CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 09, 2008
The voters of New Hampshire were the Story of the Day--those on the Democratic side anyway. They defied the projections of opinion pollsters and the conventional wisdom of political pundits to give Hillary Rodham Clinton a victory in the first primary of Campaign 2008. Campaign coverage dominated the nightly news, occupying 54% (31 min out of 57) of the three-network newshole. Specifically, Rodham Clinton herself occupied center stage. She granted post-victory interviews to CBS anchor Katie Couric and ABC anchor Charles Gibson from her suburban New York home. NBC anchor Brian Williams passed, jetting out to the Consumer Electronics trade show in Las Vegas instead, where he unveiled the relaunch of the NBC Nightly News Website.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 09, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBS2008 New Hampshire primaryRodham Clinton's victory was unexpectedDean ReynoldsNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignRebounds from NH loss, endorsed by Nevada unionLee CowanNew York
video thumbnailABC2008 Michigan primary previewedContested only by GOP, pits Romney vs McCainRon ClaiborneDetroit
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignMay become frontrunner in chaotic GOP raceKelly O'DonnellSouth Carolina
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesIslamist guerrillas attacked in Diyala ProvinceJohn HendrenIraq
video thumbnailCBSAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingUSMC may send 3,000 reinforcements this springDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailCBSEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedReal estate woes may spread to consumer spendingAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailNBCHighway pile-up on Florida's I-4 kills fourFog, smoke envelops traffic; 70 vehicles crashMark PotterMiami
video thumbnailABCAutism coverageMinority of cases traced to genetic mutationNed PotterNew York
video thumbnailCBSTeenage sexuality, sexual activity trendsOnline podcast answers adolescents' sex ed FAQsCynthia BowersWisconsin
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
GRANITE STATE SHAKE-UP The voters of New Hampshire were the Story of the Day--those on the Democratic side anyway. They defied the projections of opinion pollsters and the conventional wisdom of political pundits to give Hillary Rodham Clinton a victory in the first primary of Campaign 2008. Campaign coverage dominated the nightly news, occupying 54% (31 min out of 57) of the three-network newshole. Specifically, Rodham Clinton herself occupied center stage. She granted post-victory interviews to CBS anchor Katie Couric and ABC anchor Charles Gibson from her suburban New York home. NBC anchor Brian Williams passed, jetting out to the Consumer Electronics trade show in Las Vegas instead, where he unveiled the relaunch of the NBC Nightly News Website.

Given the triviality of the topics anchors ABC's Gibson and CBS' Couric chose to discuss with Rodham Clinton, NBC's Williams was probably wise to pass on the one-on-one and head off to Nevada. NBC had Today anchor Meredith Vieira handle the chores instead, soundbites from which appeared in Andrea Mitchell's report. Of the six questions Couric posed to Rodham Clinton one was on her optimism, another was on her emotional state, a third was on her personal reserve, a fourth was about her "unwavering certitude" and a fifth concerned her lack of humility. Gibson's questions were less directly personal but no more substantive: "You did not expect what happened yesterday did you?"…"What was going on in the Clinton suite last night as the results came in?"

Gibson managed to obtain one insight into how long the primary season will last. "Do you think February 5th is decisive?" "Well right now I do."


LIKABLE ENOUGH NBC's Andrea Mitchell and CBS' Dean Reynolds both took us through the narrative of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. Mitchell called is "a stunning upset that no one predicted" and Reynolds described "an improbable scene…just days, really hours ago, her effort resembled a grim still life, momentum sapped, inevitability shriveled, reduced almost to tears." Both played clips from that emotional monologue in the diner on Monday. Mitchell also cited Saturday night's exchange in the ABC News debate when Rodham Clinton was asked why fewer people like her than Barack Obama. "Well that hurts my feelings. He is very likable. I agree with that. I do not think I am that bad." "You are likable enough, Hillary."

Both Mitchell and Reynolds concluded that Rodham Clinton's victory relied on her success in appealing to women and to Democratic partisans. Mitchell pointed out that many traditional Democrats switched from John Edwards to Rodham Clinton.

Obama's prospects in next week's Nevada caucuses were previewed by NBC's Lee Cowan and ABC's David Wright (no link). Cowan quoted Obama's endorsement from the Culinary Workers Union, which represents hotel and casino workers on the Las Vegas Strip and whose membership contrasts with the complexion of the electorate in Iowa and New Hampshire: "We are not just Wonder Bread here. We have got pumpernickel. We have got whole wheat. We have got rye."


