The G8 Summit of world leaders on the shore of the Baltic Sea was the Story of the Day. Diplomacy included a Russian initiative on NATO's plans for an Anti-Missile Defense, a watered-down plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and pressure to pursue poverty relief in Africa. NBC and CBS both led from Germany. ABC chose the looming collapse of the immigration compromise in the US Senate.    
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCG8 Economic Summit held in RostockDiplomacy on NATO, global warming, Africa aidDavid GregoryGermany
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Illegal immigration legislative plan draftedCompromise undercut by Senate amendmentsJake TapperCapitol Hill
video thumbnailABCAutomobile fuel efficiency standards, techniquesDetroit lobbies against higher SUV mileage rulesDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailABC
sub req
Rep Dan Young (R-AK) suspected of graftFlorida highway project benefited contributorJohn CochranWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCSaudi Arabia royal family corruption scandalBritain halts kickback probe of Prince BandarAndrea MitchellNew York
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesIntelligence report finds negative trend for USDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesOnline anti-war propaganda features fake GIsLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSIraq: political coalition government under fireShiite leader al-Sadr will not cooperate with USLara LoganBaghdad
video thumbnailNBCVelo-cardio-facial syndrome coveragePatient makes docu movie on genetic disorderBob FawWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSSocialite Paris Hilton briefly jailed for DWIEarly release protested as favoritism for richBill WhitakerLos Angeles
SCENES FROM THE SUMMIT The G8 Summit of world leaders on the shore of the Baltic Sea was the Story of the Day. Diplomacy included a Russian initiative on NATO's plans for an Anti-Missile Defense, a watered-down plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and pressure to pursue poverty relief in Africa. NBC and CBS both led from Germany. ABC chose the looming collapse of the immigration compromise in the US Senate.

All three networks had their White House correspondents file from the G8. ABC's Martha Raddatz focused narrowly on President Vladimir Putin's proposal to switch the site of NATO's AMD radar from the Czech Republic to Azerbaijan. Putin made it clear that basing the system in Europe was "not acceptable." On CBS, anchor Katie Couric (no link) asked former diplomat Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations to assess the AMD jockeying. Haass replied that it is "a missile system that has not been proven to work against a threat that does not yet exist--so there is an air of politics and unreality about all of this." NBC's David Gregory used a mixed temperature metaphor to assess the Russian surprise: "All that heated talk about a new Cold War appeared to fade away."

Continuing the temperature theme, CBS' Jim Axelrod added global warming to the AMD diplomacy: "The White House went further than it ever has before on climate change" even though it "fell short of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes" for mandatory cuts. NBC's Gregory added the lobbying of Bono, Irish rock star and Africa activist, into the mix. When President George Bush argued that climate change should not eclipse the African agenda--those dying from "AIDS, malaria, genocide and the effects of poverty" as Gregory put it--Bono told Gregory: "Even critics of the President would have to admit that he has stepped up to help."

GUESTWORKERS & CITIZENSHIP ABC had Jake Tapper (subscription required) lead from Capitol Hill on the unraveling of the immigration legislation. He called it "a true compromise" because "there is something in it for everyone to hate." So when amendments are introduced to fix those flaws, the "fragile bipartisan coalition" got tested. Senators' "tempers are flaring." Specifically, NBC's Chip Reid reported that for many Democrats its "robust guestworker program" is a dealbreaker while for many Republicans the same applies to the "path to citizenship" for the 12m residents without legal papers. ABC turned to George Stephanopoulos (no link) for political analysis. He reported that most of the pressure to defeat the bill is coming from conservatives: "They are hearing a boatload from the people back home." CBS mentioned the immigration debate only in passing.

CAFE STANDARDS Next week, the Senate will turn to the debate over automobile fuel efficiency and ABC's Dean Reynolds offered us a preview. "It has been more than a quarter of a century," since mileage requirements were raised. The proposal is for the entire fleet--cars, pick-up trucks and Sports Utility Vehicles--to improve from 27mpg to 35mpg by 2020. Reynolds noted that in its publicity and promotion Detroit's Big Three "like to portray themselves as futuristic" with breakthrough fuel technology. In practice, they have unleashed a $1m advertising campaign, "fighting hard to cripple or defeat" new mileage rules.

GRAFT Corruption, mundane and mindboggling, made news on NBC and ABC. First the mundane: ABC's John Cochran (subscription required) offered a hat tip to Florida's Naples Daily News for his Your Money investigation into a $10m federal highway project on Interstate 75. Cochran called it "mysterious" because the local congressman had no interest in it, local environmentalists opposed it and "many residents do not want it." So who wants to build the Coconut Road interchange? The money was set aside by Rep Don Young, a Republican from Alaska, after he received a $40,000 in campaign contributions from those connected to a Florida developer "who owns property along the road" and who attended a Young fundraiser two weeks before the contributions were made. Cochran quoted Young's side of the story: "At this time is has been decided not to release a statement."

