CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 11, 2008
The Illinois political corruption probe was Story of the Day for the third day in a row as the state's former senator, now President-elect, spoke out publicly about the state's indicted governor. Barack Obama waived any presumption of innocence as he called himself "appalled and disappointed" at Rod Blagojevich and publicly called on him to resign. Obama categorically denied that his office was involved "in any dealmaking around my Senate seat." NBC and CBS both led from Chicago while ABC turned to the ailing economy as layoffs get worse and worse.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 11, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCGov Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) accused of corruptionPres-elect Obama denies Senate seat dealmakingJake TapperWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCGov Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) accused of corruptionChicago politics is breeding ground for graftLee CowanChicago
video thumbnailCBSAutomobile industry in financial troubleSenate negotiations to revise federal loan planSharyl AttkissonCapitol Hill
video thumbnailABCUnemployment: corporate layoffs continueWeekly claims for jobless benefits grow to 573KBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseEven renegotiation does not prevent defaultAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailABCWinter weatherUnusual heavy snowfall across Deep SouthSteve OsunsamiAtlanta
video thumbnailNBCAsthma coverageFDA panel on dilators, steroids medicine safetyRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailNBCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingMedals for Green Berets for Shok Valley heroicsJim MiklaszewskiNorth Carolina
video thumbnailCBSChristmas holiday season gets under wayEven gifts of children's toys are scaled backJohn BlackstoneSan Francisco
video thumbnailABCVideogames titles, design, development trendsScholastic develops game to boost book readingJohn BermanNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
OBAMA GAVE BLAGOJEVICH THE SILENT TREATMENT The Illinois political corruption probe was Story of the Day for the third day in a row as the state's former senator, now President-elect, spoke out publicly about the state's indicted governor. Barack Obama waived any presumption of innocence as he called himself "appalled and disappointed" at Rod Blagojevich and publicly called on him to resign. Obama categorically denied that his office was involved "in any dealmaking around my Senate seat." NBC and CBS both led from Chicago while ABC turned to the ailing economy as layoffs get worse and worse.

"Dysfunctional" was the way NBC's Lee Cowan described Chicago's political culture. "It would not be unusual for not only Obama staffers, but Obama himself, to discuss his replacement with the governor," ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out--but it turns out the President-elect never talked about it. CBS' Dean Reynolds saw hints in the federal prosecutor's affidavit against Blagojevich that officials of the Service Employees Union, which supported both governor and senator, could have been "possible conduits" and he pointed to Rahm Emanuel, the incoming White House Chief of Staff, as a "veteran of Chicago politics and past associate of Blagojevich." NBC's Savannah Guthrie talked to "political observers" and concluded that "as good Democrats, Obama and Blagojevich endorsed each other in general election campaigns but sometimes backed others in primaries--and had a tense relationship."

"There is a lot of people giving the governor the silent treatment," NBC's Cowan concluded. "Take Blagojevich's father-in-law Richard Mell, a longtime alderman." He called their family feud "much like the Hatfields and McCoys." Mell is "so at odds with Blagojevich he now rarely speaks to his own daughter Patti," the First Lady of Illinois.


CRITICAL AUTHOR NAMED TO CABINET Barack Obama had intended to focus on his Cabinet, CNBC's John Harwood noted, as he nominated Tom Daschle to be his Health Secretary. Yet Rod Blagojevich "did distract from his message today on autos and healthcare. That is going to continue." Only ABC managed to avoid that distraction as anchor Charles Gibson consulted in-house physician Timothy Johnson about what to expect from Daschle. Johnson outlined the plan for a Federal Health Board--sort of a Federal Reserve Board for the healthcare system--that Daschle proposed in his book Critical. The FHB would consist of members serving ten-year terms, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, who would "be independent and isolated from all the special interest groups that now paralyze healthcare reform." The board would issue standard-of-care guidelines to eliminate wasteful procedures and contain costs. Does Obama agree with Daschle? "Absolutely. He has read the book. He endorses the book. He has a blurb on the front cover and a blurb on the back cover."


DETROIT AID NOT FILIBUSTERPROOF As for Detroit's ailing automobile industry, CBS' Sharyl Attkisson and ABC's Jonathan Karl filed from Capitol Hill. The plan proposed by the White House and approved by the House of Representatives--for a $14bn low-interest federal loan through next March--is doomed to fail in the Senate. It would need a 60-vote supermajority to pass and "too many Republicans oppose it," Attkisson pointed out. "Dead," Karl concurred. He told us of a compromise being floated by Sen Bob Corker (R-TN) that would oblige creditors to forgive two thirds of Detroit's debts and the autoworkers to accept "steep wage and benefits cuts." NBC had no correspondent file from the halls of Congress. Instead CNBC's automotive expert Phil LeBeau brought us up to date. If the loan is defeated, he reported that Treasury Department aid was "not likely" and a loan from the Federal Reserve Board "not likely" either. His bottom line for General Motors was "bankruptcy by the end of the year."


