CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM APRIL 12, 2007
Don Imus is out of a job. The morning drive time radio broadcaster, who lost his cable TV simulcast yesterday when he was axed by MSNBC, has now lost his audio distribution, too, as CBS canceled radio syndication. Network president Leslie Moonves described himself as "deeply revulsed." CBS, appropriately, led with its in-house business and Imus' fate was Story of the Day. ABC and NBC both led with what should, by rights, have been a bigger story: a bomb attack on the parliament building in Baghdad. Perhaps now Imus is off the airwaves, the overcoverage of his rude behavior can stop too.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR APRIL 12, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSRadio morning show host Don Imus under fireCBS Radio fires him, cancels syndication dealNancy CordesNew York
video thumbnailABCRadio morning show host Don Imus under fireUsed racist language tolerated in gangster rapDeborah RobertsNew York
video thumbnailNBCCivil-Rights-era history for Library of CongressCPB collects African-Americans' oral historiesMartin SavidgeAtlanta
video thumbnailNBCIraq: political coalition government under fireMembers of parliament assassinated by bomberRichard EngelBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSJustice Department fires eight US AttorneysWhite House aides used GOP system for e-mailsJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailABCIllegal immigration increases, sparks backlashIRS supplies ID to enable illegals to pay taxesBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailNBCIRS income tax refunds diverted by fraudSteal Social Security IDs, file fake returnsLisa MyersNew York
video thumbnailCBSPet food for cats and dogs tainted, recalledSenate panel on FDA regulation of wheat glutenSharyl AttkissonCapitol Hill
video thumbnailABCDairy industry scales back artificial hormone useGroceries in California block RBST-boosted milkMiguel MarquezCalifornia
video thumbnailCBSNovelist Kurt Vonnegut dies, aged 84ObituaryRichard SchlesingerNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
AIR CLEARED OF DON IMUS Don Imus is out of a job. The morning drive time radio broadcaster, who lost his cable TV simulcast yesterday when he was axed by MSNBC, has now lost his audio distribution, too, as CBS canceled radio syndication. Network president Leslie Moonves described himself as "deeply revulsed." CBS, appropriately, led with its in-house business and Imus' fate was Story of the Day. ABC and NBC both led with what should, by rights, have been a bigger story: a bomb attack on the parliament building in Baghdad. Perhaps now Imus is off the airwaves, the overcoverage of his rude behavior can stop too.

A few hundred thousand people are now going to have to change their morning routine. "Imus seemed to see the writing on the wall," CBS' Nancy Cordes reflected as she quoted his on air comments this morning: "One day you have got a radio and TV show and, well, next day you do not." NBC's Rehema Ellis called him a "broadcasting giant." The average weekly audience on 61 radio stations for his four-and-a-half hour program was 1.5m listeners. It earned $20m each year for CBS, according to ABC's David Muir (subscription required). Cordes described the show as "a curious mix of lowbrow humor and highbrow interviews."

The insulting comment that precipitated his firing may have been against young black women but his style involved hurling insults at all sorts, The Washington Post's media correspondent Howard Kurtz told ABC's Muir. Imus "made fun" of "blacks, Jews, gays, politicians…this was part of his charm"--although it is hard to see the fun or the charm in "nappy-headed whores" or calling his "Jewish" bosses "moneygrubbing bastards." Kurtz himself conceded that Imus "went too far." Meanwhile, Imus' insult has garnered the basketball players of Rutgers University much more attention than they would have earned from their athletic exploits alone: they were guests on TV's daytime talkshow Oprah. The team is scheduled to meet Imus in person next week. Imus himself said, on what turned out to be his final broadcast: "I have apologized enough."

Jeff Greenfield was a frequent guest on Imus on the Morning when he was a political analyst at CNN. He has now moved to CBS and he described the atmosphere on the Imus show to anchor Katie Couric on his first appearance on the Evening News. In retrospect, he confessed, he should have been conscious of how few black people participated in the program: "It was basically a white show."


RADIO WAVES ABC's Deborah Roberts explored the use of "ho," the slang abbreviation for "whore" in popular culture: "How is that he went too far with coarse language that many see as tolerated within the gangster rap culture?" She approvingly cited Essence magazine's opposition to demeaning, misogynist lyrics. And NBC's Martin Savidge provided the radio antidote to Imus. Instead of offhandedly insulting black people, National Public Radio is cultivating them. Savidge told us about NPR's StoryCorps oral history unit. It has launched a yearlong Project Griot, an attempt to document first person accounts of the Civil Rights movement for the Library of Congress. Project Griot intends to archive stories of the 1950s and the 1960s in the same way that the New Deal recorded oral histories of former slaves in the 1930s. Savidge played one: "If I thought that I would ever be a slave again, I would take a gun and just end it all right away."


