CONTAINING LINKS TO 57176 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 01, 2008
Dismal news from Detroit was the Story of the Day. CBS and NBC both led with automobile sales statistics for the month of June. An economic slowdown combined with an excess inventory of gas guzzling pick-up trucks and Sports Utility Vehicles produced plummeting results. General Motors sold 18% fewer vehicles than in the same month of 2007, Toyota 21% fewer, Ford 28% and Chrysler 36%. On Wall Street, General Motors' stock price is now worth less than it was half a century ago. ABC looked forward to our Fourth of July barbecues for its lead: those raw tomatoes for our hamburgers have still not been cleared of suspicion of salmonella.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 01, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCAutomobile industry in financial troubleSales plummet in June; trucks, SUVs hardest hitPhilip LeBeauIllinois
video thumbnailABCWorkplace flextime schedules help employeesSwitch to four-day week to save commuting costsDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailNBCIran-Israel frictions: IDF warplanes drillIranian diplomat doubts that Israel will attackRichard EngelNew York
video thumbnailABC
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2008 Barack Obama campaignSupports faith-based social services provisionJohn BermanNew York
video thumbnailCBSGov David Paterson (D-NY) is blindInventive strategies cope with disabilityKatie CouricNew York
video thumbnailCBSPrisons: suspected copkiller dies in Maryland jailStrangled in solitary cell, guards investigatedBob OrrWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCTomatoes tainted with salmonella toxinFDA search for origin frustrated, harms growersRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailCBSHighway safety: drivers' cell phone use dangersTalk-happy Los Angeles has latest handheld banBill WhitakerLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSPremature babies require intensive hospital careUndergo multiple procedures, often very painfulSanjay GuptaArkansas
video thumbnailNBCTornado seasonOklahoma TV station meteorologists chase stormsDon TeagueOklahoma
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
DETROIT’S BIG THREE FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL Dismal news from Detroit was the Story of the Day. CBS and NBC both led with automobile sales statistics for the month of June. An economic slowdown combined with an excess inventory of gas guzzling pick-up trucks and Sports Utility Vehicles produced plummeting results. General Motors sold 18% fewer vehicles than in the same month of 2007, Toyota 21% fewer, Ford 28% and Chrysler 36%. On Wall Street, General Motors' stock price is now worth less than it was half a century ago. ABC looked forward to our Fourth of July barbecues for its lead: those raw tomatoes for our hamburgers have still not been cleared of suspicion of salmonella.

The auto sales data were "terrible," ABC's Betsy Stark asserted, "the worst numbers in 15 years." What is selling? "Small, fuel-efficient vehicles," answered CNBC's Phil LeBeau on NBC, "which helped Honda post the only positive numbers for the month." LeBeau added that the demand for fuel efficient hybrid models is so heavy nowadays that a buyer who walks into a Toyota dealership today with a deposit for a Prius can expect delivery after Christmas. Detroit's Big Three were supposed to turn their finances around in 2008, CBS' Anthony Mason reminded us, "that is what all those job cuts and closings were all about. Instead, they are fighting for survival--literally."

The high cost of driving inspired features on lifestyle changes at both ABC and CBS. CBS called its effort Changing Times as Nancy Cordes covered the same territory as Kerry Sanders last week on NBC--the switch in cities from car ownership to rent-by-the-hour sharing schemes. Sanders donated free publicity to Zipcar. Cordes went to Philadelphia were PhillyCarShares runs the nation's largest regional network. On ABC, David Muir calculated the reduced commuting costs from working four ten-hour days each week instead of five eight-hours. He reckoned an average annual savings of $377 for each commuter. Some 3,500 municipal workers in Birmingham Ala and 17,000 state workers in Utah now have three-day weekends.


