CONTAINING LINKS TO 57176 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 15, 2008
Something worrying must be going on when the President of the United States and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and the Secretary of the Treasury all appear in the same morning to make public statements about the state of the economy. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 11000. In Detroit, General Motors canceled bonuses and stock dividends. In California, depositors at the failed IndyMac Bank continued to stand in line to retrieve their money. ABC led with banking worries. CBS and NBC led with mixed messages about a general recession, the Story of the Day. President George Bush declared: "The economy is growing. Productivity is high. Trade is up." Chairman Benjamin Bernanke discovered "significant downside risks to the outlook for growth."    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 15, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedBush, Bernanke, Paulson all address worriesAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailABC
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Commercial banks solvency worries: FDIC steps inFed's Bernanke, President Bush offer reassuranceBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSFinancial mortgage guarantee firms in troubleFannie-Freddie enjoy privileged federal statusArmen KeteyianNew York
video thumbnailNBCAutomobile industry in financial troubleGeneral Motors cuts bonuses, dividends, benefitsPhilip LeBeauDetroit
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignMajor speech on Iraq, Afghanistan policyAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSMilitary detains terrorist suspects in Cuban campInterrogation of Canadian teenager videotapedDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCBreast cancer coverageNo benefit from self inspection for lumpsRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailABCTeenage fitness, exercise, activity trendsNIH study finds slowdown entering adolescenceMiguel MarquezLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSBeijing Summer Olympic Games previewedConstruction, factories to halt to clean airBarry PetersenBeijing
video thumbnailNBCPrairie ecosystem restored on Indian reservationShokapee spend casino wealth on grasslandsRoger O'NeilMinnesota
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
THREE HORSEMAN OF THE ECONOMY Something worrying must be going on when the President of the United States and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and the Secretary of the Treasury all appear in the same morning to make public statements about the state of the economy. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 11000. In Detroit, General Motors canceled bonuses and stock dividends. In California, depositors at the failed IndyMac Bank continued to stand in line to retrieve their money. ABC led with banking worries. CBS and NBC led with mixed messages about a general recession, the Story of the Day. President George Bush declared: "The economy is growing. Productivity is high. Trade is up." Chairman Benjamin Bernanke discovered "significant downside risks to the outlook for growth."

CBS' Anthony Mason noted the concerted effort by the Secretary, the Chairman and the President, although he muddled his nautical metaphors: "It was all hands on deck this morning for the three skippers of the US economy, to assure us the ship is not sinking." If they are hands then they cannot be skippers. NBC kicked off its newscast by contrasting Bernanke and Bush. Erin Burnett of CNBC led off with the Chairman's testimony on Capitol Hill. With inflation climbing and retail sales "barely budging" Burnett found the economy "stuck between a rock and a hard place." Then John Yang filed from the White House where he found a "self-professed optimistic guy" trying to "accentuate the positive."

Following the federal takeover of IndyMac Bank, ABC's Betsy Stark (embargoed link) focused on the solvency of the entire banking system. She ran a soundbite from Bush--"I think the system, basically, is sound. I truly do"--and one from Bernanke--"Our banking system is well capitalized"--before noting that on Wall Street the prices of bank stocks "were pummeled again." CBS sent Bill Whitaker to an IndyMac branch in Encino where FDIC regulators tried reassure depositors that their money was insured to no avail: "People here do not seem to be in a trusting mood."

The topic for Secretary Henry Paulson's testimony was the Treasury Department's plan to extend formal federal loan guarantees to the home mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Armen Keteyian filed a CBS Investigation into how those two institutions ended up holding "a pivotal place in the home loan market" and winning privileged legal status including limited regulation, exemption from taxes and access to government credit. Keteyian's explanation was "a vast political machine" including nearly 150 inside-the-Beltway lobbyists and Congressional campaign contributions of $2m since 2004.


WAIT! THERE’S MORE The day's economic coverage did not stop there. CNBC's automotive correspondent Philip LeBeau filed from Detroit on the white-collar cuts at General Motors in its bid to raise $15bn in capital to stave of bankruptcy. Company retirees who once held salaried positions had their supplemental healthcare coverage canceled. ABC filed a two-parter on personal financial planning in these turbulent times. David Muir (embargoed link) asked professional advisors about their clients' key concerns. No surprise, bottom line worry: "Is my money safe?" Anchor Charles Gibson followed up with a roundtable discussion: pension expert Anne Matthias of the Stanford Group; economist Louis Alexander of Citigroup; advisor Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments.

