CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 11, 2008
Amid a confused news agenda, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, were the Story of the Day. The Pentagon leveled capital charges against six of its prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The sextet stands accused of terrorist conspiracy but will not undergo criminal prosecution. Instead they will face a military tribunal, where self-incriminating testimony obtained under torture may be admissible against the defendants. CBS led with the 9/11 story. NBC chose an update on the Presidential primary race. ABC took on the banking industry, which is raising credit card rates even as the Federal Reserve Board is lowering the interest the banks themselves have to pay.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 11, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCHijacked jets kamikaze attacks on NYC, DCCapital prosecution of six accused plot leadersJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailCBSSuspected al-Qaeda network leaders manhuntSmall Pakistan bases train US, Europe bombersBob OrrWashington DC
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignWeekend wins, surging support, appeal to blacksDean ReynoldsWashington DC
video thumbnailABC2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton campaignWeekend defeats, funds woes, staff shake-upJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignAmasses endorsements, including President Bush'sDavid GregoryWhite House
video thumbnailCBSHigh blood pressure prevention effortsMen's problems moderate, women's increaseJon LaPookNew York
video thumbnailABCWorkforce role of disabled employees expandsHiring outreach by drugstore chain warehouseBetsy StarkSouth Carolina
video thumbnailNBCFine art theft from museum in ZurichImpressionist canvasses may be worth $164mJames MatesZurich
video thumbnailCBSHollywood screenwriters' union strike resolvedDeal on online content, TV production to resumeBen TracyLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSPenguins endangered in southern hemisphere oceansWarmer climate helps some species, harms othersJohn BlackstoneAntarctica
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
MILITARY JUSTICE OR KANGAROO COURT? Amid a confused news agenda, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, were the Story of the Day. The Pentagon leveled capital charges against six of its prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The sextet stands accused of terrorist conspiracy but will not undergo criminal prosecution. Instead they will face a military tribunal, where self-incriminating testimony obtained under torture may be admissible against the defendants. CBS led with the 9/11 story. NBC chose an update on the Presidential primary race. ABC took on the banking industry, which is raising credit card rates even as the Federal Reserve Board is lowering the interest the banks themselves have to pay.

The networks had a hard time deciding whether to treat the 9/11 case as a serious prosecution or a show trial. ABC anchor Charles Gibson was incredulous that a fair trial could actually take place: "You always risk a not guilty verdict and they are not going to let these guys be released," he exclaimed to legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg (no link). CBS anchor Katie Couric offered no presumption of innocence to the most famous defendant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, calling him "the terrorist who dreamed up the murderous plot." However her Pentagon correspondent David Martin did point out that his well-publicized confession--"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z"--came as "he was subjected to waterboarding." NBC's Pentagon man Jim Miklaszewski quoted Col Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, as condemning the tribunal's rules of evidence: "As long as we insist on using evidence that was obtained by waterboarding, a process that most everyone is willing to say constitutes torture, this is just not an American system of justice."

CBS' Martin outlined each of the other defendants' alleged role in the conspiracy: Walid bin Attash is charged with running camps; Ramzi bin al-Shibh with finding pilot schools; abdal-Aziz Ali with wiring funds; Mustafa al-Hawsawi with reclaiming the unspent money; and Mohammed al-Kahtani with attempting to gain entry to the United States to join one of the hijack teams. NBC's Miklaszewski reported that these are the first charges ever to be filed "against anyone accused in the attacks." Not quite. What about Mounir al-Motassadeq in Hamburg and Zacarias Moussaoui in Virginia?


CLEAR AS MUDD CBS followed up with a confusing report on the FBI's assessment of the contemporary terrorist threat. In an Exclusive sitdown by Bob Orr with Philip Mudd, "the top counterterrorism official at the FBI," Orr reported that many operatives being trained by al-Qaeda are "European citizens of Pakistani descent raised in London, Berlin and Madrid" or alternatively people who "look like us." Mudd told Orr that the new bases are no longer paramilitary style camps but offer training for simple tasks like "how do you build a small device to put on a backpack." Then Orr quoted the opposite scenario from Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, that the recruitment was "to train people in weapons of mass destruction."

So, the recruits are either ethnic-Pakistani Europeans--or apparent Americans. And they are trained to make backpack bombs--or to trigger WMDs. Got it.

CBS also announced that a pair of its journalists has gone missing in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. They were not identified.


ONWARD TO POTOMAC All three networks assigned a reporter to look at the state of the Democratic Presidential primary contest on the rest day between Barack Obama's "big winning margins this weekend," as NBC's Andrea Mitchell put it, in Washington State, Louisiana, Nebraska and Maine, and the so-called Potomac primaries--Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland--on Tuesday. CBS' Dean Reynolds saw Obama enjoying a "priceless supply of momentum" and a "cushion of African-American support." ABC's Jake Tapper warned us not to write off Hillary Rodham Clinton: "She is a tenacious candidate; runs a formidable political machine; and inspires the loyalty of key Democratic constituencies." Having said that, with funding troubles and staffing shakeups compounding defeats at the polls "she has had a very bad few days."

