CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 12, 2008
Another Campaign 2008 Tuesday, another primary election. This time it was the so-called Potomac primary with the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia voting in unison. ABC and NBC both led with campaign coverage. Yet, as usual, the networks' previews at the news hour were tentative and incomplete, so neither CBS nor NBC posted its early reporting online. The Story of the Day concerned the economy, an offer by major home mortgage firms of a 30-day moratorium to renegotiate distressed loans and avoid foreclosures. CBS, which had an expanded newshole (25 min v ABC 18, NBC 20) courtesy of limited advertising by its sole sponsor Caduet, the prescription medicine, led with the real estate story.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 12, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseConsortium of lenders offers 30-day workoutsNancy CordesNew York
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseWalking away from loan can make financial senseSandra HughesCalifornia
video thumbnailNBCAutomobile industry in financial troubleGeneral Motors posts $39bn loss, offers buyoutsPhilip LeBeauDetroit
video thumbnailCBSAutomobile industry in financial troubleDetroit is global success but not domesticallyKelly WallaceNew York
video thumbnailCBSHealthcare reform: universal and managed careInsurer asks physicians to inform on patientsBen TracyLos Angeles
video thumbnailNBCMulticultural population, ethnic diversity increasesMore immigrants, fewer whites by mid centuryGeorge LewisLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSOrganized crime: Gambino Family targeted by FBIAgent infiltrated, testified at trial of bossArmen KeteyianConnecticut
video thumbnailNBCGenetic DNA biotech analysis predicts diseasesLaboratory test firms lack counseling servicesRobert BazellConnecticut
video thumbnailABCHuman growth hormone shots are anti-aging fadBabyboomers respond to celebrity endorsementsDavid KerleyCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSAntarctica polar ecology researchStudy ice strata at South Pole, marine wildlifeJohn BlackstoneAntarctica
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
BIG MO STALKS THE POTOMAC Another Campaign 2008 Tuesday, another primary election. This time it was the so-called Potomac primary with the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia voting in unison. ABC and NBC both led with campaign coverage. Yet, as usual, the networks' previews at the news hour were tentative and incomplete, so neither CBS nor NBC posted its early reporting online. The Story of the Day concerned the economy, an offer by major home mortgage firms of a 30-day moratorium to renegotiate distressed loans and avoid foreclosures. CBS, which had an expanded newshole (25 min v ABC 18, NBC 20) courtesy of limited advertising by its sole sponsor Caduet, the prescription medicine, led with the real estate story.

Big Mo, that campaign cliche, surfaced again in the coverage of the Democratic contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. "As for tonight's results," NBC's Andrea Mitchell (no link) projected, "her campaign just hopes that Obama does not emerge with so much momentum that her supporters start defecting." The reason momentum was the theme was that there was no doubt that Obama would win. CBS' Dean Reynolds (no link) caught Rodham Clinton's campaign playing the expectations game, "hoping that any wins Obama achieves this evening will seem entirely predictable and insignificant." She left the Beltway before the polls even closed, heading off to campaign in Texas: "It seems she could not put these Potomac primary states in her rear view mirror fast enough," commented ABC's Jake Tapper (no link). As for Obama, NBC's Lee Cowan (no link) found him too trying to moderate his optimism: "Momentum does not necessarily equal victory," the Illinois senator stated, reminding us that his momentum after victory in Iowa led to defeat in New Hampshire; after victory in South Carolina it led to a Super Tuesday tie. CBS' Jeff Greenfield (no link) found an "eyebrow raiser" in the exit polls that was good news for Obama: for the first time more voters picked him as the better potential Commander in Chief.

As well as Texas, the second string to Rodham Clinton's strategy to halt Obama's surge is Ohio, whose primary is held on the same day. NBC's Mitchell called Ohio now "a must-win state" for Rodham Clinton, who granted a series of satellite interviews to local television news anchors across the two states instead of stumping for votes in Washington. ABC's George Stephanopoulos pointed out that Rodham Clinton was skipping next week's contests in Hawaii and Wisconsin. Losses there might mean that "her March 4th firewall could start to crumble." Yet Stephanopoulos reminded anchor Charles Gibson that so far this year "whenever one of the candidates starts to get a head of steam the voters come back and draw the race even again"--which is the antithesis of our old friend Big Mo.


LITTLE HOOPLA IN LITTLE ROCK NBC kicked off its coverage with a four-candidate wheel: Mitchell with Rodham Clinton, Cowan with Obama, Kelly O'Donnell (no link) with John McCain and Ron Allen (no link) with Mike Huckabee. Allen caught the short straw: "Huckabee is not having a big election night party. He is going to appear in the public lobby of a bank building in downtown Little Rock…another example of how he continues his campaign on a very low budget." McCain meanwhile returned to his day job on Capitol Hill where "he asked his fellow GOP lawmakers to help him unite the party," as O'Donnell put it.

CBS' in-house political analyst Nicolle Wallace told the network's Chip Reid (no link) that the Republican primary contest is like a football game: "McCain is ahead 56-3. Every field goal that Huckabee scores gives him reason to keep going but there is no chance he is going to catch him." ABC's George Stephanopoulos called it "mathematically impossible" for Huckabee to prevail. Yet on NBC, Tim Russert (no link) predicted that if Huckabee gets out enough of the evangelical vote to pull off a victory in Virginia "look for him to go down to Texas full of vim and vinegar." And on CBS, Bob Schieffer (no link) quoted exit polls from that "very, very conservative state" that showed that almost two thirds of Republican voters listen to talkradio, which has been blasting McCain non stop.


