CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM APRIL 13, 2007
The dust continues to settle in the Imus affair. Former morning radio host Don Imus kept his appointment with the women basketball players he insulted over the airwaves, even though Imus in the Morning no longer exists. The meeting was not treated as important enough to lead any of the three newscasts. But because there was no consensus about what story should be more important, Imus ended up as Story of the Day by default. ABC's lead was the car crash that injured John Corzine, the Governor of New Jersey, as he was en route to host the Rutgers-Imus conference. NBC chose the search for missing White House e-mails. CBS led with the aftermath of the explosion in Iraq's parliament building.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR APRIL 13, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCIraq: political coalition government under fireParliament meets to mourn slain memberHilary BrownBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesNewly deployed forces include 19-year-old rookieMike TaibbiIraq
video thumbnailCBSPakistan fighting along North West FrontierPresident Musharraf urged by US to escalateLara LoganPakistan
video thumbnailNBCJustice Department fires eight US AttorneysWhite House aides used GOP system for e-mailsKelly O'DonnellWhite House
video thumbnailABC
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110th Congress convenes: completes first 100 daysMore attention to oversight than legislationJake TapperCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBS2008 Mitt Romney campaignMormon encounters prejudice against his religionJim AxelrodSouth Carolina
video thumbnailNBCGov John Corzine (D-NJ) injured in car crashWas not wearing seatbelt, many bones brokenTom CostelloWashington DC
video thumbnailABC
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Virtual reality online games create parallel worldsWebkinz brand of toys initiates childrenKate SnowNew York
video thumbnailABCBaseball star Jackie Robinson rememberedBroke major leagues' racial bar 60 years agoJim WootenNew York
video thumbnailCBSRadio morning show host Don Imus under fireMeets players he insulted, they forgive himNancy CordesNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
IMUS BY DEFAULT The dust continues to settle in the Imus affair. Former morning radio host Don Imus kept his appointment with the women basketball players he insulted over the airwaves, even though Imus in the Morning no longer exists. The meeting was not treated as important enough to lead any of the three newscasts. But because there was no consensus about what story should be more important, Imus ended up as Story of the Day by default. ABC's lead was the car crash that injured John Corzine, the Governor of New Jersey, as he was en route to host the Rutgers-Imus conference. NBC chose the search for missing White House e-mails. CBS led with the aftermath of the explosion in Iraq's parliament building.

It turned out that only one parliamentarian, not three, had been killed by the bomb in the cafeteria. The shock was still severe, however. All three networks had their Baghdad correspondents cover the emergency mourning session of parliament convened in response. CBS' Martin Seemungal saw Sunni and Shiite members stand "united in silent tribute" and heard Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani voice emotional defiance: "The Iraqi parliament and the people are all one. They cannot be torn apart." Investigators suspect that the suicide attack was committed either by kitchen staff or by a bodyguard for one of the legislators, ABC's Hilary Brown reported: both bodyguards and politicians are "fast-tracked through security checks or not checked at all." Fareed Sabri, a Sunni MP, told her: "I know of one the ministers who has got about 750 bodyguards. So how can you check all the background of those people?"

Attacks are not supposed to happen inside the Green Zone enclave, CBS' Bill Plante pointed out from the White House. He quoted Gen Raymond Odierno: "We are going to have bad days. Frankly, yesterday was a bad day, a very bad day." And as a consequence "now gone is the perception of any safe zone in this city at war," NBC's Richard Engel reflected.

Elsewhere in Iraq, NBC' Mike Taibbi filed another entry in his On The Line series. It follows individual soldiers in the USArmy's Third Infantry Division from Fort Benning as they go to war. This time Taibbi picked Josh James, a rookie private, as he prepared--"psyching himself past that last vestige of nervousness"--for his first day of active combat duty guarding the Kuwait-Baghdad highway at Camp Kalsu. The road is nicknamed "the moon" because roadside bombs leave so many craters. James was all geared up for action when his shift was canceled. "I was all [expletive] prepared and everything." "You have got a whole year brother," his sergeant promised. The 19-year-old rookie may seem young…but not so young. He already has a two-year-old son back home in Georgia.


BORDER WARS CBS' Lara Logan continues her coverage of Afghanistan. Yesterday Logan filed from the town of Sangin, occupied by British-led NATO forces after less than three days of fighting. Next she moved on to Islamabad, where she obtained an Exclusive sit-down with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Logan discussed his quarrel with Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan: "I am very angry." She asked why Musharraf does not allow US commandos to fight alongside Pakistani troops against Taliban guerrillas and al-Qaeda militants in Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan: "I reject it absolutely and totally because the whole population of Pakistan would rise against it." She inquired about the tone used by Vice President Dick Cheney when he visited: "He came to pressurize me? I laugh at this. He was mostly listening while I was doing the talking." And what about the CIA being given a free hand to capture terrorists inside Pakistan? "This is all bullshit."


