CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JULY 16, 2008
Economic statistics were the unanimous selection to lead off each newscast. Inflation is starting to skyrocket. The Consumer Price Index rose by 1.1% in the month of June, the second sharpest monthly jolt in a quarter of a century. Yet oddly, such a serious shock was not most heavily covered. Although selected as the lead item by none, the networks, combined, spent most time on a topic better suited to morning television than the nightly newscasts. Funnily enough NBC's substitute anchor was Today's Ann Curry. Anyway, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study contrasting the weight loss results for a sample of obese Israelis on three different diets. Low-fat shaved off an average of just seven pounds in 24 months; the Mediterranean scheme lost ten; low-carb shed twelve. Still, such meager results were enough to satisfy correspondents. They lapped the study up and made it Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JULY 16, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCInflation statistics: June CPI accelerates, up 1.1%Monthly surge was second worst since 1982Erin BurnettNew York
video thumbnailCBSReal estate housing market prices continue to fallCongress debates stimulus bill to support pricesAnthony MasonNew York State
video thumbnailNBCCommercial banks solvency worries: FDIC steps inChecklist for depositors to keep money safeJane WellsCalifornia
video thumbnailABCMillionaire tax shelters run by Liechtenstein bankWhistleblower leaks names of cheats to IRSBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignAddress to NAACP includes praise for his rivalKelly O'DonnellCincinnati
video thumbnailCBS2008 voting blocs: whitesCandidates court whites by addressing blacksJeff GreenfieldNew York
video thumbnailCBSAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingUSMC build-up, more surveillance drones neededDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailABCAirline travel: carriers focus on fuel efficiencyPilots claim USAirways' savings are overzealousLisa StarkWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCTWA 800 crash on Long Island 12th anniversaryNew FAA rules to prevent fuel tank explosionsTom CostelloWashington DC
video thumbnailABCDiet and weight-loss products, techniquesNEJoM studies, low-fat, low-carb, MediterraneanJohn McKenzieNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
SCARY INFLATION TRUMPED BY WEIGHT LOSS SCHEMES Economic statistics were the unanimous selection to lead off each newscast. Inflation is starting to skyrocket. The Consumer Price Index rose by 1.1% in the month of June, the second sharpest monthly jolt in a quarter of a century. Yet oddly, such a serious shock was not most heavily covered. Although selected as the lead item by none, the networks, combined, spent most time on a topic better suited to morning television than the nightly newscasts. Funnily enough NBC's substitute anchor was Today's Ann Curry. Anyway, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study contrasting the weight loss results for a sample of obese Israelis on three different diets. Low-fat shaved off an average of just seven pounds in 24 months; the Mediterranean scheme lost ten; low-carb shed twelve. Still, such meager results were enough to satisfy correspondents. They lapped the study up and made it Story of the Day.

Chairman Benjamin Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board was "waking up to another inflation hangover," observed CNBC's Erin Burnett, reporting for NBC. "Inflation currently is too high," she quoted Bernanke, as he testified that it is the Fed's "top priority" to bring it down. On ABC, Betsy Stark (embargoed link) was skeptical about the Chairman's words, finding him in "a real quandary" since raising interest rates to slow inflation "runs the risk of further damaging a weak economy." CBS' Ben Tracy took the consumer's eye view of inflation as gasoline and electricity and food and travel are all more expensive: "Inflation like this is kind of like taking a pay cut."

Next stop for economic coverage was the housing market. CBS' Anthony Mason offered a progress report on proposed federal legislation to prop up the sector. It would subsidize new home buyers; encourage mortgage renegotiation for homeowners at risk of default; and would guarantee the solvency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Even if a package is ironed out it may not become law, Mason warned: "The White House argues parts of the bill would bail out bad lenders who caused the mortgage mess."

