CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MAY 28, 2007
Happy Memorial Day! The only story that attracted coverage by a correspondent from all three networks was the diplomacy in Baghdad between the ambassadors from the United States and Iran. The four hours of talks in the Green Zone represented the first formal contacts between Washington and Teheran in 27 years. All three networks led from Baghdad--but it still did not qualify as Story of the Day. That title belonged to the observance of the holiday itself as each of the three networks gave its anchor the day off. Their substitutes were Dan Harris on ABC, Russ Mitchell on CBS and Lester Holt on NBC.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MAY 28, 2007: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSIraq: Baghdad convenes regional diplomacyAmbassadors from US and Iran discuss securityLara LoganBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingUS troops brace for sping offensive in KunarJim MacedaAfghanistan
video thumbnailNBCVenezuela politics: President Chavez curbs oppositionProtests against shut down of Radio Caracas TVMark PotterMiami
video thumbnailCBSGhana poverty relief: unsanitary water infects eyesVolunteer medics treat children's blindnessHarold DowGhana
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Global warming greenhouse effect climate changePhotographer documents shrinking Alaska glaciersJim AvilaBoston
video thumbnailCBSHumpback whales stranded in Sacramento RiverPair heads for ocean, returns to salt waterJohn BlackstoneSan Francisco
video thumbnailNBCMemorial Day holiday observancesPresident Bush at Arlington Cemetery ceremoniesKelly O'DonnellWhite House
video thumbnailABCMemorial Day holiday observancesNewest graves in Arlington Cemetery section 60Jonathan KarlVirginia
video thumbnailCBSWWII: veterans' personal histories collectedDocumentary movie series of battlefield memoriesWyatt AndrewsLouisiana
video thumbnailABCMilitary personnel face family, personal problemsLonely soldier's wife turns to stand-up comedyDean ReynoldsMinnesota
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
LONG HOLIDAY WEEKEND Happy Memorial Day! The only story that attracted coverage by a correspondent from all three networks was the diplomacy in Baghdad between the ambassadors from the United States and Iran. The four hours of talks in the Green Zone represented the first formal contacts between Washington and Teheran in 27 years. All three networks led from Baghdad--but it still did not qualify as Story of the Day. That title belonged to the observance of the holiday itself as each of the three networks gave its anchor the day off. Their substitutes were Dan Harris on ABC, Russ Mitchell on CBS and Lester Holt on NBC.

ABC's Terry McCarthy (subscription required) hailed the fact of the talks as an achievement in itself: "The one thing that did not happen was a walkout." He quoted Amb Ryan Crocker's explanation for why little progress had been made: "Among diplomats, you do not need a lot of substance to take up a lot of time." NBC's Ian Williams summed up the US' demands of Iran: that it "end support for militants" specifically the Revolutionary Guard's "arming, training and financing" of militia groups. Iran denied providing any such support.

CBS' Lara Logan sat down with Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the National Security Advisor of Iraq, to inquire whether he agreed with Amb Crocker that Iran was interfering with Iraq's internal affairs: "I am not going to blame or name any particular country," al-Rubaie demurred, so as not to "negatively influence future negotiation." For his part, Amb Hassan Kazemi "surprised both the US and Iraq," according to ABC's McCarthy, by making a counterproposal that "Iran could help train Iraqi security forces."

None of the three reporters specified the names of the anti-US militias that are supposedly operating under Teheran's guidance. From the White House, ABC's Jonathan Karl (no link) merely reported on the "near unanimous view" that Teheran could "significantly reduce the violence in Iraq" if it so desired. Karl added that a major motivation for the White House to agree to the talks was domestic politics: as senior Democrats and the Iraq Study Group make demands for diplomatic outreach, "now the administration can say that they are listening."


SPRING IS LATE THIS YEAR NBC had Jim Maceda file an In Depth update from the USArmy's Tenth Mountain Division in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. A seasonal offensive by Taliban guerrillas had been expected by now, yet so far "it is too calm." So GIs have turned to construction--a new footbridge, a road, a school--and building trust with village elders rather than fighting. Maceda reported that a doubling of the size of the US military presence to 10,000 in Afghanistan's eastern sector and the erection of a 12-mile fence along the border with Pakistan may have slowed the Taliban weapons build-up. When mortars rained down from surrounding mountains, Maceda found the fire too light to signal the start of the dreaded offensive but it did finally end that lull.


I WANT MY RCTV Street protests in Venezuela against the shutdown of Radio Caracas TV were suppressed with tear gas and water cannons. ABC only mentioned the shutdown in passing; CBS not at all. At least NBC assigned a correspondent, Mark Potter to the story, albeit from Miami: after 53 years on the air, RCTV was Venezuela's "oldest and most popular privately-owned television station."

President Hugo Chavez refused to renew its license, accusing it of "subversive activities" and "supporting a coup attempt against him five years ago." But Potter saw censorship plain and simple: "Another critical voice in Venezuela was silenced." Potter's colleague, Cristina Londono, from NBC's Spanish-speaking sibling channel Telemundo, was on the scene. She noted that "young people and students," usually belonging to Chavez' base of support, had switched sides on this issue and went "out on the streets protesting against him." It is not right to deprive youth of its telenovelas.


