CONTAINING LINKS TO 57176 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 11, 2008
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in trouble. Those strange inside-the-Beltway institutions--so-called Government Sponsored Entities--that are neither financial firms nor government agencies guarantee more than $5tr in debt. That debt is secured by 42% of the nation's home mortgages. As real estate prices plummet those mortgages grow less reliable. If FHLMC and FNMA become unsound the federal government will have to pony up billions, or even take them over, in order to keep the housing market from crashing. Thus an arcane financial bureaucracy became the Story of the Day, the lead item on all three network newscasts.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 11, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCFinancial mortgage guarantee firms in troubleFannie Mae, Freddie Mac may need federal bailoutBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSFinancial mortgage guarantee firms in troublePresident Bush holds Fannie-Freddie crisis talksJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailNBCSudan civil war: ethnic cleansing in DarfurWar crimes court to indict President al-BashirAnn CurryNew York
video thumbnailNBCAbu Dhabi enjoys petrodollar, construction boomOpulent cultural institutions target tourismRichard EngelAbu Dhabi
video thumbnailCBSMilitary combat casualties suffer disabilitiesWarrior Transition healthcare oversubscribedDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCEnergy conservation and alternate fuel useWind for electricity, natural gas for cars planAnne ThompsonWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCCoral conservation efforts in ocean watersReefs damaged by warmer acidic watersKerry SandersFlorida
video thumbnailCBSPublic school systems suffer teacher shortageSloppy bookkeeping at Teach for America trainingSharyl AttkissonWashington DC
video thumbnailABCDiapers are necessity for households with toddlersProgram gives diaper discounts to poor familiesCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailNBCAnimal shelters care for abandoned pet dogsGirl launches online fundraising for free kibbleChris JansingOregon
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
MEET FREDDIE AND FANNIE Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in trouble. Those strange inside-the-Beltway institutions--so-called Government Sponsored Entities--that are neither financial firms nor government agencies guarantee more than $5tr in debt. That debt is secured by 42% of the nation's home mortgages. As real estate prices plummet those mortgages grow less reliable. If FHLMC and FNMA become unsound the federal government will have to pony up billions, or even take them over, in order to keep the housing market from crashing. Thus an arcane financial bureaucracy became the Story of the Day, the lead item on all three network newscasts.

NBC, alone, had covered intimations of the looming problems at Freddie and Fannie Thursday, courtesy of David Faber of CNBC, its sibling financial news cable channel. Now NBC turned again to CNBC, with Trish Regan covering their potential need for a federal bailout and Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money providing analysis. Regan pointed out that half of the entire National Debt is held by these two institutions, whose stock prices are now more than 80% below their onetime highs. Cramer added that IndyMac Bank in California "an aggressive, some would say reckless lender" has folded, requiring takeover by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Financial worries were so acute that lame duck President George Bush attracted rare attention on the nightly newscasts. CBS' White House correspondent Jim Axelrod covered his crisis meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: "vague on solutions," was Axelrod's assessment. CBS had Anthony Mason spell out the financial intricacy of these "funny names." He described their role as providing "the grease that keeps the housing market moving." Betsy Stark did explainer duties on ABC after anchor Charles Gibson called Freddie and Fannie "the names of an aunt and uncle you have never met."


GENOCIDE? WHAT GENOCIDE? The carnage in Darfur finds itself back in the news this week. Wednesday ABC's Bob Woodruff told us about the obstacles facing United Nations peacekeeping forces. Now the International Criminal Court is preparing to indict Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges. Today newscaster Ann Curry interviewed al-Bashir last year and she reran al-Bashir's soundbites in his own defense on NBC: "There is no ethnic cleansing, no mass genocide," he asserted, claiming that all government violence was against rebel guerrillas not civilians.


LEAVING THE WARZONE NBC's Richard Engel is usually stationed in Baghdad but he took time off from war to file one of those periodic gee-whiz travelogues on boom times in the Persian Gulf. This is Engel's piece on Abu Dhabi. Here is Anthony Mason on CBS last month from Kuwait. ABC sent Bill Weir to Dubai last year. CBS' Pentagon correspondent David Martin updated us on the cost of war on the home front. He told us that disabled combat casualties fail to receive expedited military healthcare because the army's Warrior Transition Units, which were designed to be their first line of treatment, are being used by general patients too. There are 35 WTUs set up worldwide and about half of their caseload consists of non-combat cases.


ENERGY BOOST Thanks to the publicity splash made by oilman T Boone Pickens, this has been a busy week on the environment and energy beats. ABC's Betsy Stark and CBS anchor Katie Couric covered Pickens' scheme for windmill farms and natural gas vehicles when he unveiled it Tuesday. NBC, whose bosses at General Electric have a vested interest in windmills, was tardy in publicizing Pickens, even as the billionaire purchased advertising time on NBC Nightly News. Now Anne Thompson assesses Pickens' plan, pointing out that it fails to address the reliance of electric utilities on coal, a major source of greenhouse gases. Thompson did note that Pickens purchased 600 windmills from General Electric recently. On ABC, David Muir (embargoed link) looked at the economics of electric utilities, warning that rising costs of natural gas and coal will be passed on as a monthly $30 electricity hike this summer for each household. In other environmental news, NBC's Kerry Sanders covered the NOAA warning about the depletion of coral reefs as global warming makes ocean waters more acidic. ABC's Ned Potter (embargoed link) reported on reefs Monday.


FRIDAY FEATURE WATCH CBS' Follow the Money looked at the Teach for America program, which trains college graduates to become schoolteachers in poor urban and rural districts. Normally this type of program gets glowing feature coverage. Consider NBC's Anne Thompson on Teach for America eighteen months ago or NBC's Michelle Kosinski on Troops to Teachers or CBS' Michelle Miller on midlife career changes. No glowing this time: Sharyl Attkisson rapped Teach for America on the knuckles for sloppy bookkeeping in how it spent grant money.

NBC and ABC both closed the week on charity schemes. ABC anchor Charles Gibson introduced us to Person of the Week Joanne Goldblum, who insists that diapers are a household necessity in families with toddlers yet are not eligible to be purchased with food stamps. Goldblum organized the Diaper Bank to make them affordable. On NBC, Chris Jansing hung out with Mimi Ausland, a nine-year-old animal lover in Bend Ore. Ausland is Making a Difference by organizing freekibble.com, a sponsored Website which supplies food in the style of freerice.com--but without the vocabulary game--for dogs at animal shelters. Ausland explained she was inspired by Jansing's NBC report last month on pets abandoned by homeowners after they are evicted by foreclosure.