CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 05, 2008
As the networks waited for the polls to close, the Super Tuesday primary dominated the news of the day, occupying 72% (44 min out of 61) of the three-network newshole. CBS and NBC both kicked of with the wheel format, five correspondents each filing from the headquarters they were assigned to. Both networks chose the same hierarchy: Hillary Rodham Clinton first in New York City, then Barack Obama in Chicago, next John McCain in Phoenix, followed by Mitt Romney in Boston, with Mike Huckabee in Little Rock rounding it out. NBC, courtesy of its single sponsor Chrysler, ran an hourlong newscast with an extended newshole (24 min v ABC 18, CBS 18) in its first half hour. Instead of the candidates, ABC chose to lead with the topline from the exit polls.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 05, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBC2008 Super Tuesday primaryRodham Clinton sees long race, relies on womenAndrea MitchellNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Super Tuesday primaryObama support surges, seeks even delegate splitLee CowanChicago
video thumbnailNBC2008 Super Tuesday primaryMcCain is object of feuding among conservativesKelly O'DonnellPhoenix
video thumbnailNBC2008 Super Tuesday primaryRomney runs as populist conservativeRon AllenBoston
video thumbnailABC2008 Super Tuesday primaryWest Virginia GOP convention won by HuckabeeJake TapperArkansas
video thumbnailABC2008 Super Tuesday primaryEach party has its distinct delegates rulesRobert KrulwichNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Super Tuesday primaryDemocrats vie for Latino vote in Cal, Ariz, NMTom BrokawLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBS2008 voting blocs: twentysomethingsMotivated, organized by social networking sitesDaniel SiebergNew York
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesDangerous streetfighting intensifies in MosulRichard EngelIraq
video thumbnailCBSGermany apartment building fire kills nineToddler tossed down four stories to save lifeElizabeth PalmerLondon
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
WHEELING INTO SUPER TUESDAY As the networks waited for the polls to close, the Super Tuesday primary dominated the news of the day, occupying 72% (44 min out of 61) of the three-network newshole. CBS and NBC both kicked of with the wheel format, five correspondents each filing from the headquarters they were assigned to. Both networks chose the same hierarchy: Hillary Rodham Clinton first in New York City, then Barack Obama in Chicago, next John McCain in Phoenix, followed by Mitt Romney in Boston, with Mike Huckabee in Little Rock rounding it out. NBC, courtesy of its single sponsor Chrysler, ran an hourlong newscast with an extended newshole (24 min v ABC 18, CBS 18) in its first half hour. Instead of the candidates, ABC chose to lead with the topline from the exit polls.

"A surprise win," as ABC's Jake Tapper called it, kicked off Super Tuesday coverage. The Republicans of West Virginia held a convention during the day, which was won on a second ballot. "Supporters of Ron Paul and John McCain threw their weight behind Mike Huckabee so as to prevent Mitt Romney from getting the win," Tapper told us. "The old enemy of my enemy is my friend." The Romney campaign called it "backroom wheeling and dealing" and "inside-Washington shenanigans," reported CBS' Bill Whitaker (no link). NBC's Ron Allen pointed out that West Virginia had been on Romney's "short list" for the day. CBS' Nancy Cordes (no link) speculated that the West Virginia deal "provides new fodder for those who accuse the former pastor of running, at this point, to be Chief Spoiler rather than Commander-in-Chief." ABC's Tapper argued the alternative--"frankly it reminds voters that Huckabee is still running"--and touted his prospects in Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma and Alabama.


SUPERSTITION ABC's David Muir (no link) characterized the question on the GOP side as "whether or not to solidify a Republican frontrunner or keep this race going." The frontrunner, of course is the "superstitious" John McCain, for whom, CBS' Chip Reid (no link) observed, "this has been a nerve-wracking day." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell recounted a tale of "the teasing, the fighting, the gnashing of teeth" as McCain supporter Robert Dole criticized talkradio host Rush Limbaugh for lambasting McCain. Dole drew the ire of Mitt Romney for butting in. Romney drew the ire of McCain for criticizing Dole. "They are the ones using Sen Dole. They are the ones manipulating him," Limbaugh complained of the McCain Campaign. "It was not a pretty picture," mused O'Donnell.

CBS' Bob Schieffer (at the tail of the Jeff Greenfield videostream) outlined the task facing McCain on Super Tuesday: "He has got to beat back the fire that is being fanned over on the right by the conservatives who say he is not one of them." ABC's George Stephanopoulos isolated three states--Massachusetts, Missouri, California: "If McCain does not win two out of three he is not going to be able to shut it down." Meanwhile Romney, the self-styled "populist urging grassroots conservatives to help him stop McCain," as NBC's Ron Allen put it, hopes for "at least a good share of California's delegates and wins in several smaller western states."


NOT-SO YOUNGER WOMEN As for the Democrats, CBS' Jim Axelrod (no link) picked up on a mood of "substantial worry" at the Rodham Clinton campaign in the face of Obama's surge in the polls. NBC's Andrea Mitchell marveled at the speed of the change: "Only a month ago, in New Hampshire, Clinton predicted the race would be over tonight" yet now her camp is predicting "that the fight for the Democratic nomination will go all the way to the Convention." ABC's David Muir (no link) illustrated just how grueling the campaign has become with a clip of Rodham Clinton's uncontrolable coughing jag that ended one satellite television interview.