POST MORTEM The upset in New Hampshire was so disconcerting that both NBC and ABC offered post-mortems. ABC's David Muir (embargoed link) investigated what went wrong with the opinion polls. Obama lost the actual primary by 3% even though nine separate polls had shown him with a clear lead. Their average margin in his favor had been 8%. He offered a trio of hypotheses: an unexpectedly high number of voters changed their mind at the last moment; pollsters were fooled by the enthusiasm of Obama's crowds into projecting too high a turnout; or some white respondents "overstated their willingness to support a black candidate."

NBC anchor Brian Williams addressed his own failure in offering premature predictions of Rodham Clinton's defeat: "We in the media will beat ourselves bloody--and deservedly so--for reaching conclusions before the voters have spoken." He quoted a sample of three critical e-mails from viewers: one blasted arrogance towards voters; another "double standard" sexism against the female candidate; and a third the unbalanced focus on Democrats over Republicans.

That final point was certainly in evidence on the three nightly newscasts. The Democratic upset was clearly the Story of the Day.


EYES ON MICHIGAN All three networks did assign a correspondent to the Republican race, whose next stage is Michigan. ABC's Ron Claiborne called the primary "do or die" for Mitt Romney, New Hampshire's second-place finisher, who is curtailing his TV ad spending in South Carolina and Florida in order to concentrate on the state where he was born. CBS' Kelly Cobiella claimed that John McCain, who won in New Hampshire, needs Michigan too "but not nearly as much as rival Romney." She noted that Iowa winner Mike Huckabee has decided that he too will compete in Michigan, targeting pro-lifers and the economically distressed. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell saw McCain try "to reach for that mantle of frontrunner even though it is a fragile grip--for now."


HANDICAPPERS Now the New Hampshire dust has settled, both CBS and NBC had their Sunday morning anchors handicap the horse race to come. Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press highlighted the contrast between the two parties. He called Democrats Obama and Rodham Clinton a pair of "political heavyweights…very well funded. That race is going to go on and on and on." Meanwhile, none of the Republicans is "particularly well funded. It is so wide open. It is so fluid. No one knows where this is going to end or how it is going to end." On CBS, Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation outlined the Republican elimination rounds between now and Super Tuesday: Michigan pits McCain against Romney; the South Carolina face-off is Mike Huckabee or Fred Thompson; Florida must be a big win for Rudolph Giuliani.


PULL & PRAY It is a tired old television trick to tease viewers with the anticipation of racy fare. Normally the network nightly newscasts do not stoop to such manipulation. Not tonight on CBS. Anchor Katie Couric teased Cynthia Bowers' closer on the Midwest Teen Sex Show sex education podcast three times during the newscast and ended her introduction with a prurient: "Be warned. What follows is frank and explicit." Please. Check out Bowers' report for yourself and try to find anything shocking. Host Nikol Hasler warns teenagers…not to engage in group sex in public!…not to have sex with pedophiles!…not to have unsafe sex!…and that the contraceptive technique dubbed Pull & Pray often results in pregnancy! "Be reassured. What follows is frank and sensible."


ELSEWHERE… ABC sent John Hendren into Iraq's Diyala River valley where an offensive dubbed Operation Phantom Phoenix has been launched to try to eradicate al-Qaeda-linked guerrilla holdouts…from the Pentagon, CBS' David Martin briefed us on plans to dispatch 3,000 Marine Corps reinforcements to Afghanistan this spring…CBS' Anthony Mason reported that economists at the Wall Street investment house Goldman Sachs have predicted a looming recession…NBC's Mark Potter showed us pictures of the 70-vehicle pile-up on Florida's I-4 as a combination of fog and smoke from forest fires produced zero visibility…the isolation of a genetic mutation that is found in 1% of all autism cases was covered by ABC's Ned Potter and NBC's Robert Bazell--but it was unclear why a discovery that does not involve 99% of those with the disorder should be so newsworthy.


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: President George Bush began his Middle East diplomacy in Jerusalem, where he held talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel…more teenagers are using over-the-counter cough medicine to get high than are using methamphetamine…teenage drunk driving prevention efforts were dramatized by an Iowa mother, who sold her son's car after she found liquor under the front seat.