CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 13, 2008
After hogging headlines for three straight days, Eliot Spitzer, the humiliated Governor of New York, left a news vacuum with his resignation. A very slow day saw the networks scratch around for something to cover as all three regular anchors took the day off. ABC's substitute was George Stephanopoulos; CBS had Harry Smith; Ann Curry was at NBC. They settled on the recession-bound economy as Story of the Day. CBS led with plans for tighter regulation of the home mortgage industry. ABC and NBC chose to string together a pot-pourri of depressing economic statistics--the falling value of the US dollar, the increasing cost of a barrel of crude oil and declining retail sales.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 13, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedProblems include oil, dollar, housing, retailBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesCommodity speculation drives up costs in EuropeSheila MacVicarLondon
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseTreasury proposes regulation; House bailout planNancy CordesWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCGov David Paterson (D-NY) inauguration preparationsBlack lieutenant governor is legally blindMike TaibbiNew York State
video thumbnailNBCIraq: sectarian Sunni vs Shiite violence diminishesChristians in crossfire move to Kurdistan safetyRichard EngelIraq
video thumbnailCBSIran politics: reformers excluded from electionsUrban voters apathetic, rural voters targetedElizabeth PalmerTeheran
video thumbnailCBSGlobal warming greenhouse effect climate changeHouse hearings into EPA regulatory inactionWyatt AndrewsWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCSolar energy panels generate electricitySystem of mirrors constructed in Nevada desertAnne ThompsonNevada
video thumbnailNBC2008 qualifications, attributes, litmus testsClaims to foreign policy experience evaluatedAndrea MitchellNew York
video thumbnailABCHigh-technology innovations over next decadeLikely changes in robotics, smart microchipsDan HarrisNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
SPITZER DEPARTS, LEAVES NEWS VOID After hogging headlines for three straight days, Eliot Spitzer, the humiliated Governor of New York, left a news vacuum with his resignation. A very slow day saw the networks scratch around for something to cover as all three regular anchors took the day off. ABC's substitute was George Stephanopoulos; CBS had Harry Smith; Ann Curry was at NBC. They settled on the recession-bound economy as Story of the Day. CBS led with plans for tighter regulation of the home mortgage industry. ABC and NBC chose to string together a pot-pourri of depressing economic statistics--the falling value of the US dollar, the increasing cost of a barrel of crude oil and declining retail sales.

ABC's Betsy Stark saw a storm gathering over the economic outlook: "What is scary right now is that no one is sure how bad the storm will be." NBC had Carl Quintanilla from its sibling financial news cable channel CNBC recite the woeful litany. Gold futures rose to an all-time high, more than $1,000 on ounce, he pointed out, yet the value of the dollars to buy that gold "is sinking." From London CBS' Sheila MacVicar reported that "a lower dollar helps make oil a very attractive investment so in the commodity houses the talk is of the hot money flooding into the market--pension funds, hedge funds and speculators." Since October 2006, the dollar cost of a barrel of crude has almost doubled from $56 to $110.

CBS led off with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan to tighten regulation of real estate finances. Nancy Cordes pointed out that this would be "a fix for the future" including oversight by state governments, licenses for mortgage brokers and scrutiny of credit rating agencies. ABC's George Stephanopoulos dramatized the difference between Republican and Democratic economists by interviewing Carly Fiorina, an advisor to John McCain, and Larry Summers, one of Paulson's predecessors at Treasury under Bill Clinton. Fiorina advocated patience as this spring's fiscal stimulus takes effect: "We need to pause just for a bit and see what the impact of that help has been." Summers saw "very serious financial problems and a major credit crunch." He understated that "Carly and I do not see quite eye to eye on this."

The economists Betsy Stark talked to for ABC seemed to side with Summers not Fiorina: "What we are seeing now is the unraveling of a long boom, an epic boom in housing and easy credit, now at risk of becoming an epic fall."


