CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 18, 2008
The looming recession was Story of the Day again as President George Bush endorsed a fiscal stimulus for the economy that Chairman Benjamin Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board called for yesterday. Both ABC and CBS led from the White House where Bush called for $150bn-or-so in a mixture of cash rebates for individuals and investment incentives for businesses. NBC did not assign a reporter to the President's plan, mentioning it only in passing. Instead it led with the final day of campaigning before Saturday's Republican Presidential primary in South Carolina.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 18, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedStimulus package endorsed by President BushBill PlanteWhite House
video thumbnailABCEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedStimulus success relies on middle class spendingDavid MuirNew Jersey
video thumbnailNBC2008 South Carolina primary previewedMcCain-Huckabee winner will be GOP frontrunnerKelly O'DonnellSouth Carolina
video thumbnailNBC2008 tactics: role of candidates' kin surveyedTwentysomething daughters help Huckabee, McCainMaria MenounosSouth Carolina
video thumbnailNBC2008 John Edwards campaignOvershadowed by rivals, relies on long termAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSBritish Airways 038 crash lands at Heathrow AirportPilots had to react to loss of power on approachMark PhillipsLondon
video thumbnailCBSRep Don Young (R-AK) suspected of graftSuspicious highway funds rejected by Fla townSharyl AttkissonFlorida
video thumbnailNBCLandmine ban activism by Afghan amputee authorLegless war refugee student becomes US citizenKevin TibblesChicago
video thumbnailABCCosmetic surgery is all the rage in ChinaWomen compromise health to be taller, whiterMark LitkeBeijing
video thumbnailABCNorth Dakota disdained for sparse populationResidents protest National Geographic articleCharles GibsonNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
SPRINGTIME STIMULUS PROSPECTS The looming recession was Story of the Day again as President George Bush endorsed a fiscal stimulus for the economy that Chairman Benjamin Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board called for yesterday. Both ABC and CBS led from the White House where Bush called for $150bn-or-so in a mixture of cash rebates for individuals and investment incentives for businesses. NBC did not assign a reporter to the President's plan, mentioning it only in passing. Instead it led with the final day of campaigning before Saturday's Republican Presidential primary in South Carolina.

Both CBS' Bill Plante and ABC's Martha Raddatz (embargoed link) predicted that individuals could expect an $800 check from the federal government this spring. Raddatz quoted the pledge by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that as soon as any legislation is passed "we are going to run like a bunny to get the relief out." On CBS, anchor Katie Couric--no Keynesian she--worried that $150bn package would double federal borrowing. It was a strange worry, since if the money came from tax revenues or from cutting spending elsewhere then its effect would not be stimulative. Plante set her straight: if the government "pumps it out, it does not bring it in in taxes. It just adds to the deficit."

Both CBS' Sandra Hughes and ABC's David Muir wondered whether the package would actually stimulate consumers to resume their contracting spending. Celebrity economist Ben Stein actually recommended on CBS' Hitting Home series that the rebates should not be used as planned: "One, if you have high interest rate credit card debt or installment debt pay that off. Two, if you can save it, save it. Three, if you absolutely have to spend it, buy something durable with it like a freezer, a refrigerator, a microwave oven." On NBC, Kerry Sanders surveyed the signs of a slowing economy in smalltown central Florida. Falling municipal revenues in Mount Dora, population 11,669, may mean that garbage collection will be cut back to once a week. That stinks, Mayor Melissa DeMarco told him: "It is very hot and very humid here."


PLAYING NICE IN PALMETTO The South Carolina primary is known as the "gateway to the GOP nomination," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell announced, with its winner becoming the nominee in every cycle since 1980. With Mitt Romney concentrating on Nevada and Rudolph Giuliani on Florida, "it does seem to be down" to John McCain and Mike Huckabee, O'Donnell announced, consigning Fred Thompson to also-ran status and not even mentioning Ron Paul. She characterized McCain's platform as "cut government waste and keep the country safe" while Huckabee's focus is on "middle class economic anxiety." She gave them good marks for playing nice--they "have not been attacking one another." McCain's Website even sports this endorsement: "John McCain is a hero to this country. He is a hero to me." The soundbite is from Huckabee.

This approach by NBC--having a single correspondent summarize the positions of the main rivals--has been its standard technique so far this primary season. CBS, instead, features the wheel, a rapid succession of brief stand-ups from each reporter covering each major candidate. Thus we saw Chip Reid from the McCain camp, Nancy Cordes from Huckabee and Bill Whitaker from Romney.