Hobson was a longtime contributor for Gibson during his tenure at Good Morning America. She had the most extreme advice of the trio, namely that viewers might emulate the late Sir John Templeton "one of the greatest investors of all time" who showed "enormous courage" in the middle of World War II when he purchased every issue on the New York Stock Exchange with a price of $1 or less. "You buy at the point of maximum pessimism," was Hobson's maxim.


SITE SCRUBBED ON SURGE Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama made a major speech on foreign policy in which he explained his strategy for withdrawing troops from Iraq, where violence has abated, and sending reinforcements to Afghanistan, which he named "the central front in the War on Terror." Only NBC assigned a correspondent to the speech. Andrea Mitchell pointed out that the candidate was fudging his previous record: "As violence recedes in Iraq, Obama's campaign scrubbed his Website, removing language saying the surge is not working." ABC and CBS both mentioned the speech but concentrated instead on freshly completed opinion polls.

ABC News and Washington Post measured a national lead among registered voters for Obama over John McCain of 50%-42%; CBS News and The New York Times came up with 45%-39%. ABC's George Stephanopoulos warned that "registered" voters are different from those "likely" to vote: among the latter Obama's lead shrinks to 49%-46%. Stephanopoulos opined that the success or failure of get-out-the-vote among twentysomethings will be decisive in November. On CBS, Jeff Greenfield identified where McCain must improve in order to win: male voters, Hispanic voters, elderly voters and in Ohio and Missouri.


TEENAGE TERRORIST? CBS' David Martin and ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg (embargoed link) both played videotape clips of the interrogation of a Canadian terrorist suspect. Omar Khadr was arrested as a 15-year-old and has been detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba ever since. The Pentagon alleges that the teenager was an interpreter for al-Qaeda leadership and used a hand grenade to kill an army medic during a US commando raid in Afghanistan. The videotape was once top secret but has now been released by his defense lawyers.


LUMP INSPECTIONS Inspecting one's breasts for lumps cannot do any harm, NBC's Robert Bazell tried to explain, but an organized public health program to encourage it will not save any lives. "You will admit that this somehow defies common sense?" Bazell's exasperated anchor Brian Williams shot back, referring to anecdotes about women who discovered lumps that turned out to be tumors that were later cured. Bazell trod carefully. The conclusion that regular self-examinations do not save lives was not intended to make women ignore abnormal growths: "It is a question of expending resources, Brian, and then following the science. If you are going to have a campaign, do not have a campaign for something that has been proven not to do any good. Have a campaign to get more women to have mammograms."


COURIC SKIPS A SOURCE OF ANXIETY Normally, the teenage beat is a favorite on CBS. Showing her morning program roots, anchor Katie Couric usually favors adolescent trends tinged with parental anxiety and moral panic. So it was a surprise that the report about 15-year-old couch potatoes from the National Institutes of Health--as puberty arrives, physical activity declines--attracted coverage from Tom Costello on NBC and Miguel Marquez on ABC but was only mentioned in passing on CBS. Of the 34 reports on teenage topics aired during the first half of 2008, almost half (15 v ABC 8, NBC 11) were on CBS. Check out Daniel Sieberg on teenage girls' staged catfights or Michelle Miller on teenage girls' coordinated pregnancies or Randall Pinkston on marketing of caffeine and nicotine to teenagers or Jon LaPook on sexually transmitted diseases and teenage girls.


PRAY FOR RAIN Sunday is the deadline for factories and building sites to shut down and highways to start emptying in Beijing in that city's effort to clean up its air before the Olympic Games start. Yet if winds pick up and faraway pollution is blown into town, CBS' Barry Petersen told us that the only remedy is rain. The People's Liberation Army is conducting artillery drills to fire silver iodide shells into clouds to make them precipitate.


PRAIRIE HOME Roger O'Neil's prairie pictures were pretty from the Shokapee-Mdewakanton reservation in rural Minnesota for NBC. The Dakota Sioux tribe is plowing profits from its Mystic Lake casino back into its land, planting wild rice, rattlesnake master and swamp milkweed to return 500 acres to the grassland ecosystem the settlers found in the 1850s.