CODE RED IN GREEN ZONE The Baghdad bomb exploded in the cafeteria of the parliament building as a news crew from al-Hurra TV was interviewing a legislator. In the confusion it was not clear how many members of parliament the suicide bomber had assassinated--ABC counted two, CBS three--nor how the belt bomb had escaped detection. CBS' Martin Seemungal called the parliament "one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the worlds" with four concentric circles of security checkpoints conducting searches, X-rays and full-body scans. ABC's Hilary Brown (subscription required) told us about sniffer dogs, the removal of cell-phone batteries and metal detectors. Security at parliament had recently been transferred from US troops to Iraqi forces, NBC's Richard Engel pointed out, after the politicians objected that the Americans had been "too invasive and offensive" in their body searches.

ABC's White House correspondent Martha Raddatz (no link) told anchor Charles Gibson how tight the Green Zone security was last time she was in Baghdad. She had overlooked a crucial piece of embassy identification and was forced to remain on the insecure side: "I was actually in a VIP convoy. I was taken out of the car. I had to wait outside by cement barriers." When a truckbomb sabotaged a major bridge across the Tigris River, killing at least ten, NBC's Engel showed cars that were driving across the span at the time, now submerged, where more dead are likely to be found. In Baghdad, everywhere but those four square miles of green is a Red Zone.


THE RNC ATE MY E-MAILS CBS was the only network to assign its White House correspondent to domestic politics. The Senate is continuing its investigation into whether there was improper political interference by the White House in the Justice Department's decision to replace eight US Attorneys. Jim Axelrod reported on the latest flare-up in that feud: e-mails are missing because aides, including top operative Karl Rove, did not use the White House system. Instead they "improperly did official business" on Republican National Committee e-mail accounts. The RNC claims that its system destroys all e-mail records after 30 days. When confronted by accusations of a suspicious cover-up, the White House response was to plead incompetence: "I will admit it. We screwed up," said George Bush's spokeswoman Dana Perino.


TAXMAN COMETH It is tax time. Both ABC and NBC used the impending April 15th deadline as a flimsy news hook to file features that have very little to do with the Internal Revenue Service. NBC's Lisa Myers chose crime. ABC's Betsy Stark chose immigration.

For ABC's A Closer Look, Stark examined taxpayers who live here illegally. In order to collect, the IRS issues up to 1.5m Individual Tax Identification Numbers each year, indifferent as to whether the recipient has a legal visa or not. The IRS refuses to share ITIN data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "We want your money whether you are here legally or not and whether you earned it legally or not," IRS Commissioner Mark Everson told the National Press Club.

NBC's Myers uncovered a new wrinkle on identity theft. Fraudsters apply to the IRS for authorization as online tax preparers and then fabricate returns for total strangers that include huge refunds. The refund applications are then used to borrow money from banks. By the time the IRS checks the return, the loan has been taken out and the tax preparer has disappeared. Phony preparer Evangelos Saukos bragged: "It is easier than a bank or even calling a department store call center for a credit card." Saukos pocketed $43,000--but he failed to explain why, if the scam is so easy, he was caught and is now serving time in federal prison.


GLUTEN & HORMONES A Senate panel held hearings into the tainted pet food that terrified owners of cats and dogs last month. It turns out that pet owners were not the only ones worried. The Centers for Disease Control were not convinced that the toxins in imported wheat gluten were confined to animal feed so they went on alert to see if humans were eating bad gluten too. CBS' Sharyl Attkisson reassured us that the feared spike in human kidney failure never materialized: "The human food ultimately tested clean."

In California, the food police turn out not to be government regulators but consumers. ABC's Miguel Marquez told us that the Food & Drug Administration has certified that milk from dairy cows injected by Monsanto's artificial RBST hormone is safe to drink. Milk drinkers are not convinced. Enough consumers are now willing to pay the increased cost of hormone-free milk that the Golden State's grocery chains will now require dairy farmers to renounce the yield-enhancing shots.


SO IT GOES Novelist Kurt Vonnegut died at the age of 84. ABC and NBC had their anchors pay tribute. NBC's Brian Williams called him the author of "books that appeared on countless required reading lists." ABC's Charles Gibson dug up Konnegut's complaint against Brown & Williamson's cigarettes on PBS' Now: "On their package they promise to kill me and they have not done it." CBS assigned Richard Schlesinger to file an obituary: he wrote Slaughterhouse Five after witnessing the firebombing of Dresden during World War II but it was released during the Vietnam War, making Vonnegut "a cultural icon--although a very low key one."


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: Gov John Corzine of New Jersey broke his leg in a car crash…a Northwest Airlines commuter jet skidded off the runway in Travers City Mich…the USAF claims to have killed two dozen guerrillas in an air raid on the Afghan city of Qalat.