POLITICAL POTPOURRI The investigation into the missing White House e-mails is slow to attract the attention of the networks. Yesterday Jim Axelrod alone covered the probe for CBS. Today only NBC assigned a reporter--although Kelly O'Donnell was chosen to lead the newscast. The "large volume" of missing e-mails, sent through Republican National Committee servers rather than official White House channels, may or may not have included discussions with the Justice Department about political considerations in the firing of those eight US Attorneys. Among the 22 White House aides who used RNC addresses was top operative Karl Rove, an "avid Blackberry user." O'Donnell quoted a statement from Rove's lawyer: "He never used political e-mail accounts to avoid creating a record."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is helping to keep the US Attorneys story alive by insisting that the deleted e-mails be retrieved. ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) took a look at the first 100 days of the Democratic-controled 110th Congress. The Democrats had taken office promising fresh legislation. Even though bills have passed both House and Senate--including stem cell research, a minimum wage hike, stronger homeland security and a timetable to pull troops out of Iraq--not a single one has been finalized and sent to President George Bush for signature. Instead, Tapper concluded, the real action during the first 100 days has been at oversight hearings and "chest-thumping stand-offs" with the White House.

CBS went on the campaign trail for its weekending political feature. Axelrod followed Mormon Mitt Romney as he campaigned among the evangelical Christians of South Carolina. His party line is that people "want a person of faith to lead the country. They do not care what brand of faith." Axelrod consulted his network's poll of voters and concluded "that is not true. After Islam, Mormonism is the faith most Americans consider a deal breaker in backing a candidate." When talking to voters, Romney "never once mentioned his religion by name."


LESSON LEARNED ABC decided to lead with the New Jersey story--not the political consequences of the governor's multiple broken bones but the teaching moment the crash provided. Corzine had been breaking the law as he rode in the front passenger seat of his official Sports Utility Vehicle even though a state trooper was sitting next to him behind the wheel. Buckling up is mandatory in New Jersey. NBC's Tom Costello reported that Corzine was "lucky to be alive" with a broken leg, ribs, collar bone, back, chest bone, "but why was the governor not wearing a seatbelt?" Of the 31,000 occupants of cars who die in crashes annually, 55% are unconstrained by seatbelts. ABC's Jim Avila (subscription required) cited the success of Corzine's latest law enforcement campaign, Click It Or Ticket, achieving a 90% compliance. "Without a seatbelt, Corzine would bounce around the passenger compartment like a billiard ball," Avila shrugged, making every part of the car "a potential weapon to your body."


SECOND WORLD The parallel world of virtual play has enraptured a new demographic. ABC's Kate Snow (subscription required) examined how pre-teen children as young as three years old love to enter the online universe introduced to them by the Webkinz line of stuffed animals. Players decorate imaginary rooms and purchase imaginary gifts for their toys. Soon the site will expand to include social networking, "training wheels for myspace," as Ann Pleshette Murphy of ABC's Good Morning America put it. If it teaches children no other skill for later life, Snow quipped, "they will be masters at online shopping."


ALREADY A GIANT The attention paid all week to the black basketball players of Rutgers University inspired both ABC and CBS to note the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game in the previously all-white major leagues of baseball. CBS' Cynthia Bowers (no link) introduced us to Ronnie Rabinowitz, a Robinson fan from Sheboygan, who struck up a friendship with the player as a penpal at the age of seven. ABC had Jim Wooten file a tribute to Jack Roosevelt Robinson as its Person of the Week: "Nigger, nigger, go back to the cotton field, nigger," was an example of the taunts Robinson heard from the opposing dugout. That one was from Ben Chapman in 1947. Wooten remarked it was like that all season long: "Ugly abuse spewed at him. Beanballs thrown at him. Hate mail sent to him. Threats on his life." When he finished his career with the Dodgers, Brooklyn tried to trade him to the New York Giants. Robinson retired instead: "He was, of course," Wooten concluded, "already a giant."

Check out the film of Robinson on the basepaths: sliding into second base, stealing home in the World Series, sidestepping off first base, skipping into home plate.


MAN OF WORDS And then there was Imus. NBC's Rehema Ellis took the same tack as Deborah Roberts did yesterday on ABC: Ellis examined the "negative and insulting" slang for which Imus was criticized in the African-American population in general, and by hip-hop singers in particular. Ellis quoted Calvin Broadus--that is Snoop Dogg to you: "We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and from our souls that are relevant to what we feel." ABC's David Muir (no link) relayed how one player criticized Imus to his face at their three-hour private meeting: "You claim to have not known how much these words would hurt. You are a man of words. You have been in the business for 38 years. How could you not know?" And CBS' Nancy Cordes quoted coach Vivian Stringer's statement of forgiveness on behalf of her players when the meeting ended: "Let this man have some level of integrity. Let him grow."


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: Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, is in trouble for organizing a promotion for his girlfriend…abstinence education is ineffective at persuading teenagers to delay sexual activity…District Attorney Michael Nifong stll faces ethics charges for his botched prosecution of the Duke lacrosse players…the Marine Corps is finally activating its V-22 Osprey aircraft…President Bush announced his income for 2006: $765K of which $642K is taxable.