CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 05, 2008
A very heavy day of news was dominated by Campaign 2008. Election news accounted for fully 53% of the three-network newshole (33 min out of 62) as all three networks led with Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory in the Democratic primaries in Ohio and Texas. Then all three followed up with Barack Obama's reaction to his defeat and the formal endorsement of Republican victor John McCain by President George Bush at the White House. NBC took advantage of its single sponsor, the pharmaceutical brand Lyrica, to deliver even more coverage (24 min v ABC 19, CBS 19) than its rivals.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 05, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABC2008 Ohio-Texas-Vermont-RI primariesRodham Clinton wins, revives base of key blocsKate SnowVirginia
video thumbnailNBC2008 Ohio-Texas-Vermont-RI primariesObama loses momentum, bombarded by criticismsLee CowanChicago
video thumbnailABC2008 Presidential race Democratic delegates standingsResult depends on superdelegates, Fla, MichJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailCBS2008 Presidential primary schedule previewedCalendar may be enlarged to include Fla, MichJeff GreenfieldNew York
video thumbnailCBS2008 John McCain campaignEndorsed wholeheartedly by President BushChip ReidWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesCrude spikes as OPEC is inactive, dollar fallsAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailNBCAfrican-American women's social status studiedUrban League on poverty, mothers, small businessRehema EllisNew York
video thumbnailCBSColon cancer coverageColonoscopy can overlook dangerous flat lesionsJon LaPookNew York
video thumbnailNBCGrand Canyon ecosystem conservation effortsFlood seeks to restore Colorado River sandbarsJohn LarsonArizona
video thumbnailNBCMount Everest climbing adventuresDocumentary on bid by six blind Tibetan teensMark MullenBeijing
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
RODHAM CLINTON WINS HER MUST-WINS A very heavy day of news was dominated by Campaign 2008. Election news accounted for fully 53% of the three-network newshole (33 min out of 62) as all three networks led with Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory in the Democratic primaries in Ohio and Texas. Then all three followed up with Barack Obama's reaction to his defeat and the formal endorsement of Republican victor John McCain by President George Bush at the White House. NBC took advantage of its single sponsor, the pharmaceutical brand Lyrica, to deliver even more coverage (24 min v ABC 19, CBS 19) than its rivals.

ABC's Kate Snow was most exuberant on Rodham Clinton's behalf, assigning precious "momentum" to her on the road to Pennsylvania, the next big primary state seven weeks away. NBC's Andrea Mitchell was more cautious, quoting the candidate's own more moderate claim simply to have halted Obama's momentum thus preventing a premature mass endorsement of Obama by convention superdelegates. Mitchell characterized the race as "virtually deadlocked." On CBS, Jim Axelrod was the most tepid of the three, noting that while Rodham Clinton had reclaimed her electoral base among the working class and female voters "it is virtually impossible for her to finish the primary season ahead in elected delegates."

Still, a win is a win. ABC's Snow noted that "once again women flocked to Hillary Clinton in her time of need." Snow attributed the victory to that "almost inescapable" red telephone spot, boasting of Rodham Clinton's ability to handle a national security emergency at 3am. NBC's Mitchell cited her focus on the issues of a slowing economy and the lack of universal healthcare and--using a clip from her own network's Saturday Night Live as an illustration--her campaign's plan "to keep showing her sense of humor with more cameos on comedy shows."


KITCHEN SINK DRAMA The second angle coming out of Ohio and Texas was Obama's defeat. He has "blown a chance to drive Clinton from the race," declared CBS' Dean Reynolds, implying, without evidence, that Obama had lost his lead there. In fact, almost all opinion polls had him coming from behind in those two contests.

All three networks used the Obama soundbite about Rodham Clinton's "kitchen sink strategy" to account for her win. CBS' Reynolds paraphrased Rodham Clinton's "more muscular" tone as portraying Obama as "little more than a guy with a knack for speechmaking." The payoff from this change of tactic in the primary's final days "may be found in exit polls showing those who made up their mind late preferring Clinton." ABC's David Wright (at the tail of the Snow videostream) observed Obama's newfound "decidedly sharper tone" as he questioned whether experience as a First Lady made it easier to answer 3am telephone calls and he undercut her claims to have been "thoroughly vetted" by pointing out that her income tax returns and records as a First Lady were unpublished. NBC's Lee Cowan, like his colleague Andrea Mitchell, cited his own network's Saturday Night Live. Its parody of journalists' fawning illustrated Obama's complaint that his media scrutiny had turned negative in compensation.


