CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MAY 22, 2008
For all the coverage given to the adherents of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on the Yearning For Zion ranch outside of San Angelo Tex over the last seven weeks, this was only the second time that they have qualified as Story of the Day. The first time was in the first week of April when Texas child welfare authorities raided the ranch and took every single child and minor teenager living there into custody. This second time was inspired by a Texas appeals court ruling that the raid and the seizure were illegal. Welfare authorities had no evidence of "immediate or urgent danger to physical health or safety of the children." ABC and CBS led with the decision. NBC chose severe weather in Colorado because KUSA, its affiliate in Denver, had snared some dynamic images of a rampaging tornado.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MAY 22, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCMormon fundamentalist sect practices polygamyTexas welfare raid overturned by appeals courtDon TeagueTexas
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignChallenged on veterans, preacher, gays, healthKelly O'DonnellCalifornia
video thumbnailCBSIraq: US-led invasion forces' combat continuesPresident Bush honors 82nd Airborne heroesDavid MartinNorth Carolina
video thumbnailABCCyclone Nargis hits coastal MyanmarUN Secretary General shown sanitized conditionsDan HarrisMyanmar
video thumbnailNBCTornado seasonHuge twister plows through Colo town of WindsorLeanne GreggColorado
video thumbnailCBSOil, natural gas, gasoline pricesGlobal crude shortage expected in five yearsNancy CordesWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSAerospace composite materials supply problemsFirm faces substandard product kickback probeArmen KeteyianCalifornia
video thumbnailNBCWar on Drugs: Mexico narcotics gang warsViolence may spill across border from PalomasMark PotterNew Mexico
video thumbnailCBSWar on Cancer research effortsNCI sponsors nanotechnology medicine researchEmily SenayNew York
video thumbnailABCMilitary personnel face family, personal problemsCamp COPE counsels children of war casualtiesBob WoodruffTexas
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FUNDAMENTALIST MORMON PARENTS VINDICATED For all the coverage given to the adherents of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on the Yearning For Zion ranch outside of San Angelo Tex over the last seven weeks, this was only the second time that they have qualified as Story of the Day. The first time was in the first week of April when Texas child welfare authorities raided the ranch and took every single child and minor teenager living there into custody. This second time was inspired by a Texas appeals court ruling that the raid and the seizure were illegal. Welfare authorities had no evidence of "immediate or urgent danger to physical health or safety of the children." ABC and CBS led with the decision. NBC chose severe weather in Colorado because KUSA, its affiliate in Denver, had snared some dynamic images of a rampaging tornado.

That removal of all the children and young teenagers, CBS' Hari Sreenivasan reminded us, was based on the state's insistence that the 1,700 acre ranch "was all one household--if one child was in danger they all were." The appeals court disagreed. ABC's Kate Snow (embargoed link) added that the sect's belief in polygamous marriages involving post-pubescent teenagers was no evidence of danger to "any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty." NBC's Don Teague noted that even the allegation of a widespread pattern of underage marriage "eroded this week" when the welfare authority conceded that "at least 15 of 31 mothers it said were children are actually adults." CBS anchor Katie Couric interviewed Guy Choate, the lawyer from the Texas State Bar who coordinates representation of the children's interests. Couric asked what evidence his court guardians had found of child abuse: "That relating to sex, and spiritual marriage, with girls as young as 14, 15," was his reply. He made no mention of abuse of boys or of preteen girls.

NBC's justice correspondent Pete Williams called the ruling "a total legal smackdown…a harsh rebuke" of the state authorities with "not a word of sympathy in this ruling for what the child welfare department said it was up against." CBS' in-house legal analyst Andrew Cohen (part of the Sreenivasan videostream) noted that it was also "an indictment of the trial court judge who, the appellate judges said, got the facts and the law wrong." However there are no family reunions in the immediate offing. The children are "scattered across the state of Texas in foster care facilities," NBC's Teague pointed out. If that state decides to appeal the case to Texas' Supreme Court, "the children would remain where they are right now," ABC's Snow warned, and even if no appeal is lodged, they will not go home for a couple of weeks. Maybe the happy homecoming will mark a third Story of the Day to round out the narrative.