Then comes the banking sector. In the wake of the failure of California's IndyMac Bank both Bill Whitaker for CBS and CNBC's Jane Wells for NBC reassured those with regular deposits in any bank that is FDIC insured that their money is secure. Both warned about banks that offer unusually high rates of interest. Such desperation to attract funds may be a warning sign of trouble. Meanwhile, Wells reported, the FBI is investigating IndyMac for possible fraud in its mortgage business.

On ABC, Brian Ross investigated the LGT Bank in the tiny Alpine principality of Liechtenstein, owned by Prince Hans-Adam II. Ross told us that a "disgruntled computer technician" named Heinrich Kieber stole the confidential tax shelter account data perhaps thousands of the secretive prince's millionaire customers. Kieber sold the files to taxmen at the Internal Revenue Service and to European authorities. They may expose tax cheating amounting to $100bn.


RACIAL CODES On the campaign trail, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain accepted an invitation to address the NAACP Convention despite the fact that his rival Barack Obama "has the vast majority of the African-American vote sewn up," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it. Back in 2004, George Bush received a scant 11% of the black vote, she noted, and McCain's task in 2008 is "much harder." So what was his motive for attending? NBC's O'Donnell offered the honorable explanation that McCain wanted to show respect. CBS' Jeff Greenfield had a more calculating insight. He speculated that both McCain and Obama use speeches to African-American audiences to send messages to white votes: McCain that he does not represent a racially divisive GOP; Obama that he holds fellow blacks to high standards of responsibility.


SIMPLY CLARIFYING Overseas there was news on Iran, Lebanon and Afghanistan. CBS' David Martin reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is "scrambling" to find reinforcements to Afghanistan. A Marine Corps force of 2,200 that is currently on standby in the Persian Gulf for duty in Iraq may be diverted and the pentagon has a "pressing need" for more unmanned reconnaissance drone aircraft to monitor the border with Pakistan…the State Department has reversed its longstanding boycott of diplomacy with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Undersecretary William Burns will attend talks on its uranium enrichment program. "The White House is insisting this is not negotiating: 'We are just simply clarifying our position,'" reported ABC's Martha Raddatz, "but the fact is they are sitting down at the table with the Iranians and that is a first for the Bush Administration"…the bodies of the two Israeli soldiers whose capture two years ago triggered a 34-day war with Lebanon were returned by the Hezbollah militia. In exchange Israel handed over the remains of 199 fighters plus five live prisoners. Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah characterized the deal as a "victory over Israel," noted ABC's Simon McGregor-Wood (embargoed link).


FLY BYS NBC's Tom Costello reminded us that this is the anniversary of the midair explosion of TWA 800 off Long Island in 1996. It was caused by the ignition of flammable fumes in the 747's empty fuel tank. Now a system has been invented that injects nitrogen into the empty tanks to neutralize the fumes. So twelve years later the FAA is ordering a retrofit to prevent a repetition of the calamity. ABC had Lisa Stark follow up on a full page ad placed in USA Today by the pilots' union at USAirways. It warned that the airline was cutting too many corners in its zeal to save on aviation fuel costs: "Senior captains were called on the carpet for demanding too much fuel for long international flights." USAirways denied using intimidation.


GAIN MORE THAN YOU BURN As for those weight loss plans, all three networks paid attention. NBC's Robert Bazell pointed out that the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the research using funds from the Atkins Foundation. The Atkins Diet was an original low-carbohydrate plan, one of the trio tested. ABC's John McKenzie noted that the low-fat entry was the one endorsed by the American Heart Association. As for the Mediterranean Diet--rich in fish, vegetables and olive oil--CBS' in-house physician Jon LaPook reported that it was superior in controling blood sugar in diabetic dieters. "At the end of the day, if you eat more than you burn, you are losing weight, no matter what your diet is," LaPook concluded. Anchor Katie Couric, who knows about such matters after years on Today, corrected him: "You are gaining weight. Right?" "I mean you are gaining more." "Gain more than you burn." "Right. You are gaining weight. Sorry."