CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MAY 16, 2008
After a focus on that earthquake in China all this week and on that cyclone in Myanmar for most of last week, President George Bush managed to reset the news agenda towards US foreign policy. NBC led Thursday with the President's diplomacy in Israel, when he denounced negotiations with "the terrorists and radicals" as tantamount to appeasement. Friday, ABC and NBC followed up with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the next stop on Bush's regional tour. CBS selected the response by Presidential candidate Barack Obama to Bush's Knesset speech: "The American people have had enough of the division and the bluster. Both Bush and McCain represent the failed foreign policy and fearmongering of the past." Obama's speech--and the retort it provoked from Republican John McCain--was the Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MAY 16, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBS2008 Barack Obama campaignDenounces fearmongering over diplomacy with IranDean ReynoldsChicago
video thumbnailNBCSaudi Arabia-US diplomacy: President Bush to RiyadhSeeks increase in crude production, rejectedJohn YangSaudi Arabia
video thumbnailNBCSichuan Province earthquake in China: Richter 7.9Schools in Hangwang were especially vulnerableIan WilliamsChina
video thumbnailNBCCollege scholarships for veterans paid by GI billAnnual $4bn funding will restore WWII levelsMike TaibbiWashington DC
video thumbnailABCBreast cancer coverageTumors spread for Vitamin D deficient patientsJohn McKenzieNew York
video thumbnailCBSNFL Patriots cheated by stealing opponents' signalsCoach Bill Belichek justifies his videotapingArmen KeteyianMassachusetts
video thumbnailABCBeijing Summer Olympic Games previewedLikely USA weightlifter raises autistic sonCharles GibsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSDepartment of Agriculture runs convention junketsBureaucrats' conferences at vacation resortsSharyl AttkissonWashington DC
video thumbnailABCPhilanthropy and charitable donation trendsHelp for food banks, Third World developmentSteve OsunsamiAtlanta
video thumbnailCBSHigh school senior prom seasonStudents invite senior citizens to their danceSteve HartmanMissouri
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
ARGUING ABOUT IRAN BUT NOT HAMAS After a focus on that earthquake in China all this week and on that cyclone in Myanmar for most of last week, President George Bush managed to reset the news agenda towards US foreign policy. NBC led Thursday with the President's diplomacy in Israel, when he denounced negotiations with "the terrorists and radicals" as tantamount to appeasement. Friday, ABC and NBC followed up with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the next stop on Bush's regional tour. CBS selected the response by Presidential candidate Barack Obama to Bush's Knesset speech: "The American people have had enough of the division and the bluster. Both Bush and McCain represent the failed foreign policy and fearmongering of the past." Obama's speech--and the retort it provoked from Republican John McCain--was the Story of the Day.

Obama's speech "was one of the most pugnacious" Obama has given, CBS' Dean Reynolds reckoned. The candidate argued that the President, whose policies he paired with those of McCain, was "without answers for the Iraq War or the resurgence of Iran and the terrorist groups al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah." NBC's Lee Cowan saw Obama try to shift the debate away from his declared intention to initiate talks with Teheran to McCain and Hamas. Cowan quoted Obama thus: "McCain has repeated this notion that I am prepared to negotiate with terrorists. I have never said that. I have been adamant about not negotiating with Hamas."

To complicate things, video from Sky News from 2006 appeared in which McCain appeared, himself, to envision negotiations with Hamas. ABC's David Wright (embargoed link) played the soundbite--"They are the government and sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them in one way or another"--before explaining that the "sooner or later" referred to Hamas' renunciation of violence and recognition of the state of Israel. When it comes to "this narrow issue" of US diplomacy with Hamas, ABC's Wright concluded, "all three men," referring to Bush and Obama and McCain, "have the same position." So that leaves a genuine disagreement just about Iran.


BUSH DRILLS DRY WELL IN RIYADH All three networks had their traveling White House correspondents file from Riyadh as President George Bush requested that Saudi Arabia increase its production of crude oil. The Saudis responded with a daily hike of 0.3m barrels, an amount that energy analysts told NBC's John Yang was "a drop in the bucket." Yang called the response "a qualified no." CBS' Bill Plante said Bush was "turned down…the second time that has happened in five months." ABC's Martha Raddatz (embargoed link) was most cutting, calling it "a bit of a slap in the face" before resurrecting then-candidate George Bush's boast during Campaign 2000: "The President of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price."

Back in 2000, ABC's Raddatz remarked dryly, a barrel of crude oil cost $27; now it is nearly $127. "The problem for the United States is that it has lost its leverage and the Saudis, who are reaping billions of dollars a day, have little incentive to change." NBC's Yang reported on the Saudi view of the oil market: Riyadh argues that the United States does not have enough refineries to turn additional crude oil into gasoline even if it were pumped; furthermore the high price of oil is caused by a mixture of four factors--the weakness of the dollar, commodity speculation, political instability in the region and, just this week, a spike in demand for diesel from China for earthquake relief.

CBS rounded out its weeklong morning-and-evening Eye on the Road series in which Evening News correspondent Nancy Cordes drove west from New York City while Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor drove east from San Francisco, each filing features on gasoline sticker shock and energy belt tightening en route. They met in Independence Mo and compared fuel bills: gasoline for Glor's Toyota Prius hybrid cost 10c per mile; Cordes' Ford Fusion was 16c; and each mile in the cameraman's Sports Utility Vehicle consumed 30c of fuel.


