As usual on a Campaign 2008 primary Tuesday, all three networks led off their east coast newscasts with previews while the polls were still open. So the Democrats' contest in Pennsylvania was Story of the Day but none of those previews was posted online, superseded by the time the news hour arrived on the west coast by projections of Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory over Barack Obama. So Tyndall Report offers a flavor of that broadcast content without the videostreams to link to.    
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video thumbnailCBS2008 Pennsylvania primaryPundits love to speculate on margin of victoryJeff GreenfieldNew York
video thumbnailNBCSupermarket, grocery, food prices escalateUnited Nations warns of hidden global tsunamiCarl QuintanillaNew York
video thumbnailCBSOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesSpeculators push crude close to $120 per barrelAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailNBCRussia space program: Soyuz module problemsAlmost failed on reentry, crashed in KazahstanTom CostelloWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSViolent crime rate increases: urban homicidesChicago suffers 24 child murders in school yearCynthia BowersChicago
video thumbnailABCWar on Drugs: Mexico narcotics gang warsFirearms bought north of border fuel violenceBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailCBSMormon fundamentalist sect practices polygamyCustody case children bused to foster careRandall PinkstonTexas
video thumbnailNBCLongevity research and life expectancy statisticsImprovement stalls among southern womenNancy SnydermanBoston
video thumbnailCBSAutomobile fuel efficiency standards, techniquesSome employers subsidize hybrid car purchasesJohn BlackstoneCalifornia
video thumbnailNBCPresident Bush has ranch residence in TexasArchitecture uses efficient geothermal energyAnn CurryTexas
CHEESE STEAK POLLWATCHERS As usual on a Campaign 2008 primary Tuesday, all three networks led off their east coast newscasts with previews while the polls were still open. So the Democrats' contest in Pennsylvania was Story of the Day but none of those previews was posted online, superseded by the time the news hour arrived on the west coast by projections of Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory over Barack Obama. So Tyndall Report offers a flavor of that broadcast content without the videostreams to link to.

What can a correspondent cover on Election Day while the polls are still open? NBC's Andrea Mitchell (no link) called it "the last battle of the cheese steak photo opportunities"…CBS' Jim Axelrod (no link) documented Rodham Clinton's order: "The specialty cheese steak but without a lot of sauce"…ABC's Jake Tapper (no link) saw the candidates "pressing flesh, eating cheese steaks and playing the expectations game." Tapper seemed relieved: "For the first time in a month and a half, the contest is not in the hands of the candidates, the party, the activists--or even the media. It is finally in the hands of the voters."

As for that expectations game, CBS' Dean Reynolds (no link) noted that Obama "has made up a lot of ground" since the polls showed him trailing in Pennsylvania by 20%. NBC's Mitchell observed that Obama could afford a loss whereas for Rodham Clinton "behind in money, behind in votes, the stakes are a lot higher." ABC's Tapper contrasted Rodham Clinton's "demographic advantages" in an elderly, working class state with Obama's well-funded frontrunner status. CBS' Axelrod refused to handicap the contest, talking vaguely about her needing "a big win" in order to "sow seeds of doubt" about Obama. So his colleague Jeff Greenfield asked CBS' in-house political analyst Joe Trippi to get specific about how big a margin she needs: "She wins by double digits, it is a huge win. If she wins by three, it is a huge loss."

In a sign that Obama knew he could not win Pennsylvania, his campaign had already moved on to Indiana, which votes in the first week of May. CBS' Reynolds and NBC's Lee Cowan (no link) both filed from Evansville, where the "luck of geography" may be on his side, Cowan suggested. Obama has a record of winning states that border on his Illinois base.

SUNDAY GLEANERS All three networks had their Sunday morning anchors glean for tidbits in the exit polls. Bob Schieffer of CBS' Face the Nation focused on the suggestion that as many as a quarter of Hillary Rodham Clinton's supporters said they would prefer John McCain to Barack Obama in a November match-up. Tim Russert (no link) of NBC's Meet the Press noted that fully two-thirds of voters saw Rodham Clinton conduct an unfair and negative campaign whereas only half accused Obama of the same. On ABC, George Stephanopoulos of This Week combined that negative campaigning statistic with evidence that most minds were made up "a pretty long time ago" to speculate about "fatigue among Democrats." Yet notions of disillusion were contradicted by a "big, big turnout" at the polls. ABC's Jake Tapper (no link) called it "an excellent contest" for the Democratic Party in the state, with 150,000 newly registered voters and another 160,000 switching from the Republican line in order to participate.