MCCAIN MAKES RARE NEWS A rarity in this Democratic-dominated primary season, Republican John McCain led the day's campaign coverage with attention from a reporter on all three networks. ABC anchor Charles Gibson looked forward to Friday's release of McCain's medical records, "giving a few reporters a limited look" and asked in-house physician Timothy Johnson (embargoed link) to survey potential problems with his melanoma, his Vietnam War injuries and his seventysomething age. Johnson gave us the statistics: he has a 30% chance of his skin cancer recurring over the next two years; he has a 16 year life expectancy; he has a 30% chance of developing memory loss or even dementia. After being held prisoner of war in Hanoi "he was carefully assessed by Navy psychiatrists for many years after his release. They found no evidence of any serious problems and he strongly denies any symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder."

CBS had Chip Reid cover McCain's relationship with televangelist John Hagee, who "has been a thorn in John McCain's side for months now. Today McCain finally said enough." The last straw was a ten-year-old sermon in which Hagee preached that Adolf Hitler had been a divine instrument in the foundation of the state of Israel, since the Nazi Holocaust was God's plan to drive European Jews to the Promised Land. McCain found that idea "offensive and indefensible" and disavowed Hagee's endorsement. CBS' anchor Katie Couric had another interpretation--namely that Hagee was making "derogatory comments about Jews"--that seems wide of the mark. If anybody comes off looking bad it is not Jews but God. Hagee seems to be accusing the Almighty of complicity in the Final Solution.

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell focused on McCain's opposition to the GI Bill, which increases federal college scholarships for military veterans. McCain opposes the increased benefits, O'Donnell explained, arguing that "it would encourage too many officers to leave military service when retaining mid-level leaders is urgently needed." Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama made a speech on the Senate floor saying he "cannot understand" McCain's opposition to the measure. "McCain, a decorated former PoW, typically does not raise an opponent's lack of military service," O'Donnell observed, yet in this case he commented that Obama "did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform" and so will not be lectured by him on veterans issues.

What is all that about? O'Donnell asked McCain's aides why he resorted to such unwonted sniping. "McCain took personal offense claiming Obama had impugned McCain's motive for opposing the bill," came the reply. Come on O'Donnell, what about a follow up? What motive had Obama alleged? Did that allegation indeed impugn McCain's honor? It is really not good enough for O'Donnell to cite anonymous aides alleging unidentified dishonorable slurs to justify ad hominem insults. Without explanation or elaboration, this does not qualify as journalism--it is no more than backbiting recycled.

NBC's O'Donnell rounded out her McCain coverage with a couple of other tidbits. She quoted his exchange on daytime TV's Ellen when he wished "every happiness" to the soon-to-be-married lesbian DeGeneres even as he disagreed with her right to get married. "Thank you. So you will walk me down the aisle?" DeGeneres smiled, taking that word "every" a little too literally. O'Donnell also previewed the candidate's vetting of a trio on his Vice Presidential shortlist this weekend: "His aides hope the speculation about VP will overshadow tomorrow's release of McCain's medical records," she sniped.


SNIPER FIRE None of the three newscasts sent a correspondent to a Senate committee where Gen David Petraeus recommended more troop withdrawals from Iraq. CBS' Pentagon correspondent David Martin did travel to Fort Bragg with President George Bush to watch seven medals awarded to soldiers from the 82nd Airborne for heroes in Iraq. Sgt Christopher Corriveau received the Distinguished Service Cross after an ambush last August which he survived but which killed his two fellow snipers. "Do you feel like a hero?" "No I did my job." Corriveau is not going back to Iraq. He is leaving the army is headed for college.


TOO TIDY For the first time since that dreadful earthquake struck China's Sichuan Province, none of the three network newscasts had a reporter file from the disaster zone. Yet ABC did land a traveling slot with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations as he landed in Myanmar to hold talks with the military junta about relief for survivors of Cyclone Nargis. Dan Harris was the only American television reporter in the party. He saw the junta stage "a series of self-serving photo-ops" including "a sanitized version of the disaster" consisting of a couple of rows of perfectly lined up tents. "United Nations officials started grumbling about wanting to see something a little less tidy."