Rodham Clinton herself is hoping to rebound by persuading superdelegates to commit now "to slow Obama's momentum" and to obtain the endorsement of former rival John Edwards, NBC's Mitchell noted. ABC's Tapper suggested to the candidate that "this is not what a winning campaign looks like." "Well, to the contrary. I think it exactly is. We had a great night Super Tuesday." Tapper did not have to point out that her "great night" was nothing better than a dead heat. She is looking past Tuesday's contests to the big states of Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania in March and April, "states where she is ahead," Mitchell pointed out.


MAJOR MIRACLES NBC's David Gregory monitored the progress of John McCain's Republican candidacy from the White House while ABC's Ron Claiborne (at the tail of the Tapper videostream) checked in on rival Mike Huckabee. "Math and maps still favor McCain. He has a huge lead in delegates and only a few of the remaining contests are in states with large numbers of evangelical Christians, Huckabee's base," Claiborne calculated before setting up the candidate for the punchline: "I did not major in math. I majored in miracles." Endorsements for McCain, NBC's Gregory suggested, could be "the antidote to the headline grabbing rebellion among conservatives." He repeated the explicit embrace of McCain by First Brother Jeb Bush and onetime Republican contender Gary Bauer. As for George Bush himself, Gregory aired the President's soundbite on Fox News Sunday that McCain "is a solid conservative and I would be glad to help him if he is the nominee."


USURY ABC kicked off and closed its newscast with a couple of economy stories. Bank of America, Capital One and Chase Bank inspired Dan Harris' (embargoed link) lead when they each announced hikes in the annual interest rates charged on credit cards, up to as high as 24% . Harris pointed out that the fine print in the card contract makes it legal: "It sounds like a great way for them to make easy money," he suggested. When the banks were confronted with the possibility that they were squeezing cardholders to compensate for big losses in home mortgages, they denied that rationale "vehemently." To close the newscast, Betsy Stark visited the same South Carolina warehouse that NBC's Mika Brzezinski checked out last summer. Walgreen's drugstore employs 700 workers there, and by an outreach hiring effort, 40% of them are disabled. Stark introduced us to Down Syndrome workers, and mentally retarded, and autistic, and palsied, and blind, and armless, and wheelchairbound: "Abled and disabled workers do many of the same jobs and earn the same pay."


WEIGHTY MATTERS A pair of in-house physicians covered the increased incidence of uncontrolled high blood pressure among women. CBS' Jon LaPook compared it with an improvement in the problem for men over the past 20 years. NBC's Nancy Snyderman checked the map: "If you look at the District of Columbia and the Deep South, that is where women are really affected." On ABC's A Closer Look, John McKenzie (embargoed link) examined the relationship between obesity and artificial sweeteners. Almost 200m people nationwide eat sugarfree food or drink diet sodas, yet non-calorie sweeteners may be a factor in people gaining weight rather than taking it off, McKenzie speculated: when food tastes sweet, the body expects to consume extra calories; when the calories do not arrive, the body demands more food to make up for the shortfall.


CULTURE VULTURES A couple of stories were worthy of coverage on the arts & culture beat. CBS chose Hollywood. Ben Tracy told us that the three-month strike by the Writers Guild of America was likely to be settled. The union lost in its bid to organize writers on animated and reality programming. It won its claim that writers be paid when work generates online revenue. NBC and ABC both covered the theft of four paintings from a Zurich museum. The impressionist masterpieces, including Boy in a Red Waistcoat by Paul Cezanne, could sell for $160m at auction. "The gang simply pulled up in a white van," James Mates of ITN, NBC's British newsgathering partner, narrated. "Three of them went in; one pointed a pistol at staff; while the other two simply walked out with the four most valuable paintings." From London, ABC's Nick Watt (embargoed link) debunked the myth glamorized by The Thomas Crown Affair that fine art is usually stolen to order by mysterious collectors. It is more likely to be used as collateral in illicit transactions for weapons or narcotics.


MARCH OF THE ADELIES The best pictures of the night were on the nature beat. CBS kicked off John Blackstone's series Journey to the Bottom of the Earth from Cape Boyds in Antarctica. Sit back and enjoy the depiction of the ecological challenges faced by the adelie penguin.


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: a pair of espionage cases are being prosecuted, both alleging spying for China, one on Pentagon secrets about Taiwan, the other on Boeing aerospace…an orbiting laboratory has been attached to the International Space Station…Blackberry's e-mail system crashed temporarily…the US Postal Service will hike first class postage rates to 42c…Rep Tom Lantos (D-CA) died, aged 80…actor Roy Scheider--"You are going to need a bigger boat"--died, aged 75…Polaroid has discontinued production of its instant-developing photographic film…jazz musician Herbie Hancock was given the Grammy Award for the best album of 2007.