CONTAINING LINKS TO 57176 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 03, 2008
Early in the day, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama announced his intention to refine his policy towards the Iraq War. Late in the day he called a press conference to refine his promise to refine his policy, insisting that his intention to withdraw combat forces according to a 16-month schedule stands firm. NBC led with Obama's sort of flip-flop, which was Story of the Day. Heading into the holiday weekend both NBC, with Lester Holt, and CBS, with Harry Smith, had a substitute anchor. ABC and CBS chose natural disaster over election politics for its lead, starting with the evacuation of Big Sur in coastal California in the face of wind-whipped forest fires.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 03, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignInsists he is not wavering on Iraq troop pulloutLee CowanNorth Dakota
video thumbnailABC2008 Barack Obama campaignEmphasizes centrist policies for swing votersJohn BermanNorth Dakota
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignShowcases foreign policy in Mexico-Colombia tripKelly O'DonnellMexico
video thumbnailABCUnemployment: June jobless rate unchanged at 5.5%Job totals shrink for sixth straight monthsBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSWild forest fires in western statesScenic coastal community of Big Sur evacuatedJohn BlackstoneCalifornia
video thumbnailNBCColombia civil war: FARC narcoguerrillasCommandos pulled off hostage rescue, no one hurtMark PotterMiami
video thumbnailCBSColombia civil war: FARC narcoguerrillasRescued hostages given clean bill of healthHari SreenivasanTexas
video thumbnailCBSMilitary recruitment and retention effortsUSArmy finds most young adults unfit to serveDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCMilitary personnel suffer mental health problemsViolent, suicidal PTSD veteran killed by NJ copJonathan AlterNew Jersey
video thumbnailABCRestaurant in Belgium offers midair diningGourmet table suspended by crane 150 feet highNick WattSpain
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
OBAMA REFINES HIS IRAQ REFINEMENT Early in the day, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama announced his intention to refine his policy towards the Iraq War. Late in the day he called a press conference to refine his promise to refine his policy, insisting that his intention to withdraw combat forces according to a 16-month schedule stands firm. NBC led with Obama's sort of flip-flop, which was Story of the Day. Heading into the holiday weekend both NBC, with Lester Holt, and CBS, with Harry Smith, had a substitute anchor. ABC and CBS chose natural disaster over election politics for its lead, starting with the evacuation of Big Sur in coastal California in the face of wind-whipped forest fires.

On the campaign trail, both NBC's Lee Cowan and CBS' Dean Reynolds parsed Obama's words about Iraq. On ABC, George Stephanopoulos, anchor of This Week opined that troops-out was one issue on which Obama cannot afford to equivocate. John McCain's Republican campaign issued a sarcastic message, congratulating Obama on "seeing the light" about the need to maintain a US military presence in Iraq, which CBS' Chip Reid reported in a brief stand-up. ABC's John Berman put Obama's statement in the context of several recent policy modulations and centrist sentiments, a trend that NBC's Cowan covered on Wednesday. NBC, which has tended to cover McCain more closely than the other two newscasts all year (94 min v ABC 51, CBS 57), had Kelly O'Donnell file from Mexico City where the Republican completed a brief Latin American to showcase his foreign credentials and policies on immigration, free trade and the War on Drugs.


FEW SUMMER JOBS The usual release of unemployment data, scheduled for the first Friday of each month, was advanced by one day because of the holiday weekend. There were 62,000 fewer people in work in June than in the previous month, marking the sixth straight month of decline, a total of 438,000 jobs so far this year. CNBC's Scott Cohn covered the data for NBC and Betsy Stark filed for ABC. On CBS, Anthony Mason used the statistics as a hook to look at the sparse summer hiring prospects for teenagers, as youth competes with 8.5m adults looking for work. Hard economic times were covered with a holiday feel by CBS' Ben Tracy and ABC's Dan Harris: Harris told us about straitened summer vacations; Tracy saw a dearth of recreational boaters on Pacific waters because of the high cost of diesel. Sail takes preference over power.


VENTANA INN EVACUATED Further north on the California coast, CBS' John Blackstone and ABC's Laura Marquez (embargoed link) were in beautiful Big Sur at the historic Ventana Inn. Firefighters issued a red flag warning, meaning that the forest fire there was out of control. On NBC, George Lewis monitored the southern coastal fire at Goleta near Santa Barbara. After dusk, so-called sundowner winds pick up making it harder for firefighters to protect orchards in the darkness.


RESCUE RUSE There were two angles to cover to follow-up on Wednesday's Story of the Day, the rescue of 15 captives from FARC guerrillas in the jungle of Colombia. NBC's Miami-based Mark Potter and CBS' DC-based Bob Orr delivered the inside story of the ruse used by government commandos to infiltrate guerrilla forces and pull off the rescue without a shot being fired. CBS' Hari Sreenivasan and ABC's Mike von Fremd (embargoed link) were in San Antonio where three of the hostages, civilian operatives working for the Pentagon in the War on Drugs, were given a clean bill of health by military doctors.


REINFORCEMENTS NEEDED All three networks filed other military-related stories, ABC and CBS both from the Pentagon. CBS' David Martin illustrated the problems with physical fitness and academic qualifications among those aged between 17 and 24: the USArmy estimates that only 28% of that cohort meets its standards for recruitment into the armed forces. ABC's Jonathan Karl (embargoed link) told us about a shortage of active duty troops in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has had to extend the tour of duty for 2200 members of the Marine Corps because reinforcements are not available until a drawdown gets under way from Iraq. Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter filed a tragic human interest story on the aftermath of the Iraq War for NBC. He told us the story of German Sanabria of Bridgeton NJ, a suicidal Iraq War veteran diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After checking himself out of a VA mental hospital, Sanabria was found assaulting his stepfather with a steak knife by Anthony Keller, a local police officer who happened to be a former high school classmate of the veteran. Keller killed Sanabria to stop the stabbing.


HIGH TABLE For fun, ABC's Nick Watt went to Barcelona for fine dining. His table was served by a traveling Belgian restaurant that sets up operation in cities round the globe. The gimmick was that Watt was strapped into his chair because the table was hanging by a cable from a crane, 150 feet in the air.