CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 19, 2008
Major news from overseas failed to knock Campaign 2008 out of the top spot. Fidel Castro formally resigned as President of Cuba. The opposition to President Pervez Musharraf triumphed in Pakistani parliamentary elections. President George Bush paid tribute to the 800,000 killed in Rwanda's genocide. But another winter Tuesday brought another primary election and so the vote in Wisconsin was Story of the Day. Campaign coverage was the lead on NBC and CBS. ABC chose to kick off with Cuba.

I am off on a week's vacation to the Eternal City. If you see anything interesting on the news while I am gone, leave a note in Comments. I am recording each night and will catch up next week.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 19, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABC2008 Wisconsin primary, Hawaii caucusHighest turnout in two decades predictedKate SnowMilwaukee
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignCopies speech phrases from friend Deval PatrickJim AxelrodHouston
video thumbnailNBCCuba politics: Fidel Castro resigns in ailing healthEnds 50 year rule with letter to newspaperAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSPakistan politics: parliamentary elections heldPresident Musharraf's party accepts defeatMark PhillipsPakistan
video thumbnailNBCRwanda civil war genocide aftermathHutu killers apologize, offered reconciliationMartin FletcherRwanda
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPBS docu studies USMC massacre of 24 civiliansMike TaibbiNew York
video thumbnailABCNorthern Illinois University campus shooting spreeKiller was mentally ill yet bought guns legallyPierre ThomasVirginia
video thumbnailABCAutism coverageMute teenage girl uses talking computerJohn McKenzieNew York
video thumbnailCBSSiberian tiger escapes pen at San Francisco ZooBig cat enclosure renovated, walls raisedBill WhitakerLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSVideoplayer format wars for high definition DVDsSONY's Blu-Ray prevails, Toshiba withdrawsDaniel SiebergNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FIDEL TAKES A BACK SEAT Major news from overseas failed to knock Campaign 2008 out of the top spot. Fidel Castro formally resigned as President of Cuba. The opposition to President Pervez Musharraf triumphed in Pakistani parliamentary elections. President George Bush paid tribute to the 800,000 killed in Rwanda's genocide. But another winter Tuesday brought another primary election and so the vote in Wisconsin was Story of the Day. Campaign coverage was the lead on NBC and CBS. ABC chose to kick off with Cuba.

I am off on a week's vacation to the Eternal City. If you see anything interesting on the news while I am gone, leave a note in Comments. I am recording each night and will catch up next week.


As usual when a newscast airs while primary voting is still going on, much of the preview coverage has not been posted online. This time NBC did not offer videostreams. ABC's Kate Snow predicted that the turnout in Wisconsin would be the heaviest in two decades, despite a frigid 6F temperature and "deep snow banks." Barack Obama was expected to win Wisconsin, having spent "a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of effort" in the state, as NBC's Lee Cowan (no link) put it, including $500,000 on TV ads in the final two days.

Analyzing the exit polls, ABC's George Stephanopoulos told us to keep an eye on how white blue collar workers voted. NBC's Tim Russert (no link) predicted that Wisconsin would function as a laboratory to test whether negative campaigning by Hillary Rodham Clinton against Obama was an effective model for Ohio and Texas. CBS' Jeff Greenfield (no link) reeled off the candidates' attributes on being fair, being a Commander in Chief, bringing unity and being electable. He told substitute anchor Harry Smith that the numbers held no "encouragement" for the senator from New York State.

Rodham Clinton's campaign rolled out a TV ad in Ohio to try to make sure that her base of working class women stays loyal. ABC's Snow showed us a waitress, a hair stylist, a nurse--with the slogan She Has Worked the Night Shift Too. The campaign also continued its attempt "to turn one of her opponent's strengths into a weakness," as NBC's Ron Allen (no link) put it, by pointing out that Obama's acclaimed oratory uses borrowed phrases. Again Deval Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts, was shown using words--"I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations"--before Obama repeated the very same formulation. Again Obama did not offer attribution.

The other words emanating from the Obama campaign were from wife Michelle. CBS' Jim Axelrod suggested that she might have given her husband's critics "an even sharper line of attack" when she declared: "For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country." Republican John McCain's campaign responded with wife Cindy, who hit it out of the ballpark, as the saying goes: "I always have been and always will be extremely proud of my country." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell (no link) called it "a subtle but pointed reference." Subtle as a brick.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR "Pressure could come from the younger generation, hooked on the Internet, even blogging in secret," NBC's Andrea Mitchell speculated. She quoted blogger Yoani Sanchez: "My generation is waiting for profound change, above all towards free expression." No, Mitchell was not gauging the mood at an Obama rally. She was referring to Havana, where "life went on, there was little surprise," when Fidel formally surrendered the power he has held since 1959.

