CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 05, 2009
The Federal Aviation Administration cooperated in CBS' build-up to Sunday's 60 Minutes exclusive. That will be when anchor Katie Couric lands the first newsmaker interview with Chesley Sullenberger, the acclaimed USAIrways pilot who safely crashed his Airbus jetliner into the icy waters of the Hudson River last month. The FAA added to Couric's publicity hype by releasing its air traffic control audiotapes of the pilot's emergency: "We hit birds. We have lost thrust in both engines." Controler Patrick Harten offered the pilot a return runway at LaGuardia Airport in Queens and then an emergency landing at suburban Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. "We cannot do it. We are going to be in the Hudson." Both CBS and NBC led with the audiotapes, which were the Story of the Day. ABC kicked off with a health alert about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court Justice has undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 05, 2009: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailABCUSAirways 1549 crash lands in NYC's Hudson RiverFAA releases air traffic control audiotapesLisa StarkWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has cancerCourt's only woman undergoes pancreas surgeryPete WilliamsSupreme Court
video thumbnailCBSEconomy is officially in recessionAngry, partisan Senate debate over stimulus billChip ReidWhite House
video thumbnailABCRetail sales slowdown: chains face bankruptcyDiscounters, inexpensive brands less hard hitDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailNBCFinancier Bernard Madoff accused of $50bn fraudList of thousands of bilked investors publishedLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCSalmonella outbreak investigatedSenate hearings into peanut plant regulationRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailCBSHealthcare reform: universal and managed careCancer patients undercovered, face huge debtsJon LaPookNew York
video thumbnailABCIraq: political progress, provincial elections heldPM al-Maliki's secular slate was successfulJim SciuttoBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSMilitary detains terrorist suspects in Cuban campGuantanamo Bay closing nixed by then-VP CheneyDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCWestminster Kennel Club dog show held in NYCLongstanding competition inspires pet ownersTrish ReganNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
SUPERCALM CONTROLER TAPES HELP COURIC’S PUBLICITY The Federal Aviation Administration cooperated in CBS' build-up to Sunday's 60 Minutes exclusive. That will be when anchor Katie Couric lands the first newsmaker interview with Chesley Sullenberger, the acclaimed USAIrways pilot who safely crashed his Airbus jetliner into the icy waters of the Hudson River last month. The FAA added to Couric's publicity hype by releasing its air traffic control audiotapes of the pilot's emergency: "We hit birds. We have lost thrust in both engines." Controler Patrick Harten offered the pilot a return runway at LaGuardia Airport in Queens and then an emergency landing at suburban Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. "We cannot do it. We are going to be in the Hudson." Both CBS and NBC led with the audiotapes, which were the Story of the Day. ABC kicked off with a health alert about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court Justice has undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer.

There was very little actual reporting that the networks' trio of transportation correspondents had to do with the USAirways 1549 audio. It mostly spoke for itself. ABC had Lisa Stark do the introductions; CBS used Bob Orr; NBC Tom Costello. CBS' Orr persisted in calling the incident The Miracle on the Hudson even though it has been well established by now that there was nothing supernatural about the way the jetliner was ditched.

ABC anchor Charles Gibson recounted how his newsroom was "all huddled around the speakers listening" when the tapes first came in. NBC anchor Brian Williams announced that what his viewers was about to hear "may be the definition of cool under fire…incredible stuff." CBS anchor Katie Couric played a snippet of her 60 Minutes exchange with pilot Sullenberger. "Did you think: 'How are we going to get ourselves out of this?'" "No," he replied. "My initial reaction was one of disbelief."

ABC followed up with in-house aviation consultant John Nance. He explained to anchor Gibson that both pilot and controller are trained to be that calm in an emergency: "You have got to get information across in a very precise way and very rapidly and there is no room for even asking What did you say again?"


TINY TUMOR CAUSED NO SYMPTOMS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's cancer surgery was covered by all three network's Supreme Court watchers; ABC and CBS also consulted their in-house physicians for a prognosis. CBS' Jon Lapook characterized himself as "cautiously optimistic--because this is not your typical pancreatic cancer, which is usually found late." In Bader Ginsburg's case, the one-centimeter tumor was detected by CT scan during her annual checkup. She was suffering no symptoms but was undergoing the screening because she had been a colon cancer patient. "We can say that this cancer ten years ago may have saved her life now," opined ABC's Timothy Johnson (as part of the Jan Crawford Greenburg videostream).

