CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 06, 2008
A superheavy news day saw a pair of massive stories compete for top spot. A lethal line of overnight storms stretching from Mississippi to the Ohio Valley narrowly qualified as Story of the Day. The weather system spawned as many as 50 tornadoes that killed more than 50 people, with Tennessee and Arkansas hardest hit. ABC and NBC led their newscasts from the campus at Union University in Jackson Tenn. CBS led from Arkansas. The Super Tuesday Presidential primaries took second place by mere seconds (both stories totaled 17 minutes of coverage--a combined 60% of the three-network newshole) as John McCain was voted the unassailable frontrunner among Republicans and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton found themselves tied in such a tight deadlock that their race may not be resolved until April.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 06, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCTornado seasonLine of overnight twisters kill more than 50Lester HoltTennessee
video thumbnailABCTornado seasonSmall Arkansas town of Atkins wiped outSteve OsunsamiArkansas
video thumbnailNBCTornado seasonElderly Tenn couple hid in bathtub, survivedRon MottTennessee
video thumbnailCBSTornado seasonTwisters in February are rare in heartlandKelly CobiellaTennessee
video thumbnailNBC2008 Super Tuesday primaryDemocrats Rodham Clinton, Obama fight to drawAndrea MitchellNew York
video thumbnailABC2008 Super Tuesday primaryMcCain wins, has insurmountable delegate leadJake TapperArkansas
video thumbnailABC2008 Presidential primary schedule previewedMajor contests through March, April summarizedGeorge StephanopoulosNew York
video thumbnailCBSSuspected al-Qaeda network leaders manhuntTraining video found in Iraq, features childrenMark StrassmannBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSOrgans may be grown in laboratory for implantRegenerative medicine succeeds with bladdersWyatt AndrewsNorth Carolina
video thumbnailCBSActor Heath Ledger dies, aged 28Cocktail of prescription drugs caused overdoseByron PittsNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
OVERNIGHT TWISTERS EDGE OUT SUPER TUESDAY RESULTS A superheavy news day saw a pair of massive stories compete for top spot. A lethal line of overnight storms stretching from Mississippi to the Ohio Valley narrowly qualified as Story of the Day. The weather system spawned as many as 50 tornadoes that killed more than 50 people, with Tennessee and Arkansas hardest hit. ABC and NBC led their newscasts from the campus at Union University in Jackson Tenn. CBS led from Arkansas. The Super Tuesday Presidential primaries took second place by mere seconds (both stories totaled 17 minutes of coverage--a combined 60% of the three-network newshole) as John McCain was voted the unassailable frontrunner among Republicans and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton found themselves tied in such a tight deadlock that their race may not be resolved until April.

Being such a visual story, it was appropriate that television news should choose the storms' havoc as its lead. There was a spectacular fire when a natural gas pumping station was demolished near Nashville. The dormitories at Union University were flattened. "All night long one funnel cloud after another touched down," ABC's Mike von Fremd (embargoed link) recounted. NBC's Lester Holt called it "the worst one-day onslaught" from tornadoes in ten years. CBS' Nancy Cordes pointed out that "many people knew for days that the conditions were ripe for tornadoes" yet "there were so many of them and they came so quickly they just did not have time to get to shelter."

In Atkins Ark, NBC's Don Teague (part of the Holt videostream) called the storm "so big and black" that residents thought it was "just a cloud--at least they did until it started snapping trees in half." Next morning, said ABC's Steve Osunsami, an unidentified man was found lying dead in an Atkins street and another neighbor was found dead in a tree. NBC's Ron Mott introduced us to Sam and Jackie Matthew, of Jackson Tenn, married 50 years, who lay down together in a bathtub to take shelter from the storm.

NBC anchor Brian Williams had meteorologist Bill Karins of his network's WeatherPlus retrace the satellite picture: "They happened after dark. They are hard to see. They were moving at 50mph to 75mph. That is very little lead time." He pointed to one long-track super cell that was central Tennessee's deadliest in 75 years, stretching 300 miles: "This one storm will be studied for a long time." CBS sent Kelly Cobiella to Tennessee, which she called "tornado country--it is just not tornado time." In an average year, only 59 twisters have touched down by this early in February; in 2008 there have already been more than 200.


MCCAIN DIVIDES CONSERVATIVES AND CONQUERS The major winner on Super Tuesday was John McCain. NBC's David Gregory declared that he "took command of the GOP race"…"he is now so far ahead in the delegate count he is all but unstoppable," his aides bragged to CBS' Chip Reid…ABC's Jake Tapper called him "the unequivocal Republican frontrunner." McCain prevailed with big victories in New York, California and Missouri despite his lack of support from conservatives. NBC's Ann Curry pointed to exit polls that showed "die-hard conservatives," what she called "the core of the Republican Party," voting elsewhere, dividing their support between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. "McCain has a conservative problem," argued ABC's Tapper, because of his history of compromise with Democrats. McCain urged his conservative critics to cool it: "I do hope at some point we would just calm down a little bit."

