CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 22, 2008
Wall Street trading resumed after a holiday to honor Martin Luther King. The financial markets' reaction to Monday's fire sale of stocks all over the world was the Story of the Day, leading all three newscasts. Apart from global finance, the nightly news was almost entirely bereft of foreign coverage. CBS and ABC both decided to run no international news while airing two show business stories instead: the prospect of celebrityfree Academy Awards ceremonies and the untimely death of 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger. The lone coverage from overseas was filed by NBC, on the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 22, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCNYSE-NASDAQ closing pricesDJIA down 128 to 11971 after huge global selloffErin BurnettNew York
video thumbnailCBSInterest rates set by Federal Reserve BoardSurprising large cut to 3.5% as markets fallAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailCBSEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedPresident Bush talks with Congressional leadersBill PlanteWhite House
video thumbnailNBCEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedPersonal finance tips for saving, spending, debtCarl QuintanillaNew York
video thumbnailABCNYSE-NASDAQ closing pricesSmall investors worry about retirement nest eggDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailABC2008 South Carolina primaryDemocrats' CNN debate featured testy exchangesKate SnowSouth Carolina
video thumbnailNBCIsrael-Palestinian conflictGaza Strip residents protest Israeli blockadeMartin FletcherGaza
video thumbnailCBSHeart disease and cardiac arrests coverageAnnual deaths reduced by 160K since 1999Jon LaPookNew York
video thumbnailCBSActor Heath Ledger dies, aged 28Australian star found dead in his NYC apartmentKelly WallaceNew York
video thumbnailABCAcademy Awards ceremonies held in HollywoodProducers brace for pickets, lack of celebritiesBrian RooneyHollywood
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
INTEREST RATE CUT MITIGATES STOCKS’ SLIDE Wall Street trading resumed after a holiday to honor Martin Luther King. The financial markets' reaction to Monday's fire sale of stocks all over the world was the Story of the Day, leading all three newscasts. Apart from global finance, the nightly news was almost entirely bereft of foreign coverage. CBS and ABC both decided to run no international news while airing two show business stories instead: the prospect of celebrityfree Academy Awards ceremonies and the untimely death of 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger. The lone coverage from overseas was filed by NBC, on the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.

As usual when economic news breaks, NBC had its sibling financial news cable channel CNBC provide the coverage. Erin Burnett chose the global financial angle on the day's Wall Street trading, recapping the "wild ride" of selling from Tokyo to Frankfurt to Paris to London. NBC's Mike Taibbi followed up with a tick-tock of the day at the trading desk of the Wall Street investment bank Cowen & Co.

CBS' Anthony Mason and ABC's Betsy Stark (embargoed link) opted for the intervention of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. The central bank cut short-term interest rates to 3.5% . Stark called the cut "extraordinary;" Mason called it an "emergency;" Burnett used "shocking." Stark reported that the Fed "has not cut interest rates this much in a single swipe in more than 25 years." This was the first cut not to be announced at a scheduled meeting since the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The upshot of the monetary relief was that the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11971, down only 128 points, an unnewsworthy end to headline-grabbing trading

CBS' Mason also warned about a pair of "little known companies" that happen to be "a key part of the financial infrastructure." Between them, Ambac and MBIA insure $2.5tr in financial paper. If those two insurers find themselves in trouble, floor trader Doreen Mogavero warned Mason that "the wild ride is not over."


FISCAL CHORUS CBS covered the fiscal side of the economic anxiety. From the White House Bill Plante saw Congress set a "warp speed" schedule--that is less than a month--to enact a $150bn stimulus package. "Market panic around the globe brought a sense of urgency to today's meeting between the President and Congressional leaders, all now singing from the same sheet of music." The major potential disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, Plante pointed out, concerning working-class households that do not earn enough to pay income tax. Should they be included or excluded from the $800 per individual stimulus check program?


