CONTAINING LINKS TO 57176 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 04, 2008
The Fourth of July may be a holiday but it was a surprisingly busy day of news. Granted CBS and NBC both had substitute anchors--Russ Mitchell and Lester Holt respectively--but there was plenty of substance for them to cover. All three networks reported on the wildfires in California and aired undercover commando videotape of Wednesday's hostage rescue in Colombia. Jesse Helms, the longtime Republican senator from North Carolina, received an obituary on all three newscasts. The holiday was still the Story of the Day, covered with assorted features. Yet fireworks and parades were not the lead item: ABC and CBS chose the fires near Santa Barbara; NBC had Helms' death at age 86.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 04, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCFourth of July holiday celebratedPoignant festivities during times of warRyan OwensNew York
video thumbnailNBCFourth of July holiday celebratedFestivities enjoyed despite economic woesMike TaibbiNew York
video thumbnailCBSFourth of July holiday celebratedHot dogs, picnic buns more expensive than everBen TracyLos Angeles
video thumbnailABCFourth of July holiday celebratedSmalltown parade in Pa has WWII veteran marshalCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSWild forest fires in western statesLos Podres Forest blaze threatens Santa BarbaraBill WhitakerCalifornia
video thumbnailABCColombia civil war: FARC narcoguerrillasCommandos release videotape of hostage rescueSteve OsunsamiTexas
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesUSArmy unit on third tour fights third enemyJim MacedaBaghdad
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignStumps in northern plains, Rocky Mountain statesLee CowanMontana
video thumbnailCBS110th Congress assailed for legislative inactionList of stalled bills led by housing, energySharyl AttkissonWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCFormer Sen Jesse Helms (R-NC) dies, aged 86ObituaryMartin SavidgeAtlanta
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
NEWS FAILS TO TAKE A HOLIDAY The Fourth of July may be a holiday but it was a surprisingly busy day of news. Granted CBS and NBC both had substitute anchors--Russ Mitchell and Lester Holt respectively--but there was plenty of substance for them to cover. All three networks reported on the wildfires in California and aired undercover commando videotape of Wednesday's hostage rescue in Colombia. Jesse Helms, the longtime Republican senator from North Carolina, received an obituary on all three newscasts. The holiday was still the Story of the Day, covered with assorted features. Yet fireworks and parades were not the lead item: ABC and CBS chose the fires near Santa Barbara; NBC had Helms' death at age 86.

ABC's Ryan Owens had a poignant take on Independence Day, contrasting hometown celebrations with worries about warzone deployments of troops. NBC's Mike Taibbi's contrast was between celebrating and belt-tightening in economic hard times. CBS' Ben Tracy spelled out the details of the economic squeeze, calculating the increased costs of both hot dogs and buns at a typical Forth of July barbecue. And Arthur Albertson of Millville Pa was ABC's Person of the week. Charles Gibson introduced us to the World War II veteran grand marshal of his small home town's parade.


FIREWORKS Firefighting, not fireworks, was the watchword in California. The major blazes are on the coastal zone, around the tourist resort of Big Sur and in Los Podres National Forest on the outskirts of Santa Barbara. ABC filed from both locations, Brian Rooney on Santa Barbara evacuations and Laura Marquez (embargoed link) on the protection of Big Sur's historic district. CBS and NBC had a single reporter summarize both: Bill Whitaker told us about sundowner winds that fan flames after nightfall; George Lewis, who covered the sundowners Thursday, focused on the firefighters' fears that Fourth of July fireworks may start still more.


MIAMIíS LATIN BUREAU None of the networks sent their reporter to Colombia to cover the clandestine videotape of the commando raid that rescued 15 prisoners from FARC guerrillas. The images showed the prisoners being transferred to a helicopter, disguised as FARC friendly, and then the elation on board as they were told that they were free. CBS' Kimberly Dozier narrated the scenes from Washington. NBC used its Miami bureau, where Mark Potter tends to divide his time evenly between the southeastern states and Latin American beats. ABC's Steve Osunsami was in San Antonio, where three of the hostages are receiving military medical care. Technically Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Mark Gonsalves are civilians but the Pentagon is looking after them anyway because they were out-of-uniform contractors conducting surveillance in the War on Drugs when they were captured by FARC.


NEW ENEMIES Other overseas features were filed on NBC. Jim Maceda profiled an army unit in Baghdad on its third deployment--the first was to fight Saddam Hussein, its second enemy was Sunni insurgents, its third was Shiite militias. These GIs had no plans for a fourth fight. In her Making a Difference feature Ann Curry (no link) publicized a photojournalism exhibit sponsored by Global Fund of images from the Magnum agency. The pictures show the efficacy HIV-AIDS medication around the globe. Curry introduced us to Tobha Nzima, who was at death's door in her native Swaziland until the medicine arrived.


MONTANA HERE WE COME In Campaign 2008, both NBC and ABC took note of Barack Obama's excursion into onetime Republican bastions, as the Democrat celebrated the Fourth of July in Big Sky country. ABC's John Berman (embargoed link) and NBC's Lee Cowan filed from Montana while CBS skipped the Presidential race to focus on a do-nothing Congress instead. Sharyl Attkisson's Follow the Money feature ticked off all the legislation that has failed to pass this session.


DO NOT SPEAK ILL As for Jesse Helms, one does not speak ill of the dead, so no obituary flat out called him a racist--"conservative" was the non-controversial, and accurate, formulation for the opponent of gay rights and the United Nations, supporter of fetal rights and school prayer. Yet ABC anchor Charles Gibson (embargoed link) and Bob Schieffer, host of CBS' Face the Nation, and NBC's Martin Savidge all three reran his trademark campaign ad against African-American rival Harvey Gantt in 1990: "You needed that job and you were the best qualified but they went ahead and gave it to a minority because of a racial quota." NBC's Savidge reminded us that Helms first came to prominence in North Carolina by opposing an NBC Nightly News anchor during the Civil Rights era. He called David Brinkley "that turncoat southerner."