The next step in the slow Constitutional slog towards finding a formula for paying for the war in Iraq was dutifully taken. The House of Representatives upheld President George Bush's veto of the $124bn funding bill and the networks made the vote their Story of the Day. ABC led with the vote from Capitol Hill while CBS led from the White House. NBC chose the violent aftermath to the May Day pro-immigrant march in Los Angeles.    
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video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesHouse upholds President's veto of funding billJake TapperCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSIraq: political coalition government under fireOil legislation stalled, parliament in recessDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIllegal immigration increases, sparks backlashLegalization rally ends in clash with policePeter AlexanderLos Angeles
video thumbnailABC
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Illegal immigration increases, sparks backlashLegalization rally ends in clash with policeBrian RooneyLos Angeles
video thumbnailABC
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White supremacist hate groups gain adherentsOpposition to immigrants is new recruiting toolJim AvilaHouston
video thumbnailCBSSudan civil war: ethnic cleansing in DarfurWorld Food Program distributes aid to campsAllen PizzeySudan
video thumbnailNBCChina-US trade relations: counterfeit piracy disputeHarms domestic industry like Zippo lightersScott WapnerPennsylvania
video thumbnailCBSInternet use in moderation urged in ChinaAuthorities discourage obsessive teenage surfingBarry PetersenBeijing
video thumbnailNBCEnvironmentally-friendly products boost profitsNew Belgium Brewery recycles, cuts pollutionJennifer LondonColorado
video thumbnailCBSJournalists slain in the line of duty honoredMemorial in Normandy names almost 1900 deadRichard RothFrance
NO TIMELINE, MAYBE BENCHMARKS The next step in the slow Constitutional slog towards finding a formula for paying for the war in Iraq was dutifully taken. The House of Representatives upheld President George Bush's veto of the $124bn funding bill and the networks made the vote their Story of the Day. ABC led with the vote from Capitol Hill while CBS led from the White House. NBC chose the violent aftermath to the May Day pro-immigrant march in Los Angeles.

When Congressional leaders sat down at the White House with the President, the tone of debate "suddenly changed," noted NBC's Chip Reid. He called the improvement "extraordinary." "Hopeful pessimism," was how ABC's Jake Tapper described the upshot of the talks. He quoted Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "We owe it to the American people to find our common ground. Of course, we must stand our ground if we cannot find it." CBS' Jim Axelrod was skeptical: "Happy faces in a photo-op do not mask the most significant divide between the two branches of government since Vietnam." Axelrod thus consigned the Iran-contra affair, the nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, and impeachment of Bill Clinton to the status of also-rans.

Now a new round of negotiations will begin over what set of strings can be attached to the funding that will be loose enough for the White House yet strict enough to win majorities in both houses of Congress. They may consist of political benchmarks for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad--"ways to gauge Iraqi progress," as CBS' Axelrod described them. NBC's Reid suggested examples: "reducing sectarian violence, stabilizing the government, making progress on the economy." ABC's George Stephanopoulos explained that the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives is so internally riven that White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten will negotiate with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell instead. Each incremental removal of restrictions on the conduct of the war will alienate Democrats and attract Republicans. The trio's job, said Stephanopoulos, is to calibrate the deal to generate a majority in the Senate and acceptance at the White House--and then "force it down the Speaker's and the Democrats' throats" in the House.

Meanwhile, ABC's White House correspondent Martha Raddatz (at the tail of the Stephanopoulos videostream) spotted an official change in the Commander in Chief's objectives in Iraq. He now merely wants to quell sectarian violence to "a level where people feel comfortable about living their daily lives" rather than bring it to an end. "Success is not no violence," Bush insisted--even though no violence would constitute a success. Raddatz suggested that the President's aides are now free to define an "acceptable level of violence…whenever and however they want."

As for al-Maliki and those so-called benchmarks, CBS' David Martin called the draft law to divide Iraqi oil wealth among the various sectarian factions "by no means a done deal." Parliament is preparing to take a two-month summer recess over the objections of Amb Ryan Crocker, the US envoy to Baghdad, so the likelihood of any quick legislative progress is zero.

I DON’T THINK THAT I CAN TAKE IT It was odd that CBS chose to lead with Iraq rather than the Los Angeles rally since it made the opposite decision yesterday when Bill Whitaker led with the May Day immigration marches, assigning the Iraq veto to second place. Especially odd since the bloody aftermath turned out to be more newsworthy than the peaceful parade itself.

Police donned riot gear and attacked parts of the crowd in downtown MacArthur Park after being pelted with bottles. A factor in NBC's decision to make the clash its lead was that its sibling network's anchor, Pedro Sevcec of Telemundo, was caught up in the conflict as he was preparing to go on air. He described a police rifle being pointed at his face. NBC's Peter Alexander quoted Sevcec's assessment of the LAPD riot police: "It was excessive force. They basically hit women, children and journalists."