BLINDSIDED Polluted river water in Ghana has blinded as many as 15,000 children, CBS' Harold Dow told us. Their eyes get infected from mosquitoes that breed there. Dow was accompanying a mission by Our Children International, a medical charity organized by Susan Vallese. After a year of fundraising she recruited 15 doctors and nurses to volunteer a week of their time to staff a clinic in the town of Cape Coast. Daniel Ardakwa and his younger sister went blind when he was eleven. Their mother abandoned them in the woods where they fended for themselves for three months until they were taken in by an orphanage. Now 17 years old, his condition inspired Vallese's activism--but Dow told us that six years was too long: "His eyes are too damaged and cannot be repaired."


ART TURNS TO MUD The photographer Bradford Washburn was a contemporary of Ansel Adams. His specialty was the glaciers of Alaska, a series of pictures taken some 70 years ago. David Arnold, an environmental photojournalist from Boston, is an admirer of Washburn's compositions--an art derived from "the convergence of ice and water and rock"--but is also an activist, warning about the impact of global warming. Arnold shared before-and-after shots, replicating the framing in Washburn's landscapes, with ABC's A Closer Look. Arnold shows where mud has replaced Washburn's ice, with as much as 23 miles of melt since 1940. Glaciers have become "icebound canaries, silently warning of an impending more hostile climate," as ABC's Jim Avila (subscription required) put it.

Meanwhile in the southeast, CBS' Kelly Cobiella ticked off the impact of the 18 months of drought: dried swamplands in the Everglades, no spring planting on the farms of Alabama, wildfires in Georgia creating a smoky haze over Atlanta, jeopardized drinking water in Florida. Cobiella made no mention of global warming climate change as a possible exacerbating factor.


OVER THE HUMP Holidays are light news days, so CBS and NBC both had an excuse to update us on the essentially frivolous fascination with the pair of humpback whales in the Sacramento River. "After going nowhere for a week they suddenly took off swimming more than 24 miles" in a single day, declared CBS' John Blackstone. "Crowds of whale watchers are delighted." They are now nearly 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean and in water that is already partly salt. NBC's George Lewis added that their injuries are thought to be caused by the blades of a ship's propeller--and warned that their route to the open ocean includes the "big ships that operate in San Francisco Bay"


WEARINESS OF WAR As for the observances of Memorial Day proper, coverage fell into three categories: cemetery remembrances; honors for the veterans of past wars; and the families of the military still fighting.

When President George Bush laid the wreath at Arlington Cemetery, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell noted "a different, more muted tone, choosing words tinged with the weariness of war" compared with previous Memorial Days "when he spoke of 'freedom on the march' and 'completing the mission.'" Bush singled out Christian Golczynski, an eight-year-old son of a slain Marine. "He managed to be brave while he held his father's folded flag," was the Presidential soundbite run by ABC's Dan Harris (subscription required), before Harris quoted the words of the "amazing kid" himself about his missing dad: "I will honor him by becoming a Marine and helping our country, too." ABC's Jonathan Karl told us the tale of a pair of Marines, both killed on Mother's Day in 2005--Lawrence Phillipon in Iraq, Nicholas Kirven in Afghanistan--both buried in Section 60 of Arlington Cemetery. The bereaved mother, Leesa Phillipon, was consoled by Brian Letendre, a Marine captain, who notified her of her loss. He became "a friend, almost a member of the family," Karl recounted. Just 360 days later, Letendre too was killed in Iraq and he too is buried in Section 60.

Lest They Be Forgotten is the title of a movie documentary oral history project, produced by Larry Cappetto, that Wyatt Andrews profiled for CBS. Andrews called Cappetto "relentless" is his quest for survivors of World War II: "In four years he has interviewed almost 400 combat veterans, assembling one of the largest oral histories ever recorded of Americans at war." On NBC, Bob Faw went one war better, showing us Frank Buckles, aged 106, one of only three surviving Doughboys of World War I. Buckles, then a 15-year-old youth from Missouri, served in the Ambulance Corps in France: "If anybody asked me how old I was I told them I was 21."

This is the fourth high school graduation in a row in Killeen Tex when Fort Hood parents are away fighting in Iraq. For the fourth year, the high schools set up a videoconference at the ceremonies. This time 55 military children waved by remote as "the soldier dads and three soldier moms watched the graduations from nine different bases in Iraq," as NBC's Lester Holt put it. And ABC's Dean Reynolds checked in at Goonie's Comedy Club in Rochester Minn to hear the stylings of Jan Donahue, whose husband is now in the 17th month of his deployment in Iraq. How lonely and depressed is she? "There I sat in front of the TV until 5-or-6 at night--then I got up and turned it on."


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: the average price of gasoline has halted its upward rise…NFL player Marquise Hill of the New England Patriots drowned in Lake Pontchartrain, aged 24…TV gameshow comedian Charles Nelson Reilly died, aged 76.