PINK SLIPS FOR XMAS As for those other weak sectors of the economy, ABC's Betsy Stark took on the labor market, as more than half a million workers filed for jobless benefits in a single week. CBS' Anthony Mason surveyed the real estate market in the Hitting Home series. Renegotiating mortgages to prevent home foreclosures is not working, Mason warned. Even after cutting interest rates and converting to fixed 30-year loans, "after six months more than half the borrowers were behind in their payments once more." Mason publicized the efforts of housing activists at the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America to pressure lenders to forgive principal debt.

ABC's Stark told us that jobless claims in New Jersey are increasing so rapidly that the state government has had to reassign 150 workers from other departments to process them. What are hundreds of thousands getting for a present this Christmas? "What they most dread--a pink slip." The pace of layoffs appears to be accelerating, Stark stated starkly: "We are not at the bottom of this abyss just yet."


SOUTHERN SNOW, NORTHERN ZAMBONI A line of stormy weather stretching from Louisiana to Massachusetts was vast enough to attract coverage from ABC's Steve Osunsami in the Deep South and the Weather Channel's Mike Seidel in upstate New York for NBC. Osunsami told us that six inches of snow in the Big Easy created a scene "that looked more like New England than New Orleans." Seidel gave us the statistics: it is only the eighth occasion in 60 years that Mississippi has seen so much snow. At the northern end of the system they are expecting an icestorm instead of a blizzard: "In Albany tonight that are keeping the snowblower in the garage and gassing up the Zamboni."


STEROIDS & DILATORS CBS and NBC both skipped covering the prospects for the healthcare system in general as represented by the nomination of Tom Daschle as Health Secretary. Instead, NBC's Robert Bazell and CBS' in-house physician Jon LaPook took a look at a single ailment--asthma. A medication safety panel at the Food & Drug Administration considered the role of steroids and dilators in treating symptoms. The former reduce the inflammation that narrows breathing tubes; the latter open those passages up. The FDA panel proposed banning two drugs that do not combine the two chemicals--Serevent and Foradil--in favor of two combination brands, Advair and Symbicourt. Bazell warned us that the incidence of asthma among preschoolers has increased by 160% in the past 15 years.


HOW JOHN WALDING LOST HIS LEG For a change--consider the complaints here on Tuesday--all three newscasts filed stimulating reports from around the world. ABC's Jim Sciutto (embargoed link) told us about President Robert Mugabe's blind refusal to accept that a cholera outbreak amounted to a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski filed an In Depth report on the seven-hour battle between Green Beret commandoes and Afghan guerrillas in a remote outpost in the Shok Valley. Of the 40 Berets, eleven will be awarded Silver Star medals. Check out Sgt John Walding's tale of how he handled his injury when his foot was blown away.

Highest marks on the day, though, go to CBS' imaginative triple-header approach to globalized coverage. It started with seasonal fare as John Blackstone in San Francisco saw recession-weary parents starting to cut back on the number of toys they are buying as children's Christmas presents. Switch to southern China, where Celia Hatton went beyond the shuttering of toy factories in the globe's "real Santa's Workshop" to ancillary businesses. Fewer toys means lower demand for cardboard boxes to pack them in. Switch to the midlands of England, where a recycling firm that collects, sorts and bails used newspapers and boxes can no longer sell to China. Richard Roth told us that the price for a ton has fallen from $144 to $22 in the last year. So the fewer toys stuffing San Francisco stockings undercuts English greenery, as waste paper is dumped into landfills instead.


STOCKING STUFFER ABC continued its weeklong seasonal theme--Barbara Pinto's idea for a Yuletide CD on Monday, John Berman's Real Bearded Santa on Tuesday--with Berman's gift suggestion from Scholastic. Instead of seeing reading books and online browsing as competitors for children's attention, the publisher is trying to combine the two. The 39 Clues by Gordon Korman goes a multimedia--an Internet-based videogame that can only be played using clues obtained by reading a companion set of books.


HERE’S GAFFNEY Adrienne Gaffney has joined our happy band of news junkies who "watched last night night's newscasts...so you do not have to." Here are her observations on the same content Tyndall Report just monitored at Vanity Fair magazine's Culture & Celebrity blog.