FOOD & ENERGY "The cost of buying basics in America has just entered the record books," announced ABC's Betsy Stark (embargoed link) as all three networks looked at the rising price of food and fuel. CBS' Anthony Mason chose oil prices, with a barrel of crude now costing $119 and Winnebago scaling back production of recreational vehicles because high gasoline prices have damaged demand. Mason conceded that oil consumption in China, India, Russia and the Middle East is growing yet insisted that commodities speculation is also driving up prices. When the crude bubble bursts, energy analyst Phil Flynn told him, a gallon of gasoline will be 80c cheaper.

ABC's Stark pointed out that the stock market is "flagging" and the real estate market has "cratered" so pension managers and investment funds have "flocked to commodities" instead: corn costs 69% more than a year ago, wheat 72%, soybean 90%. NBC kicked off a series Against the Grain on the high global price of food. Carl Quintanilla of NBC's sibling financial news cable channel CNBC acknowledged that commodity speculation was a factor--but he added failed harvests, the diversion of farmland to the likes of ethanol and the high cost of shipping. The upshot is that the UN's World Food Program now has to feed 100m more people worldwide than six months ago. The WFP calls it "a silent tsunami of hunger."

KAZAKH CRASH NBC assigned a reporter to cover the weekend's near-disaster in Kazakhstan and even then it did not send Tom Costello to the steppe but had him narrate footage from his base in Washington. The drama concerned Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. It crash landed 300 miles off course, starting a brush fire upon impact after "falling far steeper and faster than it was supposed to, possibly exposing the crew to a crushing 10Gs, twice what is normal." Soyuz was returning from the International Space Station when it failed to rotate so it would hit the atmosphere heat shield first: "It is the second time in six months that Soyuz has failed to separate on reentry." Costello pointed out that NASA's Space Shuttle will be grounded in 2010 and thereafter the suddenly sketchy Soyuz will be the sole ferry for the Space Station.

CHICAGO'S KIDS, MEXICO'S COPS NBC's Kevin Tibbles covered the gun violence in Chicago Monday. CBS' Cynthia Bowers now joins in as the city's Chicago Sun-Times launched a mirror-image-type campaign urging readers not to turn their backs on the crisis. Bowers calculated that a child in Chicago is murdered on average once every eight days, "what amounts to a classroom of kids killed since September." She noted that the city already has a ban on handguns: "Many say it is not just about guns. It is more about poverty, lack of education and absentee parents who have lost control of their children."

For ABC's Investigates feature, Brian Ross examined yet more carnage. Narcotrafficking gangs have killed 2,000 policemen and law enforcement officers in Mexico in just the last year. Ross reported that Mexican authorities claim that 95% of their firepower--handguns, assault weapons, machine guns--is purchased in the United States, "millions of dollars worth," and then smuggled south of the border. Ross talked to his sources at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms: "Getting the guns across the border is easy. Most of the US attention is focused on who and what is going in--not going out."

SCATTERED ACROSS TEXAS All three networks ran pictures of buses shipping the children of the Yearning for Zion ranch out of San Angelo for foster homes around Texas. ABC's Mike von Fremd (embargoed link) ticked off Amarillo and Houston and Abilene and Austin as their destinations. NBC's Don Teague explained that the children and teenagers include "underage mothers and girls who are pregnant" which may explain the increase in their number from 416. CBS' Randall Pinkston counted 437 involved in the mass custody case. ABC's von Fremd added that the DNA samples that were taken to establish which parents belong with which children may also be used against some fundamentalist Mormon fathers: "The court has the right to use the test results to prosecute any man who has impregnated an underage female."

STAGNANT SOUTHERNERS NBC's in-house physician Nancy Snyderman celebrated the public health advances of "better nutrition, vaccinations and antibiotics" that have, until now, "allowed each generation to live longer than the one before." Since 1960, for example, the life expectancy of American men has grown by seven years and by six years for women. Now, Snyderman warned, there are signs that those data are "stagnant, even declining." The first danger signals have been found among southern women "likely the result of smoking, high blood pressure and obesity."

HAPPY EARTH DAY The 38th celebration of our planetary environment saw ABC go green for A Closer Look, CBS go green for Energy Savers and NBC go green for Greening of the Earth. NBC had Ann Curry visit with First Lady Laura Bush at her Texas ranch where the house is built on eco-friendly sustainable principles and Curry, frankly, seemed more interested in First Daughter Jenna's looming western White House wedding. CBS' John Blackstone ticked off those companies that subsidize their workers to be fuel efficient with hybrids or biodiesel, carpooling or bicycles. ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi (embargoed link) listed the ways individuals could change their lifestyle to be more conservationist: "Consider a move to the city," she invited viewers. "Believe it or not, per person, the Big Apple is actually green: sprawl is not an option; parking is impossible; we build up; and do a lot of walking."

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: the NAFTA Summit in New Orleans concluded…the head of mental health at the Veterans Administration was urged to resign over the high rate of attempted suicide among patients…four strange red lights over Phoenix are, as yet, unidentified flying objects.