The Obama campaign responded by playing the expectations game. "He had good poll numbers in New Hampshire and lost," reflected CBS' Dean Reynolds (no link). Yet both Reynolds and NBC's Lee Cowan could not help but marvel at the strides Obama had made. "Since the early days of his campaign the candidate has morphed from the intellectual to the inspirational," Cowan recalled. Reynolds recapped Obama's recent 15-state swing: "He has relied heavily on his undeniable oratorical power to inspire, to touch, and to move those who see him in person."

So how to handicap the Democratic race? Women, it was agreed, will be key. If Rodham Clinton performs well, "it will be because women came through for her again as they did in New Hampshire," NBC's Mitchell predicted. ABC's George Stephanopoulos called women her "last line of defense." CBS' Axelrod pointed to her televised town hall meeting on the Hallmark Channel "a network for women aged 18 to 49. The hope is to stop the exodus of women to Obama."

Concerning that exodus, NBC's Mitchell got carried away when she told us that "many younger women like Maria Shriver say they switched to Obama after listening to their daughters." No offense to the former First Niece, anchor of NBC's Dateline and First Lady of California. Maria is many things but a "younger woman" she is not.


DELEGATE EXPLAINER ABC commissioned Robert Krulwich to offer one of his patented animated explainers on how viewers are supposed to interpret the night's results as Super Tuesday's 24 states report their count. He visualized a pair of red-vs-blue boxing matches with radically different scoring systems--"different parties, different flavors." No state has a winner-take-all system for Democratic contests, Krulwich explained; several large states on the Republican side do. The GOP system "is designed to produce a big winner pretty quickly." The Democrats are "nicer" since everybody wins a little something--but only nicer in the short run since "it is a system that encourages primary campaigns to go on and on…"

So, NBC's Tim Russert (no link) insisted that "we have got to keep reminding our viewers that even if their candidate wins a state 51%-49% they get the same number of delegates practically and that is what it is all about." And CBS' Jeff Greenfield reminded us that "all night we will be telling you this: the Democrat who wins a state may have almost no advantage in who actually gets delegates because the Democrats proportion delegates almost evenly."

ABC's George Stephanopoulos put some numbers on the line. He reckoned that Hillary Rodham Clinton, before the Super Tuesday votes get counted, has a 60 delegate lead over Barack Obama. Stephanopoulos set these benchmarks for the night: Rodham Clinton can call herself the night's winner if she emerges with a 125 delegate lead or greater; Obama wins if he narrows her lead to under 60; any result between 60 and 125 is a wash.


INEXPERIENCED As for the exit polls, they were handled by CBS' Jeff Greenfield, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Ann Curry. The one statistic all three found newsworthy concerned the attributes voters most desired in a candidate. For Democrats it was to be an agent of change; experience was in second place. For Republicans, sharing one's values was most desired; again experience ranked second. Neither party's voters rated electability as a top quality. Both ABC's Stephanopoulos and NBC's Curry also contrasted the two parties on what issues their voters found important. Both groups ranked the economy as #1. Republicans followed with immigration and the Iraq War; Democrats ranked the Iraq War next followed by healthcare.


LATIN TWENTYSOMETHINGS Rounding out the political coverage, CBS and NBC both filed features on specific voting blocs. NBC sent former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw to California to cover the "real donnybrook going on for the Latino vote." He estimated that it is breaking two-to-one in favor of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic races in California, Arizona and New Mexico. CBS' Daniel Sieberg picked on the twentysomething cohort and the mixed success of social networking Websites as a mobilizing tool. Barack Obama can contact 370,000 supporters instantly using Facebook and can boast 11m views of the Black Eyed Peas music video of his Yes We Can speech. On the other hand Republican Ron Paul raised $6m online from his supporters in a single day yet "he does not have a single delegate."


ELSEWHERE… Recession fears mounted and stock prices fell on Wall Street. ABC's Betsy Stark (embargoed link) explained the significance of a contraction in the economy's vast service sector…NBC's Richard Engel, embedded with a USArmy cavalry regiment, brought us battlefield footage from the street fighting in Mosul…CBS' Elizabeth Palmer narrated footage of a house fire in Germany in which parents, trapped on the fourth floor of an apartment building, tossed their nine-month-old daughter to safety out of a window. The girl was caught below.

UPDATE: CBS anchor Katie Couric, next day, told us that the toddler tossed to safety was not a girl but a boy named Onur. He was thrown out not by his parents but by an uncle.


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: the CIA officially admitted using the waterboard torture technique--it admitted the technique not the fact that it is torture--on three leaders of al-Qaeda…the airline industry confirmed that 2007 was a record year for domestic flight delays and cancelations…Congressional investigators took sworn testimony about the baseball steroids scandal…college basketball coach Bobby Knight retired…the New York Giants celebrated their NFL championship with a tickertape parade…it is Mardi Gras.