NIL ADVENTURISM Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki of Iran was in New York and sat down with ABC's Jonathan Karl and NBC's Richard Engel. Karl did not have a camera to record his interview, so he contented himself with debriefing anchor Charles Gibson on Minister Mottaki's evaluation of Israel's war plans against Teheran, plans that Karl (embargoed link) reported Monday were "likely" in the eyes of his Pentagon sources. Mottaki, on the other hgand, believes "the chances that the Israelis will attack are nil," Karl stated. Engel had his q-&-a on the record and gave it an Exclusive label. For Engel, Mottaki phrased that "nil" as a situation that "will not allow it to engage in regional adventurism." Mottaki, by the way, referred to Israel by name, not as the Zionist Entity. Engel continued with the hypothetical anyway: "Would Iran make a distinction between an attack by Israel and an attack by the United States?" "No." Engel reminded us that Iran has plans to retaliate with "a line of fire all the way from Teheran to Jerusalem" in case an attack were launched: Hezbollah would fight in Lebanon; Shiite militias would fight in Iraq; Iran would block the Straits of Hormuz--and a barrel of crude oil might cost "$300, $400."


BIBLICAL INSPIRATION All three networks mentioned Barack Obama's proposal to expand federal funding for faith-based social services, an idea that was the keystone of President George Bush's compassionate conservatism. Only ABC assigned a reporter to his speech. John Berman (embargoed link) saw Obama as positioning himself to take advantage of John McCain's relative weakness among white evangelical voters. According to ABC's poll McCain is "no evangelical hero," attracting 68% of their support compared with 78% for Bush in 2004. Yet despite growing evangelical interest in Democratic-friendly issues such as poverty, AIDS and global warming, "some traditional values will not look past Obama's liberal positions on social issues--like abortion."

The day's only other political coverage was an extended human interest Katie Couric Reports feature on David Paterson, the blind Governor of New York. CBS anchor Couric devoted six minutes to profiling Paterson's disability, his childhood and his ascension to office in the wake of Eliot Spitzer's sex scandal. Because he cannot read with his eyes and never learned Braille, all of Paterson's briefings are read aloud to him, many of them left as elaborate voice-mail messages. "Paterson's ability to memorize what he hears is almost superhuman," Couric gushed. His inbox includes a daily Bible passage read by a friend each daybreak.


BLOTTER NOTES There were scant other news developments in this holiday week. The Food & Drug Administration admitted that its investigation into this spring's outbreak of tomato salmonella has drawn a blank. NBC's Robert Bazell and ABC's Lisa Stark (embargoed link) both noted that the entire tomato industry is suffering because of the FDA's failure to find a culprit. Bazell called it a "$450m hit" and Stark reported on speculation that the true source may be accompanying cilantro or onions not the tomatoes themselves…Los Angeles became the latest jurisdiction to prohibit motorists from conducting cellular telephone conversations from behind the wheel. CBS' Bill Whitaker covered the rush by chatty drivers to buy hands-free headsets…DC-based Bob Orr covered a local crime story in the Washington area on CBS. Richard Finley, a police officer in Prince George's County in the Maryland suburbs, was killed in a hit-and-run accident. A 19-year-old named Ronnie White was arrested and held in solitary confinement in the county jail pending charges. No one had access to his cell except guards and supervisors. White was found strangled to death on Sunday morning. Orr noted that there were "no surveillance cameras watching White's cellblock."


BABIES AND TWISTERS On the feature front, it always tugs at the heartstrings to see close-up pictures of tiny premies struggling for life, but CBS' Eye on Medicine provided very little journalistic substance from CNN's in-house physician Sanjay Gupta to justify manipulating our emotions thus. Gupta was in a neonatal intensive care ward in Arkansas to illustrate research on medical procedures performed on premature newborns in France. Gupta's take home message--try to inflict as little pain on babies as possible.

Meanwhile NBC's In Depth feature was simultaneously a promotion for Dateline's documentary The Year of the Tornado and a pat on the back for the Warn4 weather crew at NBC's Oklahoma City affiliate KFOR-TV. The station has a squad of stormchasers--meteorologist David Payne, cameraman Kevin Josephine, helicopter pilot Jim Gardner--and Don Teague narrated their awesome weather porn video as a tease for Friday's primetime special on the Fourth of July.


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 GI death toll in Afghanistan was 28 for the month of June, on par with the month's total for Iraq…former Secretary of State Colin Powell has not endorsed a candidate for President so far…the National Rifle Association plans to spend $40m on political advertising during Campaign 2008…the National Guard has been called up to help fight forest fires in California…Starbucks, the gourmet coffee chain, is closing 600 outlets…the waters at the Tsingtao yachting venue for the Beijing Olympics are blocked with an algae bloom.