CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 07, 2008
The monthly unemployment statistic issued by the federal Department of Labor was Story of the Day as all three newscasts led with the gloomy state of the job market. The number of jobs nationwide is declining for the first time since 2003. There are 7.4m Americans looking for work and a further 450,00 jobless have had such a discouraging time that they left the labor force altogether in February. The prospects for the economy are so poor that selling continues on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now worth less than it was almost 18 months ago.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 07, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCUnemployment: 4.8% jobless rate in FebruaryShrinking labor force is sure sign of recessionBetsy StarkNew York
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseHouse hearings into abuses by lending executivesChip ReidWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSPharmaceuticals industry marketing abusesWhistleblower nails Merck for illegal discountsSharyl AttkissonWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCCollege tuition costs escalateScholarships for straight As from middle classRehema EllisVirginia
video thumbnailABCSpinal cord chordoma cancer coverageStudent spearheads research, is patient himselfJohn McKenzieNorth Carolina
video thumbnailCBSUniversity of North Carolina student president slainFound shot dead in street in early morning hoursMichelle MillerNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignAide insults Rodham Clinton, undercuts messageAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailABCJordan education: prep school for elite childrenFounded by prep school alumnus King AbdullahTerry McCarthyJordan
video thumbnailNBCWired education: computers installed in schoolsArkansas dirt road school bus ride goes onlineRon MottArkansas
video thumbnailCBSHS wrestling: Ohio quadruple amputee competesWins standing ovation at state championshipsSteve HartmanOhio
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
LABOR PAINS The monthly unemployment statistic issued by the federal Department of Labor was Story of the Day as all three newscasts led with the gloomy state of the job market. The number of jobs nationwide is declining for the first time since 2003. There are 7.4m Americans looking for work and a further 450,00 jobless have had such a discouraging time that they left the labor force altogether in February. The prospects for the economy are so poor that selling continues on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now worth less than it was almost 18 months ago.

"It is no longer: 'Will there be a recession?'" ABC's Betsy Stark reflected after reviewing the data, "but: 'How long and how deep?'" When President George Bush reacted by reassuring us that his fiscal stimulus plan is about to kick in, CBS' Anthony Mason cited fears that the stimulus might create a W-shaped slump, "the economy dipping into recession, bouncing back behind the tax rebates, but sliding again after those checks are spent, before we have a real recovery." Unusually, NBC assigned its own correspondent, Chicago-based Kevin Tibbles, to cover the jobs story: for economic news NBC normally relies on reporters from CNBC, its sibling financial news cable channel. Tibbles ticked off weak hiring in manufacturing and construction and retailing before finding "one of the few bright lights." Healthcare continues to hire.


COLLEGE FUND On Capitol Hill, a House committee held hearings into the bursting of the housing market bubble. Executives from Merrill Lynch and Citigroup and Countrywide Financial were called to testify, Stanley O'Neal and Charles Prince and Angelo Mozilo--"CEOs who made millions while their companies lost billions and thousands of families who borrowed from them lost their homes," as CBS' Chip Reid put it. On ABC, Dan Harris (embargoed link) foused on Countrywide's Mozilo. "He became something of a hero for promoting low income and minority home ownership" before the sub-prime bust, Harris recalled. Mozilo is now under investigation for selling Countrywide stock worth $400m before its price tanked. "Mozilo has vigorously denied reckless lending," Harris reported. His explanation for selling so much stock was that he had to pay for the education of his nine grandchildren.


COLLEGE ROUND-UP All three networks turned to academe. CBS had Michelle Miller report on the mysterious death of the president of the student body of the University of North Carolina. The body of Eve Marie Carson, aged 22, was found in the middle of a Chapel Hill street, killed by bullets, at five o'clock in the morning…ABC chose Duke University engineering student Josh Sommer as its Person of the Week. Sommer has been given seven years to live after a diagnosis with chordoma, a cancer of the spinal cord. His response was to start the Chordoma Foundation to find a cure. With anchor Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos substituting, ABC had reporter John McKenzie profile its Person. He told us that Sommer now works 30 hours a week in Duke's biotech labs studying chordoma genetics…"Congress has started pressuring colleges with huge tax-free endowments to put more of that money into financial aid," reported NBC's Rehema Ellis. That pressure may or may not have been the factor that prompted the Ivy League to act. Either way, straight-A students from households with annual incomes that are less $100,000 no longer have to pay any tuition at Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell and Brown--as well as non-Ivy Stanford.


