CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 20, 2008
In a week whose news started with financial crisis on Wall Street, moved on to racial politics on the campaign trail and followed with continuing war in Iraq, Thursday's turn to mere weather made for an unusually straightforward Story of the Day. A line of storms that dumped torrential rains from Texas to Pennsylvania caused heaviest floods in Missouri, where a disaster has been declared in 70 counties. All three networks led off their newscasts by showing us rising waters in the Show Me state.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 20, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCFloods in Mississippi River valley statesRising rivers in Missouri threaten leveesRon MottMissouri
video thumbnailCBSFloods in Mississippi River valley statesSpring floods loom from sodden ground, snowmeltCynthia BowersOhio
video thumbnailABC2008 Barack Obama campaignAttacked by Rodham Clinton on electabilityJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailNBC2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton campaignRelies on popular vote, superdelegates to winRon AllenIndiana
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignPlatform on taxes, credit, budget surveyedKelly O'DonnellLondon
video thumbnailCBSMilitary personnel suffer mental health problemsVA healthcare monitors rise in suicide attemptsArmen KeteyianWashington DC
video thumbnailABCMilitary combat casualties suffer disabilitiesPainstaking therapy after brain injuriesBob WoodruffCleveland
video thumbnailCBSReal estate housing market prices continue to fallOnce-booming southern Florida suffers declineKelly CobiellaFlorida
video thumbnailABCAutomobile new model design trendsNext hybrids offer batteries, plug-in rechargeNed PotterMichigan
video thumbnailNBCLight bulb energy conservation ends incandescentsReplacement compact fluorescents can be toxicJohn LarsonLos Angeles
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
SHOW ME THE FLOODS In a week whose news started with financial crisis on Wall Street, moved on to racial politics on the campaign trail and followed with continuing war in Iraq, Thursday's turn to mere weather made for an unusually straightforward Story of the Day. A line of storms that dumped torrential rains from Texas to Pennsylvania caused heaviest floods in Missouri, where a disaster has been declared in 70 counties. All three networks led off their newscasts by showing us rising waters in the Show Me state.

NBC had Ron Mott in Poplar Bluff along the Meramec River; CBS and ABC led off from in Eureka, where the Big River was getting bigger. CBS' Hari Sreenivasan found the town filling "sandbag after sandbag, one shovel at a time." ABC's Barbara Pinto (embargoed link) called isolated farms and barns "the only punctuation in a sea of swirling mud." ABC followed up from the Blue River in Indiana with Ryan Owens offered the traditional float-by report, boating up Main Street in Milltown, where "every once in a while you see half a STOP sign."

CBS' Cynthia Bowers was in Whitewater Ohio in order to offer a regional overview. The floods were not merely caused by this week's heavy rains but also because "the ground is already so saturated it cannot hold water anymore so any rainfall or snowmelt has to go somewhere. It is going to run off and quickly swell streams and rivers." Bowers repeated a National Weather Service warning of severe floods for the Ohio River, the Mississippi River and the lower Missouri River as winter snows melt--and for river systems in the mid-Atlantic region and New England: "It is going to be a bad spring."


WRIGHT TALKING POINT On the campaign trail, CBS' Dean Reynolds and ABC's Jake Tapper followed up on Barack Obama's major formal address on his former pastor in particular and race relations in general. Reynolds reported that Hillary Rodham Clinton's operatives are warning superdelegates that "Obama's relationship with his acid-tongued former minister makes him politically vulnerable" or as Tapper paraphrased their pitch: "Obama has too much baggage to win in November." Tapper pointed out that when Rodham Clinton herself was asked directly whether her campaign was using Wright as a talking point with superdelegates she "only shrugged."

Both ABC's Tapper and CBS' Reynolds cited a YouTube video, made by a conservative talkradio producer and disseminated by a low-level aide in John McCain's campaign that links Obama to the Rev Jeremiah Wright to the Black Panthers to Malcolm X. McCain suspended the side in "one of several episodes in which aides, supporters or surrogates have crossed a line and forced McCain to apologize or take action," as Reynolds observed.

