CONTAINING LINKS TO 57176 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 14, 2008
The shaky state of the financial system continues to make headlines. Last week ended with worries that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage guarantee firms, might go broke. Now the banking sector is Story of the Day as the bear market in residential real estate is beginning to undermine midsized commercial banks. ABC and CBS both led with the California angle of the banking crisis, as depositors stood in line to retrieve funds from the $32bn IndyMac Bank, which failed on Friday and is now run by the FDIC. NBC led with the national implications for the sector as a whole. For the second Monday in the month, ABC expanded its newshole (24 min v CBS 20, NBC 20), courtesy of Lyrica medication's lone sponsorship, to run its Small World anthropological feature.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 14, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCCommercial banks solvency worries: FDIC steps inRegulators worry about smaller regional banksErin BurnettNew York
video thumbnailABCCommercial banks solvency worries: FDIC steps inDepositors stand in line as IndyMac Bank failsLisa FletcherCalifornia
video thumbnailABCFinancial mortgage guarantee firms in troubleTreasury Department supports Fannie-FreddieBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage appraisal, loan fraudFederal Reserve pledges tighter regulationsAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailCBSInsurance coverage for home building falls shortAllstate accused of paying 59c on the dollarSandra HughesSan Diego
video thumbnailNBCAlcohol: Anheuser-Busch brewery takeover bidBelgium's inBev pays $52bn for St Louis fixtureScott CohnSt Louis
video thumbnailCBSAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingNATO border outpost in Kunar Province attackedLara LoganWashington DC
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignWrites op-ed advocating Iraq-to-Afghan shiftDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailABC2008 Barack Obama campaignThe New Yorker caricatures smears against himJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCHeart disease and cardiac arrests coverageTim Russert's death inspires increased check-upsRobert BazellNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
RUN ON THE BANK The shaky state of the financial system continues to make headlines. Last week ended with worries that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage guarantee firms, might go broke. Now the banking sector is Story of the Day as the bear market in residential real estate is beginning to undermine midsized commercial banks. ABC and CBS both led with the California angle of the banking crisis, as depositors stood in line to retrieve funds from the $32bn IndyMac Bank, which failed on Friday and is now run by the FDIC. NBC led with the national implications for the sector as a whole. For the second Monday in the month, ABC expanded its newshole (24 min v CBS 20, NBC 20), courtesy of Lyrica medication's lone sponsorship, to run its Small World anthropological feature.

NBC's lead was filed by Erin Burnett of CNBC, the network's sibling financial news cable channel, who ranked IndyMac as the second largest bank failure in the nation's history: "I just came from the stock exchange where the question is not whether another bank will fail--but which one and when." Burnett's best guess was Washington Mutual. CNBC's in-house economist Steve Liesman did not mince words: "Look, this is a banking crisis. This is a mortgage meltdown. There are going to be bank failures." But the 90-or-so institutions in trouble are fewer than in previous crises, Liesman pointed out, and ABC's Ryan Owens reminded us that they represent "a mere 1%" of all the banks the FDIC insures.

CNBC's Burnett handed off to her colleague Jane Wells who joined ABC's Lisa Fletcher and CBS' Bill Whitaker outside the IndyMac branch in Pasadena. The depositors who are in trouble are those with in excess of $100,000 at IndyMac, since the federal government's insurance pays only 50c on the dollar above that amount. CBS anchor Katie Couric sought advice from bankrate.com's analyst Greg McBride. He reminded all of us who have in excess of $100,000 on deposit at a single bank to divide it up so that it can be fully insured: "Not having that is like driving around without your seat belt on."

As for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they have been extended an unlimited line of federal credit. Referring to JP Morgan's federally subsidized buyout of Bear Stearns, ABC's Betsy Stark observed that this was the second time in five months that "top government officials have been so concerned about the potential for panic in the financial markets they have taken emergency action over the weekend." NBC's Lisa Myers and CBS' Anthony Mason covered the new regulations issued by the Federal Reserve Board to forbid abusive mortgage lending to subprime borrowers. Mason called it "an about face for the Fed, which under Alan Greenspan had resisted tighter regulation." Myers noted that since the new rules are not retroactive they would be of no help to the 2.2m homeowners now delinquent on already issued loans.