ABC's Brian Rooney (subscription required) listed those cleared by the police advance: demonstrators, street vendors, bystanders, members of the press, "a man carrying an American flag was hit." CBS' Whitaker (no link) saw police using "batons to shove and punch the crowd" and firing rubber bullets. Carl Stein, a cameraman for the network's local affiliate KCBS-TV was knocked to the ground and the station's reporter Carl Mark Coogan called the cops' charge "utterly uncalled-for" and "overkill to the nth degree."

UPDATE: our apologies to reporter Mark...Carl is his cameraman's name.

SHALL RISE AGAIN The increasingly multicultural population of the United States, fueled both by legal and illegal immigration, has proved a boon for one unlikely sector. ABC's Jim Avila (subscription required) took A Closer Look at the nativist recruiting tactics of white supremacist groups--the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, skinheads--whose membership is growing. The KKK was "nearly wiped out in the '90s" but is now "rising again--burning crosses on the lawns of Hispanics."

RAMPANT COMPLEXITY In international news, CBS sent Allen Pizzey to Sudan to monitor aid distribution to the three million refugees of Darfur. The World Food Program's policy is to donate aid directly to women in the region's camps. Women are more likely than men too use food to feed their families rather than to sell it. Pizzey followed the program's executive director Josette Sheeran on her inspection tour. She must work with the Sudanese government, despite its sponsorship of the janjaweed militias, those responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the villages in the first place. Pizzey explained that the conflict is "more complex" than just the janjaweed: "More than a dozen militias run rampant throughout Darfur, each with its own agenda and paymaster."

DO NOT GO DIGITAL NBC and CBS both took us to China. CBS had Barry Petersen file part three of its series, Caught in the Web, on obsessive use of the Internet. In China, non-stop surfing and interactive game playing by teenagers produce the same problems as anywhere in the world. Petersen singled out World of Warcraft as especially enthralling. Upscale Chinese families pay for their youth to attend medical clinics, including mild electroshock therapy, where they relearn how to interact person-to-person with their peers and play outdoors. But Petersen pointed out that there is a separate reason why extreme online activity is frowned on. The Communist Party does not approve of "what it cannot control"--any parallel activity in civil society, such as a chess club, a book club, a political party. And the Internet falls into that frowned-on independent category.

NBC's China story was an In Depth preview of Scott Wapner's CNBC documentary Business Nation. Wapner illustrated the trade frictions between the United States and the People's Republic over copyright and patent violations and China's alleged tolerance of counterfeiting. Refreshingly, Wapner avoided the cliched examples of digital piracy--movie DVDs, music CDs, computer software and so on--and turned to ripoffs of old-fashioned C20th manufacturing. No, not Rolex watches or Vuitton handbags…Zippo lighters. Workers at the factory in rural Bradford Pa have endured 15% layoffs because somewhere near Guangzhou someone is churning out Zippo knockoffs.

HOW GREEN IS THAT BREWERY? NBC continued its series America Goes Green with a coup by the public relations operation for the New Belgium Brewery. Monday, Ron Allen showed us how the Conservation Fund helps us measure our carbon footprint and, Tuesday, Anne Thompson demonstrated the latest architectural techniques to build environmentally-friendly houses. Now, Jennifer London filed what amounted to a two-minute love letter to the green beer from Fort Collins Colo, "brewed with a conscience."

It makes a person thirsty, counting the myriad ways that New Belgium is scrupulously doing the right thing: brewing in low-energy kettles, producing cattle feed from waste products, avoiding landfills, extracting methane fuel from waste water, generating electricity from windmills, consuming less water, recycling materials for building and furniture. But London's gushing went too far when she drew the lesson that environmental practice leads to business success, "proving profits can be in good taste with nurturing Mother Nature." New Belgium is now the nation's "third largest mid-sized brewery," she announced. What on earth does that mean? What about the nation's third-tiniest large-sized brewery? Or a monstrous microbrewery?

RISKING THEIR NECKS On a day when NBC led with journalists risking injury to cover the police in Los Angeles, CBS ended with journalists actually dying for their craft. London-based Richard Roth traveled to Normandy to cover the inauguration of a memorial park for 1889 reporters who have been killed for their work. They were not only war correspondents--Dublin's Veronica Guerin covered organized crime, Moscow's Anna Politkovskaya covered the oligarchs, The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl covered terrorists--but there were many war correspondents too. Roth reminded us of two: his late colleagues Paul Douglas and James Brolan.

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: Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has split with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert…Iraq freedom of religion has been designated by the United States as "under severe threat"…Republican Presidential candidates are preparing to debate at the Reagan Library in California.