CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM JANUARY 26, 2009
Unemployment was Story of the Day as major corporations announced major layoffs. Both CBS and NBC led with the announcements of job cuts: Caterpillar 20,000 workers; Pfizer Wyeth 8,000; Sprint Nextel 8,000; Home Depot 7,000; Texas Instruments 3,000 and so on. ABC chose to kick off from the White House, where President Barack Obama signaled to the automobile industry that it should expect new regulations to make more efficient cars. On all three newscasts there was but a single story filed from a foreign dateline: ABC from the scenic Swat Valley of Pakistan. Well, actually, there were two--but CNBC's financial story from Switzerland concerned a domestic financial scandal.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR JANUARY 26, 2009: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCUnemployment: corporate layoffs continueMajor firms downsize across all economic sectorsTrish ReganNew York
video thumbnailCBSObama Presidency gets under wayWorked on fiscal stimulus, auto efficiencyChip ReidWhite House
video thumbnailNBCTreasury Secretary Timothy Geithner confirmedWill lead policy in finance, real estate, fiscalChuck ToddWhite House
video thumbnailABCAutomobile fuel efficiency standards, techniquesPresident Obama orders EPA, DoT actionJake TapperWhite House
video thumbnailNBCClean Air Act pollution fighting regulationsEPA may OK California's carbon dioxide controlsAnne ThompsonNew York
video thumbnailCBSGov Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) accused of corruptionIgnores impeachment trial, courts national mediaCynthia BowersIllinois
video thumbnailNBCWall Street brokerage Merrill Lynch taken overFired executive defends lavish decor, bonusesMaria BartiromoSwitzerland
video thumbnailABCCatholic Church closes parishes across AmericaSit-in protests keep Boston churches openDan HarrisMassachusetts
video thumbnailCBSHS football: dehydration dangers during practiceTeenager dies, coach faces reckless homicide rapJeff GlorKentucky
video thumbnailABCPakistan fighting along North West FrontierTaliban controls Swat Valley, expels touristsNick SchifrinPakistan
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
BLUE CHIPS HAND OUT PINKS SLIPS Unemployment was Story of the Day as major corporations announced major layoffs. Both CBS and NBC led with the announcements of job cuts: Caterpillar 20,000 workers; Pfizer Wyeth 8,000; Sprint Nextel 8,000; Home Depot 7,000; Texas Instruments 3,000 and so on. ABC chose to kick off from the White House, where President Barack Obama signaled to the automobile industry that it should expect new regulations to make more efficient cars. On all three newscasts there was but a single story filed from a foreign dateline: ABC from the scenic Swat Valley of Pakistan. Well, actually, there were two--but CNBC's financial story from Switzerland concerned a domestic financial scandal.

"A bloodbath of pink slips," was how CBS' Anthony Mason colorfully characterized the carnage. Adding all the layoffs from this single day's corporate announcements proved tricky. The total at CBS was 60,000 since Mason had a high estimate for the layoffs expected from the Big Pharma merger of Pfizer and Wyeth. NBC came up with 50,000, although its story by CNBC's Trish Regan threw in some pain for the Dutch too, as Philips Electronics and the ING bank are firing 13,000 between them. ABC's total was only 30,000.

ABC used one of Tyndall Report's favorite formats for reporting on farflung phenomena, the so-called wheel: Steve Osunsami started off from Atlanta where Home Depot is shutting down its high-end home improvement business; then he handed off to Barbara Pinto in Chicago who told us how stalling construction worldwide has hit Caterpillar, the equipment manufacturer; in turn she threw to Neal Karlinsky in Seattle who disabused us of the notion that hi-tech is immune to downturns, with Sprint Nextel and Intel and Microsoft all shedding jobs, as well as Boeing and Starbucks. The wheel, at least, keeps more correspondents in work.


CHIP REID’S FARRAGO While all three newscasts included a report from their White House correspondent, CBS' Chip Reid is developing a distinctive style for covering Barack Obama's new administration that is, frankly, confusing. NBC's Chuck Todd and ABC's Jake Tapper chose the traditional approach: select the most newsworthy element of the President's day and devote almost all of that day's report to explaining its significance. NBC's Todd chose the confirmation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner by the Senate in a 60-34 vote and the various policy priorities that now face him. ABC's Tapper focused on Obama's orders to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to consider new regulations to limit carbon dioxide and increase fuel efficiency in automobiles.

On CBS, Reid takes the opposite approach. Instead of finding what was newsworthy in the President's day and focusing that development, Reid treats his daily calendar itself as newsworthy. For Reid, the man Obama is the story, not what engages him. So on this day, he filed an omnibus report that included negotiations on fiscal stimulus, those automobile orders, Middle East envoy George Mitchell and upcoming direct diplomacy with Iran. Friday, Reid combined the fiscal with global abortion policy and CIA drone attacks on Pakistan. Thursday, his potpourri included ethics, Guantanamo Bay, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and outreach to the White House press corps.

You, dear reader, check Reid's reports and decide for yourself. To Tyndall Report, his personalized perspective on the new President is a distraction.

