CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 14, 2008
The shaky state of Bear Stearns, the Wall Street financial firm, was the unanimous choice for Story of the Day. All three networks led off their newscasts with the Federal Reserve Board's emergency line of credit extended to the suddenly illiquid brokerage house. The funds were made available for the next month via Bear Stearns' rival JP Morgan. The Great Depression was the last period that the Fed extended such financing to an investment bank. ABC and NBC again used substitute anchors, as they have all week: Ann Curry in New York for NBC; George Stephanopoulos anchored for ABC from Washington DC, where he hosts This Week on Sunday mornings.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 14, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCWall Street brokerage Bear Stearns nears bankruptcyBailout from Federal Reserve via JP MorganJohn BermanNew York
video thumbnailCBSEconomy expansion slows: recession risks assessedPresident Bush advises against over-reactionJim AxelrodWhite House
video thumbnailNBCTibet independence protests against PRC ruleLhasa street crackdown by Chinese troopsDawna FriesenLondon
video thumbnailNBCIraq: political coalition government under fireAhmad Chalabi makes comeback, cutting red tapeLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignCriticizes his pastor Jermiah Wright's sermonsDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignSupported by childhood friends in JakartaIan WilliamsIndonesia
video thumbnailABC2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton campaignMakes extra effort to line up superdelegatesJake TapperPittsburgh
video thumbnailNBCHomelessness: street people need outreachVolunteer tutors teach Skid Row childrenGeorge LewisLos Angeles
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage appraisal scamsLenders exert pressure to inflate valuesSharyl AttkissonFlorida
video thumbnailABCHome schooling popularity boomsCalifornia to require teaching credentialsLisa FletcherLos Angeles
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
WALL STREET WOBBLES The shaky state of Bear Stearns, the Wall Street financial firm, was the unanimous choice for Story of the Day. All three networks led off their newscasts with the Federal Reserve Board's emergency line of credit extended to the suddenly illiquid brokerage house. The funds were made available for the next month via Bear Stearns' rival JP Morgan. The Great Depression was the last period that the Fed extended such financing to an investment bank. ABC and NBC again used substitute anchors, as they have all week: Ann Curry in New York for NBC; George Stephanopoulos anchored for ABC from Washington DC, where he hosts This Week on Sunday mornings.

ABC covered the Bear Stearns story in the most straightforward style, assigning John Berman to translate financialese--"our liquidity situation has deteriorated"--into ordinary language: "They did not have enough money to pay off their lenders, customers and partners." CBS had anchor Katie Couric handle the story with a combination of her own reporting and an interview with Art Cashin, the director of UBS' operations on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Cashin detected "a sense of urgency, maybe emergency" among market traders. NBC chose a couple of financial reporters from its sibling cable channel CNBC. Carl Quintanilla noted that Bear Stearns "made some of the biggest and costliest bets on subprime housing." If the firm goes broke, Quintanilla imagined that "other banks would likely get nervous, hoard cash, cut back on lending and charge higher interest rates." CNBC's David Faber followed with an explainer for anchor Ann Curry. When dealing with a crisis of confidence such as this "it does not necessarily matter whether it is based on fact or fiction," he shrugged. Investment banks, unlike commercial banks, are highly leveraged, "in other words they have a lot of debt" so are vulnerable to a sudden withdrawal of credit.


ROSE GARDEN’S ROSE GLASSES To put Wall Street's woes in context, President George Bush made a speech on the overall state of the economy. ABC and CBS assigned their White House correspondents to cover what turned out to be a pep talk. "He unveiled no new solutions, asking for time…and prescribing a large dose of positive thinking," was how Jim Axelrod summarized it on CBS. When addressing the rising costs of food and fuel he "offered a little empathy but not much else." On ABC, Martha Raddatz (embargoed link) rattled off rising gasoline prices plus "troublesome job numbers, a worsening housing crisis, the falling dollar and consumer confidence shaken" and quoted a President who "tried to sound confident." The soundbite: "So I am coming to you as an optimistic fellow!"