The mindboggling was covered by NBC's Andrea Mitchell. It concerned the relationship between BAE Systems, a British defense contractor, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi Ambassador to Washington DC. The Prince had reportedly deposited "more than $1bn in kickbacks" into the Riggs Bank in the nation's capital. Those involved in the alleged scheme did not even seem to bother to deny it. BAE Systems declared that its payments were made "with the express approval of both the Saudi and the UK governments." British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that he had halted an investigation because of "the strategic interests of our country." And Mitchell dug up a clip of the Prince himself on PBS' Frontline in 2001 responding to questions about graft: "So what? We did not invest corruption."

Mitchell consulted her anonymous spook sources about whether illegal kickbacks are paid by American defense contractors. This was their reply: "Padding contracts to reward Saudi princes is routine. The Saudis even order weapons systems they do not need just to make a personal profit."

HEARTS & MINDS The day's big development in Baghdad was an interview on Iraq's state-run TV with Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric and opposition leader. CBS' Lara Logan noted that it was al-Sadr's first interview since the US military began its so-called surge and that it coincides with US troops "finally" setting up a joint security station on the edge of Sadr City, the Baghdad neighborhood that is al-Sadr's political base. Logan noted that al-Sadr "has tolerated the US presence here and avoided direct military confrontation" while at the same time forbidding community leaders from even talking to soldiers.

On Capitol Hill confirmation hearings were held for Douglas Lute, the army general nominated as the National Security Council's so-called War Czar. Evan Bayh, the Democratic Senator from Indiana, took the opportunity to quote from the latest report on Iraq from the National Intelligence Council and CBS' David Martin took the opportunity to relay the NIC's highlights: the trend in Iraq is "negative;" the chances for political reconciliation are "pessimistic;" the likelihood that the so-called surge will suppress violence is "slim;" and the prospects of weakening al-Qaeda's presence in Iraq are "gloomy." Apart from that, as they say…

On NBC, Lisa Myers relied on the online monitoring by, the Middle East Media Research Institute, to warn us about the "fight for American hearts and minds on the new virtual battlefield of the Internet." MEMRI uncovered an Arabic Website that instructs Islamist opponents of the US military occupation in Iraq to "invent stories about American soldiers who were drafted to Iraq and then committed suicide or concoct a story about a soldier who was paralyzed or his legs were amputated." Myers warned us, in particular, about a 27-minute movie that has "popped up all over the Internet" entitled Lee's Life For Lies. It purports to be the video diary of Lee Tucker, a disillusioned GI recorded before he was killed in battle. "In fact Tucker is very much alive and his father says Lee actually supports the war."

MOVIEMAKERS AND SHAKERS NBC's Bob Faw brought us an In Depth profile of the child of the rich and famous whose life fell on hard times but because of a privileged upbringing was able to secure benefits others can only dream of.

No, NBC did not mention Paris Hilton even in passing on its newscast. This child of privilege was inside-the Beltway: Quinn Bradlee, child of "celebrated journalists Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn." He was born with a syndrome of maladies--heart disease, epilepsy, migraines--that were eventually diagnosed as the genetic disorder called Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome. The "mighty Quinn," as Faw called him, has produced Anomaly Syndrome 22 a documentary movie publicizing the disorder that afflicts 130,000 nationwide.

UPDATE: a reader has heard that this documentary is scheduled to be aired on Wednesday May 13th but has no information on time or channel. Does anyone have precise knowledge about Anomaly Syndrome 22?

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PARIS So how was Paris Hilton covered? Hilton, the child of the rich and famous whose life fell on hard times but because of a privileged upbringing was able to secure benefits others can only dream of. She was released from the Los Angeles County Jail after serving three days of a 23-day sentence following a drunk driving conviction.

CBS' Bill Whitaker had more fun than Pierre Thomas did on ABC's A Closer Look. Thomas waded through penal statistics about average jail stays for non-violent first-time offenders and whether they secure early release with medical problems. Whitaker treated the story with the seriousness it deserved--namely, none. He called Hilton "a girl gone wild, then a girl gone to jail" but now "a girl gone home" with the public "going ballistic." From the "blogosphere to the legal sphere, criticism of Paris is burning." The ankle bracelet she will wear while under house arrest is "just another Paris fashion accessory" to her critics. He previewed the arrival in Hollywood of the Rev Al Sharpton to protest the "celebrity injustice" of it all. Whitaker showed us the assembled paparazzi and advised the reverend: "He will have to push aside the press."

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: on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 200 points…the National Archives discovered a previously-unknown letter from Abraham Lincoln to a Civil War general…ICE border controls requiring passports for travel in the Americas have been relaxed…a suspect has been arrested for the murder of the Kansas shopper who went missing from a Target store.