To be fair, both Tapper and Todd did round out their coverage with a tidbit unrelated to their primary theme. NBC's Todd shared the venue of Barack Obama's first television interview since taking office: al-Arabiya. ABC's Tapper told us that White House staffers wanted him to publicize their crashed computer server: "Maybe some of the IT folks are watching World News and they will come in and finally fix our e-mail," they complained.


GREENER ON A SLOWER TRACK While ABC's Jake Tapper covered Barack Obama's orders as an automobile story, NBC and CBS both took the environmental angle. The dispute that Obama addressed was one between the Bush Administration's Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California. California, along with 17 other states covering almost half the population, classified carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles as air pollution because of their greenhouse effect. "In its drive to crack down," CBS' Ben Tracy reported from Los Angeles, "California has waged a four-year battle with Washington and the auto industry. Now it just might win." For NBC's In Depth, Anne Thompson speculated that cutting emissions "is a message the auto industry is finally getting…Today the industry reversed course saying it wants to work with the administration to reduce the pollution fueling global warming."

ABC's Tapper reminded us that George Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming back in 2001. Now Todd Stern, who was Bill Clinton's chief negotiator at Kyoto, has been appointed as Obama's climate control envoy. Reflecting on Obama's environmental initiatives, ABC's George Stephanopoulos made a distinction between green jobs--alternate energy sources and efficiency drives--and limiting greenhouse gases. "Controling industrial emissions through a cap-and-trade program is likely to be put on a slower track," he predicted.


BLAGO’S BLITZ IS SHTICK Rod Blagojevich waded into the national media spotlight in an effort, as CBS' Cynthia Bowers put it, to upstage the beginning of his impeachment trial before the Illinois Senate in Springfield. "An empty chair stood where the governor was invited to take part," ABC's Chris Bury (embargoed link) pointed out. Sure enough, he garnered the desired publicity as he skipped from Today to Good Morning America to The View, where Blagojevich refused to be goaded into repeating the Nixonian phrase: "I am not a crook." His administration "is now a road show," smirked NBC's Lee Cowan. "At times his media blitz seemed more shtick than statesmanlike." Quoting this fatalistic soundbite--"I know the fix is in. I will soon join, unfortunately, the legions of others who are losing their jobs in our country"--CBS' Bowers mused that the underlying motive for all that airtime "is not about trying to keep his job; it is about trying to keep out of jail, an attempt to influence potential jurors."


FROM WALL STREET VIA SWITZERLAND CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo landed the deluxe assignment of covering the Global Economic Forum in Davos even as she managed to persuade the fired boss of Merrill Lynch to grant her an interview. So on NBC we saw the odd sight of a Wall Street financier making news in New York for a report filed from an Alpine Swiss resort. Bartiromo asked John Thain remotely about the two examples of reckless extravagance that made news last Thursday from CBS' Anthony Mason and NBC's Lisa Myers. What about the $1.2m redecoration of his office? What about the $4bn in bonuses Merrill Lynch paid shortly before being taken over by Bank of America and posting $41bn in losses? Thain now calls the renovation "a mistake" and plans to pay reimbursements. At the time "it really would have been very difficult for me to use it in the form that it was in." As for the bonuses, Bank of America was "completely plugged in to what the total amount" would be and "if you do not pay your best people, you will destroy your franchise."


FROZEN COMMUNION It was more than four years ago that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced it would close four parishes "because of financial problems and also a shortage of priests," according to ABC's Dan Harris. Parishioners responded in anger because they believe "the archdiocese wants to sell off the churches to raise money to settle lawsuits from the priest sex abuse scandals." The parishioners responded with sit-ins in the targeted churches "in direct defiance of Vatican rules," Harris pointed out. The sit-ins have turned into "essentially a fully-functioning church" with rosary groups, a Sunday school and communion with wafers blessed by "anonymous sympathetic priests." In response, the archdiocese has cut off heat and water so the squatters worship in 25F cold.


LOCAL SPORTS FARE GIVEN NETWORK TREATMENT High school sports stories are normally fodder for local newscasts not the networks' nightly news. Yet ABC chose to air a hoops story from Dallas on Friday and now CBS covers football from Louisville. CBS' Jeff Glor brought us the tragedy of Max Gilpin, a 15-year-old offensive lineman who keeled over during practice in the dog days of August and died three days later. His coach Jason Stinson is being prosecuted for reckless homicide. Friday ABC's Ryan Owens told us about the girls of Dallas Academy Bulldogs basketball team, defeated 100-0 by The Covenant, a Christian school. When the Christians were exposed for running up the score they issued an apology: "It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened." Coach Micah Grimes is now fired.


FROM TOURISM TO TERRORISM The Swat Valley of Pakistan is a scenic beauty, Nick Schifrin showed us for ABC's A Closer Look. Well, he tried to show us but he had to halt his travels a two-hour drive away because it is "a valley transformed from tourist haven to a haven for terrorists." Since the Pakistani Taliban seized power there 18 months ago, 184 schools have been destroyed, 80% of the police force has either been killed or has resigned, 1500 people have been killed including politicians and local leaders. The Pakistani army has mounted a counterattack "but they have made so little progress that Swat's provincial government accuses the army of collaborating with the enemy."