MILE WIDE The mile-wide tornado with 100 mph winds that touched down 50 miles north of Denver created havoc, even though it only killed one. NBC's Leanne Gregg was on the scene to show us KUSA local news videotape of the storm itself and the resulting "splintered houses, overturned tractor trailers and ripped roofs off buildings." ABC had John Berman narrate the videotape from the New York studio: "They always say tornadoes sound like freight trains. This one actually flipped a train on its side."


CRUNCH IN FIVE YEARS Wednesday a Senate panel interrogated Big Oil executives about the continually rising prices. A House panel comes next. CBS' Nancy Cordes covered Energy Secretary Sam Bodman's explanation why crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not being pumped to push down prices: it is "meant to be there as a protection for the American people." Cordes gave credit to The Wall Street Journal for its scoop from the International Energy Agency predicting "a massive supply crunch within five years." On ABC, Barbara Pinto (embargoed link) surveyed the lifestyle changes that motorists are already making--carpooling, bicycling, riding mass transit. Gas guzzlers are so yesterday: Ford Motors is scaling back production of pick-up trucks and SUVs and there is a two month wait to buy a hybrid Toyota Prius in Los Angeles and


FEATURE ROUND-UP Almost all of the rest of the day's coverage was devoted to feature stories…

Airtech International was the target of Armen Keteyian's Investigation on CBS. Keteyian claimed an Exclusive on the USArmy's suspicions about Airtech, the leading manufacturer of raw materials for hi-tech composite aerospace plastics. Keteyian quoted suspicions that Airtech has paid kickbacks to supply "non-conforming products" that fail to meet specifications. Airtech's defense was that it was cleared of wrongdoing in a 2006 federal investigation into supplies for civilian aircraft. The company did not address the continuing probe on the military side.

NBC sent Mark Potter to the border between New Mexico and Mexico for an In Depth look at the narcotrafficking wars that have killed 40 people so far this year in Palomas, the city on the southern side. The Palomas Chief of Police applied for political asylum in New Mexico because of death threats and armed Border Patrol agents have been assigned to guard the school buses that take American children who live in Mexico across the fence to class in Columbus NM. They fear the buses may get caught in gangland crossfire.

Part three of CBS' The War on Cancer had Emily Senay, the in-house physician for The Early Show profile the $144m research program funded by the National Cancer Institute on nanotechnology. The plan is to fabricate medicines that are 80,000 times narrower than a human hair. The inside of the particle would be filled with toxic tumor fighters; the outside would be coated with proteins that would only be received by cancer cells: "The goal is to spare normal tissues and avoid side effects common to most chemotherapies."

ABC's Bob Woodruff made a six-year-old boy cry on A Closer Look. He asked Hunter Morgan where the bomb came from that shattered his father's legs and rattled his brain. The factual answer was Iraq. The emotional answer was tears. Counselors at the Camp COPE project are helping the boy deal with his post-traumatic stressed-out father. The child keeps a Grumpy Journal to document his emotions. Father Scott read one entry aloud: "Dear Journal, My bad days are with my daddy. Love, Hunter." That made the father cry too.

Ann Curry from Today almost cried but did not in NBC's Trading Places series about adult children and aging parents. She recounted the terminal cancer that killed her 78-year-old father Robert, the corny joker and navy veteran. Curry recounted his parting words: "I could feel the wind changing. It is time to turn this ship around." She concluded that living through his death taught her "the lesson that is passed from generation to generation--how to live and how to die with honor and love and, in my father's case, with laughter, with a lot of corny jokes."


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 People's Republic of China counts 51,000 known dead in the Sichuan Province earthquake and fears a further 30,000…the Defense Department budget has been increased by $165bn to pay for this year's unexpected costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan…Senate confirmation hearings were held for Gen David Petraeus, nominated to be the next head of the Pentagon's Central Command…a House panel investigating the Justice Department's firing of nine US Attorneys has subpoenaed Karl Rove, the onetime White House political operative, to testify…the tombstones of Arlington Cemetery are being decorated in preparation for Memorial Day.