FATHER’S DAUGHTERS & INSPIRATIONAL TWINS ABC and NBC both offered a background features about campaigning on the ground in South Carolina. NBC's Maria Menounos brought us a pair of twentysomething women, Sarah Huckabee and Meghan McCain, each her "father's secret weapon." The Huckabee daughter, a Department of Education bureaucrat, is national field director. The McCain daughter, a Columbia University graduate, posts on McCainBlogette.com. She prides herself on simultaneously being "interested in clothes and pop culture" and in reading The New York Times and The Economist at the same time.

ABC's Jake Tapper (embargoed link) brought us 19-year-old inspirational speaking authors and evangelical Christians Alex and Brett Harris. The Harris twins founded hucksarmy.com, a Website that has organized 12,000 out-of-state born-again volunteers "who believe they are pursuing a higher calling" to work for the underfunded Huckabee in South Carolina. Tapper offered this Huckabee campaign pledge as explanation for all that enthusiasm: "What we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it is in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."


VIVA LAS VEGAS ABC's Kate Snow (embargoed link) filed from Nevada, where the Democrats caucus on Saturday. They are hoping for a high turnout from Hispanic voters. Snow pointed out one "hurdle--there is not even a Spanish word for caucus." NBC's Andrea Mitchell wondered whether John Edwards was discouraged that even though he was the first Democrat "to talk about economic pain," the major Las Vegas hotel and casino workers union had endorsed his rival Barack Obama. The unions "will work hard to get people to the caucuses," Edwards insisted, but not to determine who to vote for once they get there. Mitchell told us that Edwards' plan is to stay in the race through Super Tuesday, picking up delegates in Georgia, Alabama, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and then to present himself as the alternative to whoever turns out to be the frontrunner--Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Also waiting in the wings, NBC's Tim Russert suggested, is potential third party candidate Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City. If the nominees turn out to be Rodham Clinton and Huckabee, that contest would be "very enticing…a whole broad center" Bloomberg can appeal to.


UPRIGHT AND INTACT All three networks had London-based reporters follow up on yesterday's crash landing by a British Airways Boeing 777 at Heathrow Airport. The pilots recounted a power failure in both engines at 600 feet, two miles short of the airport, just as they increased the thrust. NBC's Dawna Friesen called it "a perfect crash landing" if there is such a thing, with the plane sliding to a halt "upright and intact." CBS' Mark Phillips showed us cellphone video of a wobbling aircraft and recreated the crash from a pilot simulator. Jim Sciutto narrated using an ABC Virtual View computer graphics animation.


THIS IS FRIDAY SO… End of week features included CBS' Follow the Money in which Sharyl Attkisson took us to Bonita Springs Fla, a town that turned down $10m in federal funds for a highway intersection on I-75 because it was suspiciously connected to campaign contributions organized by a local landowner to an Alaska Congressman, Republican Don Young.

From Beijing, ABC's Mark Litke looked into a Chinese cosmetic surgery boom for women wanting to look "whiter, thinner, taller"--one heightening procedure involves having your legs broken to insert metal rods.

Farah Ahmedi was seven years old when her leg was blown off by a landmine as she was escaping Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The war refugee settled in Illinois, where she wrote the memoir The Other Side of the Sky. Proceeds from the book have helped fund United Nations landmine removal programs. In NBC's Making a Difference feature Kevin Tibbles told us that Ahmedi is now a 20-year-old student--and a newly naturalized citizen of the United States.

National Geographic magazine noted that parts of the North Dakota prairie are "empty" in "irreversible decline littered with dead towns," according to ABC anchor Charles Gibson. He designated the state's entire population were his network's Persons of the Week for their voluble protests against such a slur--even as Gibson himself observed that the northern plains are "desolate and windswept." When John Hoeven, the Republican Governor, insisted that "we have a warm and wonderful state" that was too much for Gibson. The high temperature in Fargo was -6F.


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: opposition protests against election corruption in Kenya continue…the CIA claims it has a suspect in its investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan…Shiite Moslems on pilgrimage to celebrate the holiday of Assura were attacked by a rival cult in southern Iraq; 50 were killed…a onetime bank robber in Massachusetts was prohibited from playing the state lottery as a condition of his parole; he bought a ticket anyway and won a $1m jackpot; his judge allowed him to keep his winnings…Cold-War-era world chess champion Bobby Fischer died, aged 64.