CBS' Kelly Cobiella commented on the lack of an "hours long fiery speech," just a letter to Granma, the Communist Party newspaper, explaining that he is too infirm to lead: "The job of president requires more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer." The resignation made permanent Castro's 18-month-old provisional handover to his younger brother Raul. Cobiella offered a thumbnail sketch of Raul: "Rebel fighter, brutal Defense Minister purging Fidel's political enemies, later a masterful manager and economic reformer." While ABC's Jeffrey Kofman (embargoed link) foresaw "significant reforms" under Raul including liberalization of trade his colleague Jonathan Karl (no link) heard no reciprocity from the State Department. It called Raul Fidel Lite and insisted that "the trade embargo still stands; so does the ban on US citizens traveling to Cuba."


MUSHARRAF ON THE ROPES "Crushing"--ABC's Jim Sciutto (embargoed link)…"demolished"--CBS' Mark Phillips…"humiliated"--NBC's Andrea Mitchell. That is how badly Pervez Musharraf's political party lost at the polls in Pakistan. ABC's Sciutto called it a win for "moderate, secular, civilian" forces with the Islamist parties also being rejected "overwhelmingly." Sciutto predicted a coalition government headed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif ali-Zardari, the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, which would have enough votes to force Musharraf to resign. "America's key ally is looking like yesterday's man," stated CBS' Phillips although NBC's Mitchell (at the tail of the Castro videostream) reported that George Bush's diplomacy "is trying to find ways to keep Musharraf in power." Musharraf's ties to the United States "made him hugely unpopular," Phillips stated, that and his "heavy hand," as Sciutto put it. Sciutto expected that the new government "will likely mean a new antiterrorist strategy, less overt cooperation with the United States, less military action, more negotiation."


BLOOD RED, IN THE PINK ABC's Martha Raddatz (embargoed link) took us to a single church in Rwanda where 10,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutu genocide in 1994: "Blood still stains the brick walls and the altar cloth." For NBC's In Depth, Martin Fletcher took us to another church where 5,000 was massacred in just three hours. At one memorial "there are rows and rows of skulls killed in different ways,"--one with a bullet hole; most smashed with clubs; one with the tip of a spear sticking out.

Yet the National Unity & Reconciliation Commission is busy holding tribunals where Hutu killers, "jailed in pink to humiliate them," apologize for their crimes against their Tutsi neighbors. NBC's Fletcher reckoned 1.2m Rwandans attend the weekly courts "listening, judging and maybe forgiving." The upshot is a national rebirth, ABC's Raddatz reported: "Rwanda is seeing a revitalization in education, healthcare and in its economy with growth of more than 6% over each of the last ten years."


ELSEWHERE… NBC offered publicity to a Frontline documentary on PBS on the massacre of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha by a Marine Corps company in 2005. Mike Taibbi told us that Rules of Engagement argues that the Marines were not murderers. Instead it was the rules of war themselves that were reckless. Since then troops have been ordered to hesitate before killing civilians--"a lesson learned"…on ABC's A Closer Look, Pierre Thomas followed up on last week's killings at Northern Illinois University. Steven Kazmierczak purchased his guns legally despite a decade of treatment as a mental patient because the law forbids sales only to those committed by court order to mental institutions--and he had entered voluntarily…the San Francisco Zoo, where a Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure on Christmas Day and killed a human, is about to put its big cats back on public display. CBS' Bill Whitaker told us that the pen's wall is now six feet higher and surrounded by an 8,000-volt wire…ABC (44 min v CBS 31, NBC 27) has covered autism more heavily than the other networks since the start of 2006. John McKenzie brings us the tale of 13-year-old Carly Fleishman, an autistic mute who had never communicated until pain overcame her. "Help. Hurt. Teeth," were the first words she pounded out on a keyboard. Now her computer has a voice synthesizer and she talks by typing…bad luck Toshiba fans. CBS' Daniel Sieberg walked us through SONY's victory in the high-definition videoplayer wars. He called Blu-ray and HD-DVD "the same in terms of picture quality" and credited Wal-Mart and Warner Brothers for tipping the scales.


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 airspace around Hawaii will be closed tomorrow as the USNavy prepares to fire a missile at that spy satellite that is falling out of orbit…that flashing light in the night sky over Idaho was a meteor…former First Lady Nancy Reagan and the Rev Billy Graham are both out of hospital.