BELGIAN BEER AND DELUXE MINUS In other economic coverage, NBC turned to a third CNBCer, Scott Cohn for coverage from St Louis of inBev's successful $52bn takeover of Anheuser-Busch: "Hometown pride and a weak US dollar were no match for a Belgian company with deep pockets." CBS used the news hook of the California forest fires to skewer the insurance industry. Sandra Hughes warned us about Allstate's Deluxe Plus policy. It purports to pay in full for home replacement yet averages compensation at the rate of 59c on the dollar.


AFGHAN WAR DEVOLVES INTO TWO FRONTS The major news from overseas came from Kunar Province in Afghanistan. None of the networks had a correspondent on the scene to cover the weekend's fighting at a NATO border outpost in Wanat, where the dead included nine US soldiers. CBS' Lara Logan narrated coverage from Washington; ABC's Jim Sciutto (embargoed link) handled the chores from London. The two described the attackers using different labels: Logan called it an al-Qaeda assault; Sciutto referred to the guerrillas as Taliban.

For many years this has seemed to be a distinction without a difference. Now two separate strands are emerging. The civil war in Afghanistan sees ethnic Pashtuns from the provinces around Kandahar in rebellion against the non-Pashtun Kabul government; those fighters are Taliban. The Global War on Terrorism is targeting the remains of al-Qaeda in the remote mountains of northwest Pakistan; US troops operate from bases on the Afghan side of the border while al-Qaeda tries to preserve its safe havens inside Pakistan. NBC anchor Brian Williams seemed to refer to these separate, but interrelated struggles, when he visited Afghanistan, although he did not spell out the contrast. Here is where he concentrated on the government's civil war against the Taliban; here is where he profiled the continuing manhunt in Pakistan by 101st Airborne commandos for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.


EUSTACE TILLEY MEETS ANGELA DAVIS On the campaign trail, CBS' Dean Reynolds tried to do the conscientious thing by paying attention to Barack Obama's op-ed article on Iraq and Afghanistan in The New York Times. The Democratic Presidential candidate proposed a reinforcement of 10,000 troops "to fight resurgent Taliban guerrillas," as Reynolds put it. See what I mean? Does that mean deeper involvement in Afghanistan's civil war? Or does it mean a stepped up al-Qaeda manhunt?

But Reynolds could not resist the buzz created by The New Yorker. Reynolds said the magazine's satirical cartoon cover "overshadowed" foreign policy. ABC's Jake Tapper and NBC's Lee Cowan did not even bother with the overshadowed part. They went straight to the imaginary fist bumping First Couple--Michelle Obama as an AK-47 toting black power Angela Davis and Barack Obama as a devout Indonesian Moslem. "You have got to have a sense of humor to run for office these days," Cowan shrugged.


EAT UP This week's Small World global survey on ABC focused on dinnertime rituals: Stephanie Sy finished every last grain of rice with a family near Beijing; Gretchen Peters ate only with her right hand in Lahore; Simon McGregor-Wood sat down for his mother-in-law's hummus in Jerusalem; the children were served before Dana Hughes in Nairobi; Joohee Cho was taken out to a restaurant in Seoul; and wine flowed freely for Lama Hasan in Provence.


RUSSERT HELPS HIS BOSSES FROM THE GRAVE In tribute to his late colleague Tim Russert, who died of a sudden heart attack, NBC's Robert Bazell told us about the Russert Effect--a surge in heart health check-ups by middle aged men. Bazell, conscientiously, suggested that the check-up surge is benefiting his bosses at General Electric, since many physicians prescribe an artery scan using GE's CT machines. Bazell downplayed the scans' usefulness, pointing out that warnings of the plaque attack that killed Russert would have been invisible. A stress test offered no warning either. Yet the intimations from the Russert Effect are persuading patients to be more receptive to their physician's advice about smoking, nutrition, weight loss and exercise--and more inclined to agree to take cholesterol-lowering statin medicines.