MORE DANGEROUS THAN LOBBYING Both ABC and NBC had reporters follow up on the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. NBC's Mike Taibbi profiled David Paterson, Spitzer's successor, a blind African-American. Taibbi called it "a good line" when Paterson was asked if he had ever consorted with prostitutes: "Only the lobbyists." On ABC, Jim Avila (no link) took A Closer Look at Ashley Dupre, the call girl who entertained Spitzer. Dupre's story was that she had been "homeless and broke at one point, abused at her New Jersey home, a runaway at seventeen, heading to Manhattan for show business but ending on the seedy side." Avila quoted statistics that showed prostitution to be "not just the world's oldest profession,,,but the most dangerous one." He claimed, vaguely, that the 100,000 prostitutes working full time in the sex industry nationwide are "18 times more likely to be murdered on the job"--but offered no attribution for that startling statistic, nor did he tell us what that murder rate was being compared with.


PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE There was little new on the campaign trail. NBC's Where They Stand series saw Andrea Mitchell fact check each of the candidate's claims to be qualified to be Commander in Chief. John McCain, she predicted, will "be judged in part by Iraq, a war he still supports." Hillary Rodham Clinton was criticized for exaggerating her own role in her husband's diplomacy in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. Barack Obama earned demerits for his failure to conduct oversight hearings on Afghanistan.

ABC's Jake Tapper (embargoed link) offered a vague follow-up on Geraldine Ferraro's demeaning comments about the racial factor in Barack Obama's success by reporting that unidentified Democratic leaders are worrying about "a party polarized by race." He noted that Ferraro's remark "was not the first" comment emanating from Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign "seen as trying to marginalize Obama as the black candidate," but, again, he did not identify those doing the "seeing." Tapper also played a soundbite from Obama's pastor, the Rev Jeremiah White, observing that we are "living in a country and a culture that is controled by rich white people." Tapper said that White has been "accused of playing the race card"--but again did not name the people doing the accusing.

Tapper should know better than to throw around such passive verbs and unattributed slurs.


HERE COMES THE SUN Only CBS decided that House hearings into the Environmental Protection Administration's footdragging were worthy of coverage. Wyatt Andrews told us that the EPA had promised to publish regulations on carbon dioxide emissions last year in an effort to reduce global warming from greenhouse gases. The Supreme Court had ordered action eleven months ago. President George Bush issued a directive last May. Yet Administrator Stephen Johnson "now says he needs more time…Democrats believe nothing is going to happen and that Johnson is working the clock." Meanwhile Anne Thompson was in the Nevada desert for NBC's Our Planet series to show us a 280 acre solar plant that uses a system of mirrors to focus the sun's rays on water pipes. The water heats to 735F to make steam to generate electricity. Yet the entire complex produces enough power for only 14,000 homes and the cost is two-to-four times that of carbon-generating fossil fuels, coal and natural gas.


ELSEWHERE… Elizabeth Palmer was in Teheran for CBS to cover Iran's parliamentary elections. She found apathy in the city and enthusiasm in the countryside. With reform candidates barred from the ballot, the race comes down to "hardliners and not-quite-so hardliners"… Richard Engel filed from Iraq for NBC on the flight of persecuted Aramaic-speaking Christians to Kurdistan to avoid vandalism and taxation by radical Islamists. Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, kidnapped from Mosul two weeks ago, has been found dead…ABC claimed an Exclusive for Jonathan Karl's (embargoed link) coverage of the diplomatic mission--he called it a "charm offensive"--by Adm Timothy Keating, head of the Pentagon's Pacific Command, to his counterparts in the People's Liberation Army of China…ABC kicked off What's Next, a futuristic collaboration with Time magazine, about how technology will change our lives. Dan Harris imagined the bathroom, refrigerator, supermarket and kitchen of the future, all equipped with "smartifacts," embedded microchips that monitor how we use gadgets in order to offer updates and reminders, unprompted.


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: Cuba will loosen its restrictions on the import of consumer electronic gear...the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln set sail for the Persian Gulf…Heathrow Airport security was penetrated as an intruder made his way onto the runway…Howard Metzenbaum, former Democratic Senator from Ohio, died, aged 90…the Bureau of Engraving has redesigned the $5 bill…colon cancer awareness efforts are paying off as the incidence of screening is on the rise…CBS Radio celebrated the 70th anniversary of World News Roundup.