DO NOT PANIC Rounding out economic coverage, all three networks filed a personal finance advice feature. For NBC's Hard Times series, CNBC's Carl Quintanilla offered advice that will thwart that fiscal stimulus package, which is supposed to revive consumer confidence and spending: "Most advisors say it is time to save, especially if the White House and Congress agree on a measure to put as much as $1,600 in families' pocketbooks." Uncannily, Sandra Hughes, for CBS' Hitting Home series, and David Muir for ABC both isolated a sixtysomething social worker, worried that a stock market sell-off would compromise retirement income. Muir introduced us to Marti Fritz in New York City; Hughes to Carlos Sosa in Los Angeles. Here is the advice Hughes cited: "Now is not the time to panic and sell." Guess what Muir found? "Do not panic or sell indiscriminately."


CHECK OUT MEDIAZULU All three networks ran the same soundbites from the Democratic Presidential debate on CNN in South Carolina. "You were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Wal-Mart," said he. "You were practicing law and representing tour contributor Rezko in his slumlord business in inner-city Chicago," said she. So here we see the contest get "more bitter by the day," according to CBS' Dean Reynolds (no link) or "more bitter every day," as NBC's Andrea Mitchell put it. ABC's Kate Snow quoted Hillary Rodham Clinton's husband Bill as calling it "a family feud." Barack Obama, Snow added, "now has a hotline for voters to report on nasty flyers or phone calls."

NBC's Tim Russert added that the Democratic race, besides being "personal" and "divisive" is also breaking down along demographic lines of class and race.

Tyndall Report argued last week (text link) on how neatly coverage of these quarrels falls into television's Reality Gameshow genre. That prompted a 20-minute videostreamed discussion with my dear friend Max Robins (access since denied), the distinguished television journalist and commentator, on his new site mediazulu.com. Robins is developing exciting new video software there. There are still a couple of buffering glitches in the video so be patient--but the back and forth was fun anyway.

On the topic of Reality Gameshow journalism supplanting Horse Race journalism, Jay Rosen (text link) at PressThink goes into thoughtful depth about why the Horse Race model--which I argue is moribund--deserves to be so. Rosen does not think it is quite dead yet, however.


GAZA HAS NO POWER Good for Martin Fletcher for getting his NBC camera crew into the blacked-out Gaza Strip. The Israeli blockade has halted delivery of food and water and fuel. "No fuel for power plants, so no electricity in most of Gaza, leaving a million people with no heating, no electric lights…no power to fuel water pumps." Desperate Palestinians flocked to the western border to try to persuade Egyptian troops to raise the siege. Fletcher duly made note of international accusations against Israel for imposing "collective punishment" and Israel's justification for the blockade as pressure to prevent Gazan rocket attacks on its border towns.


HEART & PANCREAS CBS' Jon LaPook and ABC's John McKenzie (embargoed link) picked up on an American Heart Association announcement that the 25% fewer people are now dying of heart disease than at the end of last century. Their statistics were confusing. McKenzie said there were "a staggering 160,000 lives saved in just six years." CBS anchor Katie Couric, introducing LaPook's Eye on your Health report, said that the 160,000 statistic referred to the annual reduction in deaths comparing 2005 with 1999, not the six year total. Does anyone know which is the correct timeframe?

Yet anyway, neither McKenzie nor LaPook was clear about the interpretation of the lower heart death rate. Does it mean we are living longer? Or does it mean something else is killing us first before our hearts give out? For instance: diabetes. That was the Disease of the Day for NBC's Robert Bazell. He contrasted two treatments: the standard combination of blood-sugar medication and weight-loss advice versus the $30,000 alternative of stomach surgery. Research found that after two years the cure rate for the standard was 13% versus 73% for the surgery experiment. "Surgery could become more common," he speculated.


ELSEWHERE… All three networks covered Heath Ledger's death: NBC's Anne Thompson filed a stand-up from outside his downtown Manhattan home; ABC's John Berman and CBS' Kelly Wallace included a montage of Ledger's movie roles and a preview of his portrayal of The Joker in the Batman sequel The Dark Knight…the announcement of the nominations for the Academy Awards inspired both CBS' Richard Schlesinger and ABC's Brian Rooney to speculate about celebrityfree Oscars in the event that the ceremonies are picketed by striking screenwriters. Rooney envisaged that his network would broadcast a show "loaded with clips from 80 years of Oscar ceremonies--the red carpet in black and white."


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 lone example concerned Jose Padilla, the onetime Chicago gangster who was incarcerated without trial by the USNavy as a suspected terrorist. He was sentenced to 17 years in a civilian federal prison.