner," Mitchell's unnamed campaign sources told her.

John Edwards lags behind with $14m, but continues to attract publicity for that most unfortunate of reasons, the recurrence of his wife's cancer. The latest example was Cynthia McFadden on ABC, who noted that Edwards' poll numbers have improved since he broke the bad news. McFadden asked Elizabeth and their adult daughter Cate about her plans for raising her two young children, Jack and Emma Claire, while coping with the double stress of the campaign trail and medical treatment. Have the children asked how long she has to live? "They actually have not asked when. And I would not know the answer if they did."

Both ABC and CBS focused on the Republican fundraising stakes. CBS' Gloria Borger called Mitt Romney, with $21m gathered in the first quarter, "today's golden boy" with John McCain in third place at $12m, behind #2 Rudolph Giuliani's $15m. McCain is the "big, big loser of the day, no question about that," ABC's George Stephanopoulos stated. "His team is not even trying to sugarcoat it." As a field, Republicans are being outfundraised by the Democrats, he generalized.


UNDER SEAL NBC got a jump on the John Paul II story on Friday as Anne Thompson filed from St Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Now both NBC and ABC sent correspondents to the Vatican to observe the ceremony in which five trunks of documents examining the late Pope's life were formally submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for scrutiny to establish if he was a true one. They include the tale of the cure of a Parkinsonian French nun. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas (subscription required) gave us the test to verify that the results of her prayers to the late Pope constitute a true miracle: "sudden, complete, inexplicable." There was not much of a story--no more than a seal being plunged into hot wax--but, as usual, ecclesiastical pageantry provided ornate visuals to mark the start of Holy Week. The track record shows that the average time for the next step, to beatification, for deceased popes is more than 40 years, noted NBC's Jim Maceda: "Only two popes have been named saints since the C16th."


BIRDS OF A FEATHER CBS' European closer was of the zany variety. From London Mark Phillips narrated footage of a recreational plastic paddle boat at a German lake. It is in the shape of a giant white swan and it had so fascinated a live black swan last fall that she refused to head south as the rest of the lake's flock migrated. This attachment was anthropomorphized by Phillips, and many members of the German news media, as Love on Swan Lake. Phillips called the plastic swan "the strong silent type" and "her love boat." So spring is here. Music swelled. Cameras clicked. Live black swan and plastic white swan were reintroduced--and the relationship seemed as intimate as ever.

UPDATE: later in the week, Brian Montopoli (text link) at CBS' Public Eye spots a trend of animal features on CBS. Montopoli wonders whether such stories represent "the YouTube-ization of news" recalling a South Park satire about how to pander for ratings with pandas. Certainly in the last month or so, ABC and CBS have both been much more enthusiastic about animals than NBC.


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: as mentioned, Guantanamo Bay detainees were denied their day in federal court…a killer tsunami in the Solomon Islands was caused by an undersea earthquake…the Tribune media conglomerate of newspapers, television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise is sold…the Pentagon accelerated the pace of rotation to send more troops to Iraq.