HANWANG AND BEICHUAN In the earthquake zone of Sichuan Province, NBC's Ian Williams and CBS' Celia Hatton filed from Hanwang. "It is death on such a vast scale that in this central Chinese town everyone is wearing face masks to cope with the stench of corpses." NBC's Williams found "growing anger at the state of school buildings." The government already estimates that 6,900 separate classrooms were wiped out by the tremors "and that figure does not even include the hardest hit areas." Those may include Beichuan. ABC's Stephanie Sy described entering the "once picturesque valley home of 160,000." As she descended "an endless column of people snakes up a steep muddy pass lined with precariously perched boulders." Upon entering the old city, she exclaimed: "This is pretty much some of the worst destruction that we have seen so far, completely catastrophic.


COLLEGE BOUND NBC publicized the GI Bill that Thalia Assuras covered for CBS last month now that it is heading for the Senate. Mike Taibbi explained that its $4bn annually would fully fund a college education for any veteran of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, an equivalent level of scholarship support that veterans received after World War II. Sen James Webb (D-VA) reckons that his bill is just two votes short of the filibusterproof 60 it needs. Yet even then it might not win George Bush's approval. The veto-minded President argues "it will encourage short term enlistments just for the benefits instead of military careers."


HERE COMES THE SUN NBC and ABC selected opposite angles in covering a study on Vitamin D and breast cancer. ABC's John McKenzie looked at the research from the point of view of the breast cancer patient: those who happen to have insufficient Vitamin D in their blood stream are more likely to see their cancer fatally spread. NBC's Robert Bazell looked at it from the point of view of daylight. "A reasonable amount of sun exposure, ten or 15 minutes at a time," may boost our vitamins without risking skin cancer from those ultra-violet rays. Bazell, who also covered the benefits of sunlight in January and last summer, suggested that those Ds may not only keep cancer at bay but may protect against multiple sclerosis too.


SPORTS TALK Armen Keteyian claimed an Exclusive for his sitdown with Bill Belichek, coach of the NFL's New England Patriots, about his team's systematic videotaping of the coaching signals used by opposing teams. Matt Walsh, a cameraman the Patriots fired after the 2001 season, claimed that it was a "deliberate illicit scheme" by Belichek in order to cheat. Belichek responded that the videotaping was open and above board from 2000 until 2005 and, if it did break the rules during those seasons, it was an honest misinterpretation. So why did he continue in 2006 after the league clarified any ambiguity in its ban? "I made a mistake. I was wrong. I was wrong."

Beijing-bound Melanie Roach was ABC's Person of the Week on the eve of the Olympic trials of the USOC's women's weightlifting team. Roach, 5'1" tall, weighing in at 117 lbs, claims a clean and jerk of 238 lbs in the gym. She told anchor Charles Gibson that she was "able to go into the weight room and literally live in the moment" only after she had learned to accept the fact that her five-year-old son was autistic. While she was still looking for a cure she had been too depressed to train properly.


IF IT IS FRIDAY, THERE MUST BE FEATURES… For CBS' Follow the Money feature, Sharyl Attkisson profiled an investigation headed by Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) into the "popular resorts and exotic locations" selected for conferences and conventions by the Department of Agriculture for its bureaucrats. We grant Coburn that a surf resort in Australia and a pollution study of the Virgin Islands and the Hilton Hotel in Honolulu sound like sweet junkets--but it seems a stretch to get exercised about being sent to Las Vegas or Disneyworld. Coburn's solution, in the latest federal farm bill, is some sunshine about all that sunshine: it "requires USDA to post on the Web all the conferences it attends and sponsors."

NBC's In Depth had Janet Shamlian tell us about the latest shopping trend. Twice New, Second Childhood and Fashion Recycler are among the stores that are growing the fastest, "the new darlings of retail." Call them second-hand stores or thrift stores or resale stores, they are selling "what you might call pre-selected" clothing and furniture at a quarter of the original price and so many more people are looking to raise money from consignments that their selection is improving even as prices stay low.

ABC's The Power of 2 series concluded with Steve Osunsami's advice on easy daily charitable giving. For our local food bank, he suggested buying just a single extra item each time we visit the supermarket. A box with a 30 extra cans can feed a hungry person for a week. As for the poor of the Third World, Osunsami followed that saw about not donating fish, but teaching someone how to fish. He recommended CARE's farming program that provides seed plus training and Heifer International, which pays for cows, chickens and goats, to be a source of milk and eggs.

Steve Hartman for CBS' Assignment America went to Washington Mo to check its high school's senior prom. It really is a senior prom, since the graduating teenagers invite local retirees to boogie on down with them until curfew at 9:30. Hartman could not resist teasing Couric, his AARP-qualified anchor: "Anyone fifty or older is eligible to go to the senior prom. So, Katie, if next year you are not doing anything, you might want to go and check it out."


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 60th anniversary of the foundation of the state of Israel was marked by an anti-Zionist videotape from the fugitive radical Islamist Osama bin Laden…renewed rainfall in the Irrawaddy Delta may provide much-needed drinking water to Burmese survivors of Cyclone Nargis…residential real estate construction is picking up, mostly apartments rather than new homes…the workplace office cubicle, immortalized by Dilbert, was invented 40 years ago…Napa Valley winemaker Robert Mondavi died, aged 94…Oscar Pistorius, the legless South African sprinter who runs on blades, is eligible compete in track-&-field at the Beijing Olympics.