CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 28, 2008
All three networks sent their anchors to Washington DC to cover President George Bush's final State of the Union address. But their hearts really were not in it. The headline political news of the day came from the campaign trail. All three newscasts led with the Story of the Day, the endorsement of Barack Obama by Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Senator, and Caroline Kennedy, whose father was President John Kennedy. ABC expanded its newshole, as has been its wont on January Mondays, courtesy of sponsor Pfizer (24 min v CBS 18, NBC 20) and used its extra time to conduct an Exclusive interview with the Democratic uncle and niece, a former First Brother and former First Daughter.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 28, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignEndorsed by Edward and Caroline KennedyJeff GreenfieldNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton campaignTactics in South Carolina alienated Sen KennedyAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailNBC2008 Florida Republican primaryMcCain, Romney in bitter two-man contestRon AllenTampa
video thumbnailCBSState of the Union address by President BushFinal speech has no new policy initiativesJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesMosul street fight videotaped by GI's helmetcamMark StrassmannIraq
video thumbnailABCICE border controls along Mexico lineNogales zone faces marijuana, migrant smugglingBill WeirArizona
video thumbnailCBSFEMA housing trailers have toxic indoor airCDC warning on formaldehyde risks suppressedArmen KeteyianWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCStock trading fraud exposed at Paris bankTrader prosecuted for $7bn breach of trustMaria BartiromoParis
video thumbnailABCYear of the Rat celebrated in ChinaHoliday rail travel disrupted by heavy snowsStephanie SyBeijing
video thumbnailNBCCorporations outsource jobs to offshore sitesLanguage woes at call centers, turn home basedSavannah GuthrieNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
KENNEDYS’ NOD TRUMPS LAME DUCK BUSH All three networks sent their anchors to Washington DC to cover President George Bush's final State of the Union address. But their hearts really were not in it. The headline political news of the day came from the campaign trail. All three newscasts led with the Story of the Day, the endorsement of Barack Obama by Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Senator, and Caroline Kennedy, whose father was President John Kennedy. ABC expanded its newshole, as has been its wont on January Mondays, courtesy of sponsor Pfizer (24 min v CBS 18, NBC 20) and used its extra time to conduct an Exclusive interview with the Democratic uncle and niece, a former First Brother and former First Daughter.

The Obama rally inspired a certain giddiness. The candidate "snagged a big one," in the words of NBC's Lee Cowan. CBS' Jeff Greenfield called it "a moment packed with political significance." ABC's David Wright (embargoed link) wondered how much influence it mighty have with ordinary voters. "This may be one instance where a lot of people" will be persuaded, he assessed, calling it "no ordinary endorsement." NBC's Tim Russert pinpointed the specific Democratic voting blocs liable to be swayed as blue collar workers, Latinos and whites.

The significance of the event concerned Obama's relationship with two huge names in Democratic politics, the Kennedys themselves and the Clintons. Concerning the Kennedys, ABC's Wright waxed poetic: "Today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot." NBC's Cowan invoked "the Kennedy mystique" and CBS' Greenfield picked up on the Massachusetts senator "declaring that the torch has been passed." In that interview with ABC anchor Charles Gibson, Edward Kennedy cited Obama's "unique abilities…to galvanize the young, to speak to hope…not only to win an election but to govern." Caroline Kennedy stated: "We have a chance to change history here."

As for the Clintons, for the candidate herself it was "an embarrassment," according to NBC's Cowan. CBS' Greenfield heard Ted Kennedy taking "dead aim at one of her core arguments" that Obama is too much of a rookie to be President. NBC's Andrea Mitchell called it an "enormous blow for Hillary." But, more important, it was seen as a rebuke to husband Bill. ABC's Wright saw "a slap in the face" for the former President when Kennedy hailed Obama for turning the page "on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion." ABC's George Stephanopoulos reported that Kennedy had told Bill Clinton that "he did not appreciate" his campaigning in South Carolina. NBC's Mitchell characterized Kennedy as being "appalled" at Clinton's attacks and had "urged him to tone it down."

Both NBC's Mitchell and CBS' Greenfield replayed Bill Clinton's apparent race-based belittling of Obama's landslide victory in South Carolina--"Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in '84 and '88"--which would make his wife this generation's Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis.


