CONTAINING LINKS TO 58103 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM SEPTEMBER 08, 2008
The home mortgage guarantee industry was nationalized over the weekend. FNMA and FHLMC, the government sponsored enterprises nicknamed FannieMae and FreddieMac, posted losses of $14bn in the bear market in housing over the last year. Now they are being run by the Treasury Department; the government has so far pledged $200bn in capital to support their $5tr in guarantees, which represent fully half of all mortgages nationwide. Such a massive bailout was both important enough to be Story of the Day and obscure enough not to be chosen as a lead item. Both ABC and NBC opted to lead from the campaign trail instead. CBS took the day off as its newscast was pre-empted by the rain-delayed final of the USOpen tennis tournament.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR SEPTEMBER 08, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCFinancial mortgage guarantee firms in troubleFannieMae, FreddieMac taken over by fedsBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignEmphasizes maverick label with VP pick PalinKelly O'DonnellChicago
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignQuestions credibility of McCain's change mantraLee CowanMichigan
video thumbnailABCAirline travel: anti-terrorism security precautionsPartial acquittals in London liquid bomb trialBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailNBCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingCellphone video shows US air raid civilian deadJim MiklaszewskiPentagon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesBob Woodward book on NSC plans for surge in 2006Andrea MitchellNew York
video thumbnailABCHurricane Ike hits Cuba, HaitiStorm surge is five stories high, 500 deadJeffrey KofmanFlorida
video thumbnailABCAllergy hayfever season caused by pollensRagweed growth exacerbated by global warmingGigi StoneNew Jersey
video thumbnailABCTermite mounds in Australia are prodigiousInsect structures, human skyscrapers comparedRobert KrulwichNo Dateline
video thumbnailNBCBroadcast television switches from analog to digitalWilmington NC tests next year's national changeBob FawNorth Carolina
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
MASSIVE NATIONALIZATION TOO DIFFICULT TO LEAD WITH The home mortgage guarantee industry was nationalized over the weekend. FNMA and FHLMC, the government sponsored enterprises nicknamed FannieMae and FreddieMac, posted losses of $14bn in the bear market in housing over the last year. Now they are being run by the Treasury Department; the government has so far pledged $200bn in capital to support their $5tr in guarantees, which represent fully half of all mortgages nationwide. Such a massive bailout was both important enough to be Story of the Day and obscure enough not to be chosen as a lead item. Both ABC and NBC opted to lead from the campaign trail instead. CBS took the day off as its newscast was pre-empted by the rain-delayed final of the USOpen tennis tournament.

ABC's Betsy Stark did note that the federal takeover came during "the worst housing crisis since the 1930s" but she warned that the plan "will not be a magic bullet." NBC anchor Brian Williams consulted CNBC economist Steve Liesman about the odds of continuing defaults swallowing up the entire $200bn that taxpayers are ponying up. The dismal scientist could not say: "You know, we could get none of that; some of that; or all of that; but we may end up putting in more."


THATíS THE TICKET ABC led with the results from its own opinion poll, conducted with Washington Post, into the so-called bounce coming out of the national conventions. The upshot of the two gatherings has been that Barack Obama and John McCain are practically even in the national standings: McCain ahead 49%-47% among likely voters; Obama ahead 47%-46% among registered voters. George Stephanopoulos emphasized the demographic and geographic shifts inside the numbers. The biggest swings in favor of McCain since July have been among white women and in the Midwestern states of Missouri, Michigan and Ohio. McCain's aides believe that running mate Sarah Palin accounts for both.

NBC offered a hat tip to ABC's poll numbers as Lee Cowan, covering the Obama campaign in Michigan, quoted them: "Essentially this is a dead heat." Kelly O'Donnell, covering McCain, echoed his aides' enthusiasm for Palin and her appeal among white women voters. O'Donnell pointed to "a new phenomenon" for the McCain campaign--overflow crowds. "She has been staying with him longer than first expected instead of spinning off to campaign on her own."


WAR STORIES ABC's Brian Ross reminded us why airline travelers now have to check their liquids and gels with screeners at the terminal. It is because of a fear of liquid bombs made of hydrogen peroxide that was triggered by a suspected plot by eight men in England: "At US urging British police moved in well before the men had finalized their plans," Ross recalled. In fact, it was so far before any final plans were drawn up that all eight have been acquitted of a specific plot to blow up jetliners; five of the eight are acquitted entirely. The remaining three were convicted of a murder conspiracy. Officials at the FBI told Ross that it was the right decision to shut down the plot "even if it was not fully formed and led to difficulties in court."

At the Pentagon, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski aired cellphone video from times.online.co.uk purporting to show the corpses of 90 Afghan civilians laid out in a mosque in Azizabad--60 of them women and children--killed by an air raid by the United States. He quoted the fears of unidentified "US military officials" that their commandos called in the raid after being led to the compound "by faulty intelligence provided by Afghanistan warlords out to settle personal scores." An investigation of the US military after the raid contradicted the local claims about the death toll, putting it at seven civilians plus 30 Taliban guerrillas. Gen David McKiernan has called for a second, separate investigation into the bombing.

Also at NBC, Andrea Mitchell offered free publicity to The War Within, the latest behind-the-scenes history of Iraq War decisionmaking by Bob Woodward of Washington Post. Mitchell focused on Woodward's reporting about the planning for the 2007 troop reinforcement known as the surge. When President George Bush asserted in public--"Absolutely we are winning; al-Qaeda is on the run"--he was being advised by his National Security Council that his policy was "broken." When the President insisted--"The commander is on the ground in Iraq, people who I listen to"--he had cut both the Pentagon and the CIA out of his decisionmaking, secretly placing it entirely in the hands of NSC Advisor Stephen Hadley.


WINDS, WAVES, WEEDS ABC had Jeffrey Kofman in the Florida Keys and Good Morning America weathercaster Sam Champion in the studio to update us on Hurricane Ike. Champion's forecast saw the storm headed for Galveston--or anywhere else between Corpus Christi and New Orleans--by Friday. Kofman told us about property damage but no deaths from a five-story storm surge in Cuba; and 500 killed from floods and mudslides in Haiti. "With bridges washed out relief workers are having trouble getting food and water to those in need."

Global warming makes weeds grow faster, ABC's Gigi Stone told us, quoting from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. If you are one of the 50m Americans sniffling and sneezing and itching with hayfever you can blame an Inconvenient Truth for all that excess ragweed pollen.


HUMANS ARE NOT INSECTS The tallest termite mound in the world is in Western Australia, ABC's Robert Krulwich told us. Standing 26 feet high it represents the combined height of 4,000 of the insects that built it. Compare that with the tallest skyscraper in the world, more than 2,000 feet tall in Dubai: that represents the combined height of a mere 343 human construction workers.


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT NBC's Bob Faw reminded all his viewers with rabbit ear reception on their sets that they will lose their signal next February. He demonstrated what happens when the analog world grinds to a halt with a visit to Wilmington NC, the test market for flipping the digital switch. "I should have gotten the thing that makes the TV work," confessed Tamara Mercer when her set flashed an out-of-service message, "but I am busy."