CBS' Reid called Huckabee "giddy after far exceeding expectations" winning five states. "The bad news--they are all in the South and he did poorly almost everywhere else." Conversely, NBC's Gregory pointed out, "Romney cannot be considered the conservative alternative without winning southern conservative states." ABC's Tapper calculated that Romney has spent $1.2m for each delegate: "Once the frontrunner, Romney's performance has been underwhelming."


THIS IS WHAT A TIE LOOKS LIKE The Democrats produced no winner as Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attracted an equal number of votes (7.3m v 7.3m) and an equal number of delegates (839 v 839 according to the calculations of NBC's Tim Russert). "Both sides are claiming victory out of last night," ABC's Kate Snow (embargoed link) reported hollowly. "This is what a tie looks like," teased CBS' Dean Reynolds, "two candidates basking in a victory each claims." NBC's Andrea Mitchell just called them "visibly exhausted."

The voting did reveal each candidate's strengths and weaknesses, or "potential icebergs," as CBS' Reynolds called them. Rodham Clinton had problems attracting the support of young voters, male voters, African-American voters and better-educated voters. Conversely Obama was no favorite of the elderly, white women, Hispanics and the non-black working class. "But here is the real news," insisted NBC's Ann Curry, quoting exit polls. "The vast majority of Democrats--seven out of ten--said they would be satisfied if either is the nominee."


CHECKING THE CALENDAR What next? The two candidates disagree about future debates. CBS' Dean Reynolds pointed out that of the 18 Democratic debates so far, only one has been one-on-one. Rodham Clinton wants four more; Obama committed to only one, arguing that "debates soak up vital time he could be spending on the ground getting to know people." Obama's fundraising was superior to Rodham Clinton's in January ($32m v $13m). ABC's Kate Snow (embargoed link) reported that she dipped into the $35m fortune that the former First Couple has accumulated since they left the White House, lending $5m to her campaign while "senior staff have volunteered to go without pay."

"The calendar works much better, especially in February, for Obama," stated ABC's George Stephanopoulos, with upcoming contests either in a caucus format (Neb, Wa, Me) or in primary states with sizable African-American populations (La, Va, DC, Md), both of which have favored him so far. By the end of that series, including committed superdelegates, NBC's Tim Russert predicted that the two candidates will have 1347 and 1348 delegates each. That would mean that Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania would be decisive, mused NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "Then she could regain the edge."


BLADDER CONTROL Even on a heavy news day, CBS found time for a feature. Wyatt Andrews launched a series dubbed Growing Miracles on biotechnology advances in so-called regenerative medicine. He showed us Dr Anthony Atala's laboratory at Wake Forest University, which has so far grown 18 different types of body tissue. It uses the ink-spraying mechanism on a laserjet printer to apply layer after layer of cells to build a beating heart. Its bladder manufacture is most advanced. Laboratory-grown organs are already being used for transplant. Andrews offered free publicity to Tengion, the biotech firm that has licensed the process and has built a bladder factory. He offered a glimpse of a healthcare future of "highly personal mail order medicine where, in order to cure your disease, your physician will order a replacement organ or body part, which will be custom made for you using your own cells." Tengion expects regenerative medicine to boom in this decade as rapidly as the semiconductor industry did in the 1980s.


ELSEWHERE… From Baghdad, CBS' Mark Strassmann showed us videotapes, apparently produced by al-Qaeda, that depict guerrilla wargames for masked children, some boys as young as ten years old, including kidnapping and home raids. A source for one of the videos Strassmann played was Young News Channel at theYNC.com, which specializes in pornography and snuff videos…in New York City, the autopsy of actor Heath Ledger revealed that he died of a "cocktail of painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications," according to CBS' Byron Pitts…Pitts' former colleague Sharyn Alfonsi (embargoed link) filed her first report for ABC, her new network, as a follow-up to the Ledger story. She revealed how easy it is to obtain such prescription medication online from "click and point drug dealers." Alfonsi offered the statistic that overdoses from prescription medication kill more people each year than heroin and cocaine combined.


MENTIONED IN PASSING The network newscasts do not assign correspondents to all of the news of the day. If Tyndall Report readers come across videostreamed reports online of stories that were mentioned only in passing, post the link in comments for us to check out.

Today was such a heavy news day that there was no time for any other stories to be mentioned in passing.