CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 24, 2008
Assessment time once more on the war in Iraq. Last week all three networks paused for the long view in order to mark the fifth anniversary of its Shock & Awe start. Now the Story of the Day is the war once more because of another milestone--the 4,000th death of a member of the US military there. ABC and NBC both led with the statistic, filing a report from the Pentagon. NBC, courtesy of its single sponsor Fidelity, extended its newshole (24 min v ABC 20, CBS 19). CBS, with Harry Smith substituting for anchor Katie Couric, chose to kick off with an update on the condition of the housing market.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 24, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush offers sympathy for 4,000 GI deadJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailABCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesVignettes of many military dead, bereaved kinCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSReal estate housing market prices continue to fallSales of existing homes rebound at lower pricesAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailNBCReal estate housing market prices continue to fallGlut of unsold urban renewal condo projectsChris JansingWashington State
video thumbnailABCReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseProsecute rescue schemes for title ripoff scamPierre ThomasVirginia
video thumbnailCBS2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton campaignMisremembers visit to Bosnia as First LadySharyl AttkissonWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCBeijing Summer Olympic Games previewedTorch lighting ceremony in Greece disruptedIan WilliamsBeijing
video thumbnailNBCCollege curriculum adds environmental studiesInnovative discipline is dubbed sustainabilityAnne ThompsonPhoenix
video thumbnailCBSAntarctica researchers require support servicesRetired bow-tied dentist makes his markJohn BlackstoneAntarctica
video thumbnailABCPolaroid discontinues instant photographic filmNostalgic fans lobby for alternate productionJohn BermanNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
DULCE ET DECORUM EST Assessment time once more on the war in Iraq. Last week all three networks paused for the long view in order to mark the fifth anniversary of its Shock & Awe start. Now the Story of the Day is the war once more because of another milestone--the 4,000th death of a member of the US military there. ABC and NBC both led with the statistic, filing a report from the Pentagon. NBC, courtesy of its single sponsor Fidelity, extended its newshole (24 min v ABC 20, CBS 19). CBS, with Harry Smith substituting for anchor Katie Couric, chose to kick off with an update on the condition of the housing market.

The US military may have suffered 4,000 deaths in five years, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski noted: "It is also estimated that nearly 100,000 Iraqis, military and civilian, have been killed." CBS substitute anchor Smith noted that 97% of the GI deaths have occurred since May 2003 when President George Bush declared the end of "major combat operations." ABC's Jonathan Karl (embargoed link) claimed that the majority of the 4,000 have been killed by blasts from roadside bombs.

NBC's Miklaszewski warned of "early warning signs" that the suppression of violence achieve in the second half of 2007 "may be unraveling." Monthly GI deaths in Baghdad Province have risen from ten in January to 13 in February to 16 already in March. ABC's Karl reported that Gen David Petraeus, the military man in charge in Iraq, "has made it clear" he wants to halt current troop withdrawals to maintain a force level of 130,000 after July.

The 4,000th death put everyone in a somber, even reverent mood. "It has now happened 4,000 times," intoned CBS' David Martin, "but there is no getting used to it--all the potential of a young life gone in an instant leaving a grief that hurts just to watch." ABC anchor Charles Gibson called the toll "sobering" showing a church fence in New York City "heavy laden" with yellow ribbons, a memorial field of crosses on a Santa Monica beach "now a huge expanse." Mused NBC's Mike Taibbi: "Whatever the American public knows or does not know, or cares or does not care about the war, a fallen soldier's family knows an incalculable loss."


SLIVER OF HOUSING HOPE The news from real estate was that the volume of sales of existing homes increased in February after six straight months of decline. ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi (no link) called the minor uptick "a sliver of hope" after "a long winter frozen in place." On CBS, Anthony Mason put the month's data in context: "Nationally home sales are still down nearly 24% from a year ago" with the median sale price slashed in a year from $213K to $196K. Both Mason and Alfonsi speculated about where the market finds its bottom. Mason suggested prices have another 10% to fall. Alfonsi advised us to monitor how long a home is for sale before a buyer appears: two years ago it took 45 days to sell a house; now the average is six to nine months.