INTENSE, NASTY, PERSONAL The President's speech did not even qualify for the #2 slot in the day's political news. That honor went to the Republicans' final day on the campaign trail in Florida. The primary contest there is so close that "John McCain canceled plans to attend tonight's State of the Union address in Washington so he could crisscross Florida and attack Mitt Romney at every stop," as CBS' Byron Pitts put it. ABC's Ron Claiborne (embargoed link) called the mood on the campaign trail "extraordinarily tense" while NBC's Ron Allen heard each hurl "perhaps the ultimate Republican insult at each other, the L-word." McCain called Romney "the liberal Governor of the State of Massachusetts." Romney reminded voters that McCain co-sponsored legislation with Democrats on immigration, campaign finance and climate change.

Sure, there are legitimate issues of ideology, experience and resources that separate the two. NBC's Allen contrasted McCain's "national security" background with Romney's preparation "to handle a troubled economy." ABC's Claiborne pointed out that Florida allows only registered Republicans to vote in the primary, thereby cutting off McCain's core support among independents. But Claiborne insisted that this contest is "intense, nasty and at times personal." ABC's George Stephanopoulos was asked whether the animosity between the two is genuine. "You can see it. There is no question about it," he averred. Not just McCain, but Romney's other rivals in the Republican field "believe that at his core he has not shown principle, he has not been consistent on issues."


MOST MODEST So we come to the Constitutional duty of Leader of the Free World to report to Congress. "The time for bold proposals has passed for President George Bush and his final State of the Union address will be his most modest," asserted CBS' Jim Axelrod. ABC's Martha Raddatz (no link) saw "no new bold initiatives" and a repetition of already failed proposals on Social Security and immigration--despite the fact that Bush "has no expectation the initiatives will go anywhere this time." NBC was so unenthused about the prospect of the speech that David Gregory did not even file a taped package in preview, relying on a mere live standup. Bob Schieffer (no link), anchor of CBS' Face the Nation asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi what she was looking forward to: "I am just glad it is his last State of the Union."


HELMETCAM Fighting in Mosul killed five GIs as a roadside bomb exploded outside a sniper-infested mosque. NBC's Richard Engel filed a brief update from Baghdad. CBS happened to have Mark Strassmann deployed with the USArmy's Third Armored Division in Mosul. He did not report on the attack itself but he did air Exclusive battlefield video of an ambush taken from a soldier's helmet mounted camera. We saw streetfighting continue until relief arrived in the form of attack helicopters and Bradley fighting vehicles. Mosul, population almost two million, is patrolled by 5,000 US troops. A soldier told Strassmann: "In Mosul there are no good areas, only degrees of bad."


ELSEWHERE… ABC continued its expanded-Mondays series The Real 24 with a trip to Nogales as Bill Weir profiled a day in the life of the Border Patrol along the Mexico line. Each year on that sector, 450 tons of marijuana are seized and 340,000 visaless immigrants are turned away…CBS' Armen Keteyian followed up on his Investigation into FEMA's unhealthy emergency housing, trailers that continue to be used by 41,000 families. Keteyian revealed that Dr Christopher DeRosa, a senior toxicologist at the Centers for Disease Control, had wanted to issue an alert about the health risks from formaldehyde fumes but FEMA had his warning suppressed…financial news cable channel CNBC sent Maria Bartiromo to Paris to cover the $7bn lost in unauthorized financial speculation by Jerome Kerviel, the thirtysomething trader at Societe Generale. She reported on NBC that his defense lawyers claim that the bank is using him as a scapegoat to cover "huge losses in the subprime crisis"…New Year celebrations in China are usually marked by millions of urban workers returning to their native villages by train. This year heavy snows have disrupted the railroad system. ABC's Stephanie Sy told us that a station in Guangzhou Province has 200,000 passengers waiting in line. Sy cited a Chinese proverb ruefully: "When people are anxious to go home they want to travel as swiftly as an arrow." Just imagine: 200,000 passengers stuck at a single railroad station…the quality of English spoken at outsourced telephone calling centers is so low that some firms have decided to insource, Savannah Guthrie told us on NBC--not to domestic centers but by routing calls to people's homes. So now if you call JetBlue or J.Crew or Office Depot or AAA or 1-800-Flowers you are liable to be answered not by Bangalore but by a pajamaclad operator in the heartland.


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: Gordon Hinckley, the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has died at age 97…Archbishop Christodoulos of the Greek Orthodox Church has died, aged 69…a spy satellite the size of a bus is falling out of its orbit and will crash to Earth…an asteroid the size of a supermarket will not crash into us--the planet is dodging its path by a margin of 330,000 miles.