ALABAMA IN THE MIDDLE Here are the delegate counts, according to each network. To win the Democratic nomination a candidate needs 2025 votes at the convention. CBS gives Obama a lead of 111 (1552 v 1441); ABC has 109 (1506 v 1457); NBC calls it 101 (1568 v 1467). ABC's Jake Tapper counted 611 delegates yet to be chosen in the remaining scheduled primaries and caucuses; 366 to be chosen if Florida and Michigan decided to revote; the remaining uncommitted are superdelegates.

NBC's Chuck Todd looked forward to Pennsylvania by quoting operative James Carville's demographic thumbnail: "Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle." Speculating on that revote, CBS' Jeff Greenfield looked at elderly and Hispanic voters in Florida and working class voters in Michigan and concluded that those two states "could change the whole complexion of this race" in favor of Rodham Clinton. ABC's Tapper disagreed: "Even adding these new delegates would not likely mean a winner before the convention. The race is that tight."

If the voters cannot decide the nominee, ABC's George Stephanopoulos envisaged "some sort of accommodation for a joint ticket…of course the difficult question is: 'Who is on top?'" NBC's Tim Russert heard the same talk. He called it "a dream in the delegates' eyes." Yet he warned that "privately" both campaigns discourage it while "publicly it is something that is held up there as a ray of hope for delegates to believe there will be a united Democratic Party."


EYE OF THE BEHOLDER "The picture of John McCain walking out of the Oval Office with a smiling President Bush will be an eye of the beholder moment in this campaign," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell observed. Republicans see Bush as an asset; Democrats see his unpopularity. O'Donnell quoted a Photoshopped ad of the two interchangeable faces already running in Pennsylvania under the slogan The McSame Old Thing. ABC's Ron Claiborne (embargoed link) described the mood as a warm greeting; CBS' Chip Reid heard a "fullthroated endorsement." Yet Reid reminded us that the two "have never been very close" calling Bush McCain's onetime "bitter political enemy." Claiborne pointed out that McCain kept the President waiting in the north portico of the White House and spelled out policy disputes over taxes, torture--Claiborne used the euphemism "interrogation techniques"--and Iraq. Nevertheless, NBC's O'Donnell explained, the President's nod is a godsend: "The Republican National Committee offices become a branch of Team McCain and a giftbag from the RNC includes a workforce able and ready to help McCain and cash, nearly $25m on hand."


COLORADO COOLER The images of the day came from the Colorado River in Arizona. Both NBC and CBS sent a reporter to Lake Powell, where a 60 hour experiment will release water and sediment through the Glen Canyon Dam at the rate of 300,000 gallons each second in an attempt to revive the Grand Canyon's ecosystem of sandbars. CBS' Ben Tracy told us the benefits of the dam for humans, providing water for 20m and hydropower for 400,000 households. NBC's John Larson described the ecological damage since it was built in 1963: "The Colorado River, which used to be warmer and muddier, became clearer and cooler. The dam cut off the river's natural source of sand and sediment…Vegetation disappeared. Animals and fish went extinct."


WITHIN SIGHT OF THE TOP NBC's single sponsor allowed it to end with Mark Mullen from Beijing, narrating inspirational clips from a Tibetan documentary movie Blindsight. The blind in Tibet are "often taunted in public" by their superstitious neighbors, Mullen told us. To improve morale, Braille Without Borders, a local school, organized an expedition for six teenage students to climb Mount Everest. The documentary records a bid that ended only 1500 feet below the summit, frustrated by altitude sickness. Mullen concluded with the mawkish--and inaccurate--pabulum that so often masquerades as the moral of such stories: "They proved to others and most important to themselves that a blind person has the vision to do anything." Anything, that is, except scale those final 1500 feet.


ELSEWHERE… The price of crude oil continues to climb, approaching $105 a barrel. CBS' Anthony Mason attributed the hike to OPEC's decision not to boost production and to the declining purchasing power of the US dollar, "hitting an all time low against the Euro"…NBC's Rehema Ellis continued her occasional series Where They Stand on the status of African-American women. She quoted a report from the Urban League on those phenomena found disproportionately among black women: single motherhood, working poverty, homeownership with subprime mortgages--and start-ups of their own businesses…in-house physicians Timothy Johnson (embargoed link) at ABC and Jon LaPook at CBS' Eye on Your Health picked up on research in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the polyps most commonly found and removed during colonoscopies are unlikely to be pre-cancerous. Rarer and harder to find flat lesions tend to be deadlier. They both advised viewers to have their colons checked anyway. Johnson called the screening "a lifesaver." LaPook tells patients who cannot handle colonoscopy: "It sure beats chemo."


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 insurance industry estimates that highway traffic accidents cost $164bn annually…Microsoft's Bill Gates is no longer the richest man in the world, according to Forbes. That billionaire is Warren Buffett…an early photograph of disabled activist Helen Keller has been uncovered in Massachusetts.