On NBC, Ron Allen took an arithmetic look at Rodham Clinton's prospects of arriving at the convention in Denver with a delegate lead--or even a lead in the popular vote: "To get ahead she needs to change the math" and that involves not only running up the vote in a state like Pennsylvania that she is expected to win but also securing a second vote in Michigan and Florida that the Democratic Party will accept as legitimate. "As of now Obama has won more votes, states and delegates, very tough numbers for Clinton to beat."


FACT FINDING Both NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and ABC's Ron Claiborne (embargoed link) filed from London on John McCain's tour of the Middle East and Europe, "officially," as Claiborne pointed out "a Congressional fact finding mission at taxpayer expense. Unofficially it is a chance to appear statesmanlike with world leaders and burnish his foreign policy credentials." As NBC's O'Donnell did Wednesday, Claiborne pointed out McCain's self-confessed misstatement that Iran supports al-Qaeda. Claiborne noted that McCain "stumbled…several times" before correcting himself: "I am sorry. The Iranians are training extremists not al-Qaeda." NBC had O'Donnell recap McCain's economic policies for its Where They Stand series. He supports George Bush's policies on tax cuts and Federal Reserve intervention on Wall Street. The federal spending he would target for cutting consists of the "pet projects known as earmarks." As for any decline in consumer confidence, O'Donnell observed that McCain's solution--"It is not a matter of being an economist. It is a matter of leadership and I am a leader"--lacked specifics.


WOUNDS OF WAR This week's coverage of the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War saw both CBS and ABC run special features on the impact on the civilian lives of former soldiers. For CBS' Investigation, Armen Keteyian reported that the 20-to-24 age cohort of military veterans is one of those with the highest increases in suicide attempts, according to VA statistics, "those likely to have served during the Iraq-Afghan wars." For ABC's series Where Things Stand, Bob Woodruff, recovering himself from Traumatic Brain Injury suffered on an Iraqi battlefield, updated us on the convalescence of four of the disabled veterans he has profiled as part of his series of reports on the wounds of war.


IT’S SHRINKING The Census Bureau updated its survey of population trends. As part of CBS' Hitting Home series Kelly Cobiella told us that the collapsing housing market in Fort Lauderdale means that for the first time in the Census' series, the population of Broward County Fla is shrinking. On NBC, Martin Savidge noted the statistical quirk that Orleans Parish and Saint Bernard Parish in Louisiana are the nation's fastest growing counties--except they are not growing so much as recovering after Hurricane Katrina's depopulation. The pace of the growth in most of the rest of the Sun Belt is slowing because it is hard to sell a house at a good price to relocate: "Americans are starting a new trend--staying put."


NO GREEN LIGHT While ABC's Ned Potter was driving round suburban Detroit in a prototype Ford Escape hybrid, NBC's John Larson was warning us about compact fluorescent light bulbs. The new plug-in hybrid car adds batteries that can be recharged with an ordinary household extension cord overnight when off-peak electricity is cheap. The electricity costs 3c a mile; gasoline 10c a mile--and the hybrid's fuel efficiency would be 80 mpg. Meanwhile Larson reminded us that many of the 400m CFL bulbs sold each year are made by his network's corporate sibling, General Electric's lighting division. He gave us the good news that they last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs and conserve electricity. Then the bad: "The bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, one of the most poisonous substances on Earth. Break one of these in your home and you have got a problem" requiring a federally-authorized eleven-step toxic clean-up kit. Furthermore when they eventually burn out they must not be thrown into the trash: "Too poisonous."


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 prices of crude oil and gold both pulled back from their recent record highs…the Silver Star medal was awarded to an army medic for heroism in Afghanistan, a rare honor for a female soldier…jumbo jets in United Airlines fleet required a second inspection of cockpit safety…spectators at this summer's Beijing Olympics can expect their hotels to be bugged, the State Department advises…spring has sprung and the cherry blossoms are already flowering around the Tidal basin on the DC Mall.