NBC's occasional series Nightly 101 looked at the impact on urban renewal projects that use high-rise condominiums to revitalize downtowns. Chris Jansing showed us stalled projects with penthouse views in Puget Sound, southern Florida, downtown Los Angeles and even Utah: "Urban revitalization depends on money from babyboomers. If you cannot sell your house in the suburbs you cannot buy the condo in the city." On ABC, Pierre Thomas completed the day's real estate round-up by reporting on the prosecution of so-called rescue scams: firms that claim to help homeowners avoid eviction from foreclosure by temporarily taking the title to the property--but then sell the asset instead.


TALE OF THE TUZLA TAPE ABC found nothing newsworthy from the campaign trail, whereas CBS dug into its videotape archive and came up with gold from 1996. Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson was assigned to cover the First Lady's visit with the USO--singer Sheryl Crow and comedian Sinbad--to the Bosnian outpost of Tuzla. So imagine how overjoyed Attkisson was when she heard now-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's vivid description of the trip: "There was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport but we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicle to get to our base."

Attkisson duly replayed CBS' own documentation of Rodham Clinton at the greeting ceremony, not running with her head down. Her aides told Attkisson that her arrival "was not quite as dramatic" as their candidate put it. Mused Attkisson: "In politics memories should always match the videotape."

NBC's Andrea Mitchell found the tone of Rodham Clinton's campaign growing "nastier and nastier." When operative James Carville called Bill Richardson "Judas" for his Good Friday endorsement of Barack Obama, Richardson reflected on MSNBC's Morning Joe about a "sense of entitlement that the Presidency is theirs." When Evan Bayh, the Senator from Indiana, suggested new rules for counting delegates in order to favor her, Mitchell called that "Clinton's new math." NBC's Tim Russert offered an explanation that Rodham Clinton needs to convince superdelegates that she is more electable than Obama: "This is very uphill."


RINGS IN HANDCUFFS "The whole world was watching Olympia on live TV," Ian Williams exaggerated from Beijing on NBC, the network whose sports division holds the rights to broadcast this summer's Olympic Games. "This was China's moment. Then human rights protestors stole the show." Supporters of Tibetan independence interrupted the ceremony to light the torch that will open the Games by unfurling a rendering of the Olympic flag with the rings as handcuffs. Stephanie Sy (embargoed link) also filed from Beijing for ABC. She reeled off a list of multinational corporations that have invested a marketing fortune to sponsor the Games in order to reach the eyeballs of "China's enormous market of consumers"--Visa, Budweiser, Adidas, Coca-Cola. "These companies walk a tightrope between profit and public perception. Only one protest ending the wrong way could turn those multimillion dollar investments into a public relations disaster."


ELSEWHERE… NBC's Our Planet series profiled the latest course on campus. Sustainability 101 at Arizona State University attracts students who want to be green to go beyond biology to include architecture, engineering and urban planning. Anne Thompson told us that the environmentally-conscious course uses the "Phoenix area as a natural laboratory--a growing population, a limited water supply, an abundant natural resource. The sun"…CBS' John Blackstone chose windswept Antarctica. The research base has a newly-arrived dentist. Fleet Ratliff decided to announce his presence by making himself instantly recognizable. Hence the polar bow tie. Ratliff needed a full physical workup before leaving on his four-month stint. The colonoscopy saved his life…savepolaroid.com is the Website founded by instant photography fanatics to try to persuade some chemical company to continue manufacture of the film stock following Polaroid's decision to discontinue its 61-year-old invention. ABC's John Berman evoked that babyboomer nostalgia: "Nothing will ever be like that sound, that smell, that moment."


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: JP Morgan sweetened its takeover bid for Bear Stearns, the beleaguered Wall Street brokerage house. It now offers $1.2bn, five times the original price…the floods in the midwest continue with the White River in Arkansas being the latest crisis spot…a hoax listing on the craigslist.org classified Website led to an Oregon man having his home ransacked.