JUST WALK AWAY CBS found the real estate scheme, dubbed Project Lifeline, most newsworthy, not only assigning Nancy Cordes to lead off its newscast with the story but also following up with Sandra Hughes' Hitting Home feature on the "walk away" phenomenon. CBS' Cordes differed with ABC's Betsy Stark (embargoed link) on who is participating in Lifeline. Both agreed that it was a voluntary consortium of six major financial institutions that cover half of the nation's mortgages: Citigroup, JPMorganChase, Wells Fargo, WaMu, Countrywide Financial and Bank of America. Stark called them "servicers" who process mortgage payments; Cordes said they were the actual lenders. Cordes estimated that "more than 2m families are drowning in debt and in danger of foreclosure." Stark put the figure at 1.3m, although she did use the same "drowning" figure of speech. NBC merely mentioned Project Lifeline in passing.

CBS' Hughes chose an example of walking away that was publicized in the Los Angeles Times' real estate Weblog LALand. It concerned Karen Traynor and her two bedroom condominium, a second residence in San Ramon Cal. The apartment was purchased with a 100% loan for $505,000 when it was appraised at $520,000. Its value is now $340,000. Even though Traynor is able to keep up her payments she has decided that would be a bad financial decision. She is willing to take the hit on her credit score and forgo the chance of qualifying for another mortgage for the next five years in order to rid herself of the debt. The condo now belongs to the bank.


RED HOT BUICK The day's second big economic story came from the automobile industry. General Motors announced 2007 losses of almost $39bn, although much of that was "a onetime tax write off," ABC's Barbara Pinto (embargoed link) reassured us. The firm's new contract with the United Autoworkers allows it to pay new hires at half the hourly rate of the workers they replaced--so GM offered each of its 74,000 current employees an incentive to leave. Phil LeBeau, of NBC's financial news sibling cable channel CNBC, estimated the value of creating each vacancy at between $45,000 and $140,000. CBS' Kelly Wallace pointed out the General Motors is hardly a business failure, raking in profits in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa: "The real challenge is getting Americans to love American again." CNBC's LeBeau agreed: in China, Buick is "red hot."


SMELLING A QUID PRO QUO Last Thursday (text link) we wondered why Armen Keteyian was skewing his reporting on CBS to be so favorable to the FBI in its organized crime crackdown on Gambino Family mobsters. Keteyian made no explicit connection but it certainly smells like a quid pro quo that he now surfaces, four days later, with an exclusive Investigation into Jack Garcia aka Jack Falcone, the Cuban-American undercover FBI agent who infiltrated Greg dePalma's Gambino operation five years ago and was a key witness in his arrest and prosecution in 2005. "Falcone eventually earned dePalma's trust be offering an endless supply of stolen goods like Rolex watches, cigarettes and televisions, all supplied by the FBI."

Does Garcia worry that he will be murdered by the mob? His face in shadows, his voice distorted, his identity unrecognizable, this is how he answered: "What the Bureau did--and this is what was great--is they went out and they spoke to all the heads of all the five families and they told them that if anything is to happen to Jack Falcone, the Reign of Terror will fall upon them."


SNITCHES, GENES & HORMONES An oddball trio of health-related features aired, one on each newscast. Blue Cross of California is in trouble with the state's physicians for seeming to ask them to snitch on their own patients. In a letter the insurer asked doctors to report any undisclosed preexisting conditions. CBS' Ben Tracy reassured us that "hardly any doctors have ever sent back info on their patients." For its part Blue Cross insisted that its sole concern was accuracy of patient records; it disavowed any intention of looking for pretexts for canceling coverage. On NBC, Robert Bazell filed the second part of his Who We Are series on genetic testing of our individual DNA. Yesterday he looked at genealogy; now he turns to Myriad Genetics Labs' program for screening for cancer risk. Bazell warned us that the results are easy to misunderstand without professional counseling. ABC's A Closer Look turned to the $2bn business of selling human growth hormone to babyboomers for unauthorized cosmetic use. "Up to 30,000 healthy Americans are taking it with prescriptions," David Kerley calculated. Celebrities are part of the marketing effort, including Suzanne Somers' book The Sexy Years and actor Sylvester Stallone's preparations for his latest Rambo role. "There are reports," Kerley hinted from Capitol Hill, where baseball's Roger Clemens is about to deny doping under oath, that pitcher's wife took HGH to prepare for a bikiniclad Sports Illustrated photo shoot.


ELSEWHERE… The Pew Research Center's demographers received publicity from NBC's In-Depth for its predictions that the United States' population will reach 438m by 2050: 19% will be foreign-born and 47% will be white. "The researchers say the rest of the country will begin to look like California," George Lewis suggested…on CBS, John Blackstone continued his Journey to the Bottom of the Earth with a trip to the science station at the South Pole and a visit to a marine biology lab filled with unusual critters adapted to extreme cold. A shellfish, for instance, is inside out, with squishy flesh on its outside and a crunchy shell at its core.


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: ExxonMobil and the government of Venezuela are in a dispute over the nationalization of oil resources…a Russian bomber buzzed the USNavy's aircraft carrier Nimitz in Pacific waters…President George Bush denounced white supremacist displays of lynchmob nooses…Australia formally apologized to its Aborigine population for its history of discrimination and neglect…movie director Steven Spielberg has severed his artistic connection with the Beijing Olympic Games in a Darfur-inspired protest against the support of Sudan by the People's Republic of China…a beagle is favored to win Best In Show from the Westminster Kennel Club.