SURROUNDED OR EMBOLDENED All three networks covered the Tibetan independence protests on the streets of Lhasa. Buddhist monks kicked off the demonstrations four days ago and were followed by ordinary citizens, who were in turn suppressed by Chinese troops. NBC's Dawna Friesen filed from London, ABC's Stephanie Sy (no link) from Hong Kong, CBS' Barry Petersen from Beijing. The situation is as clear as mud. Videotape of the protests is "what China desperately does not want the world to see," claimed Petersen, worrying that "such protests will mar the Beijing Olympics." Friesen saw things "under tight Chinese control--few pictures and only fragments of video footage have emerged...Lhasa is under curfew. Tourists have been warned to stay in their hotels. The city's monasteries are said to be surrounded." Sy, in contrast, insisted that "China could not keep people from using their cellphones and the Internet to get word out…With the world watching Tibetans are emboldened."


SELF-PROMOTION NBC's In Depth feature gave free publicity to one of its own. Investigative correspondent Lisa Myers filed a profile on Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi politician, based on the book The Man Who Rushed America to War whose author is Aram Roston, Myers' own producer. Myers retraced Chalabi's shady dealings with fabricating defectors and leaders of Iran's Revolutionary Guard along with his fall from power in post-Baath Baghdad. "Today Chalabi is back. He is now Iraq's Mr Fixit head of an official government committee for cutting through Iraqi bureaucracy and restoring essential services." Myers offered the photo-ops to prove it: one with Gen David Petraeus; the next with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


NOT SO HAPPY-GO-LUCKY While ABC focused on Hillary Rodham Clinton's efforts to round up superdelegates, NBC and CBS looked at Barack Obama. NBC chose a charming backgrounder on Obama at age six in Jakarta. Ian Williams found Indonesian playmates of the boy then called Barry: "He towered over classmates who remembered him as a happy-go-luck child…playing barefoot in the paddy fields with a real sense of adventure." CBS' Dean Reynolds studied Obama's formal criticism of sermons preached by the Rev Jeremiah Wright, whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama attends, and whose turn of phrase was for the title of Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. Reynolds ran a pair of soundbites whose sentiments Obama has repudiated: first Wright declared that God damns America when it kills innocent people; second he insisted that black people have "to work twice as hard just to get accepted by the rich white folk who run everything." Obama described himself as pained and angered: "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country."

So does Obama believe that the United States has God's blessing when it kills the innocent? And does he think that African-Americans have no need to overachieve to gain social acceptance from the white majority?

As for ABC, Jake Tapper piece on Rodham Clinton's wining and dining of uncommitted superdelegates served as a set-up for a clip from substitute anchor George Stephanopoulos' interview with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on This Week. Pelosi emphasized that key role of the primaries and caucuses: "If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what happened in the elections it would be harmful to the Democratic Party."


HOME STRETCH Housing problems inspired a pair of regular Friday features. On CBS, Sharyl Attkisson's Follow the Money exposed corruption in the supposedly independent real estate appraisal business. Realtors and bankers put appraisers under pressure to inflate the value of property on pain of not being hired: "Some lenders even send out blatant mass e-mails putting appraisers in a bidding war." NBC's Making a Difference looked at the growing population of children on Skid Row in Los Angeles "living out of shelters, automobiles and sometimes the sidewalk," as George Lewis put it. Agnes Stevens, a retired schoolteacher, founded School on Wheels, a program of 400 volunteer tutors, to help homeless children keep up with their schoolwork. ABC chose a different home controversy--home schooling. In California 166,000 home-schooled children may no longer have their parents as teachers. Lisa Fletcher explained that a court ruled that parents must have teaching credentials to continue--and that "can cost upwards of $10,000."


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: voting in Iran's parliamentary elections is under way…Mohammad Rahim, a reputed leader of al-Qaeda, has been apprehended and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay…a Canadian robot installed on the International Space Station is not functioning…a one-year moratorium on earmarked porkbarrel spending was defeated in a Senate vote…obesity has been identified as a risk factor for breast cancer…TV sitcom actor John Ritter's death in 2003 was not the result of medical malpractice.