KICKBACK HAS HUMAN FACE Last month ABC was the only network to cover the $670m fine levied against Big Pharma's Merck for kickbacks it paid to hospitals to prescribe its brands. Pierre Thomas filed the report. Now, on CBS' Follow the Money feature, Sharyl Attkisson gives that story a human face, introducing us to Dr William LaCorte, a New Orleans physician who blew the whistle on Merck and the city's Memorial Hospital. When LaCorte prescribed Zantac to his patients as an acid blocker, he was puzzled that the hospital should dispense Merck's rival brand Pepcid instead. The hospital called it "therapeutic interchange." It turned out to be a kickback. Merck sold the drug to the hospital at a discount on condition that Pepcid had an 80% market share. Yet the discount was not passed on to the feds. For Medicare and Medicaid, "Pepcid cost twice as much as Zantac."


MEN’S VOGUE & THE SCOTSMAN CBS only mentioned Samantha Power in passing while NBC and ABC both assigned a reporter to the 38-year-old Harvard University professor, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Men's Vogue photo spread poser, foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama and source for The Scotsman. She views Hillary Rodham Clinton as "a monster who would stop at nothing to win." NBC's Andrea Mitchell outlined one reason why Power was forced to quit her role with Obama after the monstrous quote surfaced: "It was clear that an apology for her remarks would not be enough in a campaign that claims to be different from politics as usual." ABC's David Wright (embargoed link) pointed to an interview that Power gave to the BBC in which she undercut Obama's pledge to start pulling out troops from Iraq immediately he assumed office: "You cannot make a commitment in whatever month we are in now, in March 2008, about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009." Wright drew a parallel with Obama's economic advisor Austin Goolsbee of the University of Chicago, who "in the heat of the Ohio primary appeared to undercut Obama's tough stand on NAFTA" by talking to Canada through back channels.

ABC's Wright also played a soundbite of Obama's sarcastic response to Rodham Clinton's 3am telephone spot: "What do people think I am going to do? I am going to answer the phone and I will find out what is going on!"


STRAIGHT TALK WITH FORKED TONGUE Only NBC reported from John McCain's campaign. Kelly O'Donnell showed the Republican react as he was reminded that his name had been bandied about as a running mate for John Kerry on the Democratic ticket in 2004. At the time, O'Donnell reminded us, The New York Times quoted McCain's response to the question about whether the ticket was ever been discussed between the two, even informally: "No, we really have not." Now what does McCain say? "Everybody knows that I had a conversation." "Can you describe the conversation?" "No of course not. I do not describe private conversations."


BOOK TOUR NBC anchor Brian Williams had his Tel Aviv correspondent Martin Fletcher in the studio for a briefing. Fletcher is in the United States on a book tour for his reporter's memoir Breaking News. He contrasted Israel with Palestinian Gaza. "The Israeli economy has been flourishing" while "the Gaza Strip is under sanctions now, very tough sanctions, by Israel and there is suffering down there." The 120 Palestinians killed by the Israel Defense Force in Gaza was "the worst loss of life in one day in 25 years." Israel, Fletcher predicted, will "certainly" blame Hamas for the shooting at a Jerusalem yeshiva that left eight dead even though "Hamas did not claim responsibility for this attack."

The day's other report on the Middle East came from ABC's Terry McCarthy who profiled the King's Academy prep school founded by King Abdullah of Jordan to replicate his own boarding school education as a boy at Deerfield Academy in New England. CBS' Mark Phillips showed us the same school just over a year ago.


CLOSERS CBS and NBC chose school life for their closers. NBC's Making a Difference had Ron Mott walk the dirt roads of rural Arkansas. The school bus route is so long near Grapevine that students have to travel an hour each way each day. The bus has now been wired so that "Web-based accelerated math and science classes and hi-tech podcasts" can be studied en route…CBS' Assignment America showed us clips from Ohio's high school wrestling state championships. Steve Hartman introduced us to a Hillsborough High School wrestler who was eliminated in the round of 16 to a standing ovation after he "set his torso into the ring." Dustin Carter has no arms and no legs.


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's examples: diplomacy succeeded in defusing the border tension between Colombia and Venezuela…fire destroyed a lumber mill outside Charlotte NC…disgraced Olympic sprinter Marion Jones has begun serving her prison sentence…letters sent to Capitol Hill by an anti-war activist celebrating the vandalism against a military recruiting office in New York City's Times Square were unrelated to the bicyclist who caused the actual explosion…the Federal Aviation Administration blamed some of its own bureaucrats for permitting Southwest Airlines to fly uninspected Boeing 737s…Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend, three weeks earlier than usual.