CBS' Wyatt Andrews gave us a brief Bader Ginsburg bio: 75 years old, appointed in 1993, the Court's only woman, "champion for women's and individual rights." ABC's Crawford Greenberg reminded us of a speech the Justice gave last year in which "she saw herself as being on this Court until her late eighties." NBC's Pete Williams reported that her "model for service" is Justice John Paul Stevens "now in his 35th year on the Court."

Later in the newscast, CBS' LaPook filed an Eye on Your Health feature about cancer patients who are not as fortunate as the Supreme Court Justice. Bader Ginsburg got her annual physical at the National Institutes for Health and her tumor surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering. LaPook countered with the Kaiser Family Foundation's estimate that there are one million cancer patients nationwide who do not receive proper medical treatment for their disease. Even those who have health insurance can be undercovered for a course of treatment that can range from $2,000 to $7,000 per patient per month. The prognosis--premature death or survival stripped of life savings.


COME OFF IT KELLY! GET REAL During the Senate debate over the $825bn fiscal stimulus bill, CBS' Chip Reid reported that Democrats accused Republicans of "trying to tar the bill by focusing on a small number of questionable projects." Tyndall Report has complained here, here and here that network reporters have too often fallen into the same trap, citing picayune line items as arguments against the measure when their inclusion or exclusion would make no material difference whatsoever. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell must have heard Sen Dick Durbin's valid objection to arguing about such irrelevant minutiae before filing her report. What did she do? She ignored it. "Outrage is building over the way some of the money would be spent," she declared, before focusing on four items that in total amount to sixteen one hundredths of one percent of the measure ($1.329bn out of $825): $0.87bn on the 'flu; $0.40bn on sexually transmitted disease; $0.034bn on remodeling at the Commerce Department; $0.025bn on recreational trails. O'Donnell cannot be serious.

By contrast, CBS' Reid and ABC's Jonathan Karl (embargoed link) properly concentrated on the genuine debate. The Democrats see deficit spending providing a demand-side boost; their Republican opponents advocate supply-side tax cuts instead. "Voting on party lines," reported ABC's Karl, "the Senate defeated 57-40 John McCain's Republican alternative to cut the cost of the stimulus in half, relying heavily on tax cuts." CBS' Reid listed a bipartisan consensus to expand tax cuts by almost $100bn to raise the stimulus total to more than $900bn: $69bn to relieve the Alternative Minimum Tax; $11bn in tax incentives for buying automobiles; $19bn for buying houses. Now we are talking real money.


PREFER KISSES OVER GIRL SCOUTS For ABC's A Closer Look, David Muir left no doubt that demand is shrinking at the consumer level. January retail sales volume declined by 1.6%. It is not only that consumers are spending less and saving more, Muir pointed out; they are also changing consumption patterns. Hyundai has the newly popular automobile, offering a money-back guarantee to buyers who get laid off. Mattel's toy sales are slumping because their models are impermanent. Netflix rentals are on the rise as movie entertainment stays in the home. As for candy, Girl Scout thin mints are being shunned in favor of Hershey's Kisses--"smaller but cheaper."


BOLD FACES & PALM BEACH NEIGHBORS A list of almost 14,000 names has been published of individuals who may have been investors in Bernard Madoff's failed financial fund and so may be eligible for compensation from the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. NBC's Lisa Myers took the bold-faced approach to the list, singling out celebrities such as Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax and actress Kyra Sedgwick and real estate tycoon Larry Silverstein and cable news anchor Larry King. CBS sent Kelly Cobiella to Palm Beach where Madoff handled the money of many of his friends and neighbors. "Hidden among the palm trees and perfect lawns," Cobiella told us, are "as many as a thousand people deceived by a man who lived and partied beside them."


BAZELL STAYS ON PEANUT WATCH NBC has taken the lead over the last three weeks in covering the salmonella outbreak from processed food ingredients produced by the Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Georgia: of the ten reports filed so far on the three nightly newscasts, five have been by NBC. Robert Bazell's latest was on the Senate hearings into the failure of the Food & Drug Administration to police food safety. To demonstrate how ineffectual its monitoring had been, Bazell repeated PCA's official defense that "there had been regular visits and inspections" of its tainted factory.


ISLAMISTS SUFFER SETBACK Enough votes are in from the provincial elections in Iraq that ABC's Jim Sciutto was able to call a "landslide victory" for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and a "crushing defeat for Shiite religious parties." The decline in the clout of political Islam is not only in evidence at the ballot box, Sciutto reported, it can also be seen on Baghdad's streets: Friday prayers draw smaller crowds to the mosques; liquor stores no longer fear of vigilante vandalism and have reopened; and young women "can safely refuse to wear a veil."


CHECKING CHENEY’S MATH Now that President Barack Obama has ordered the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base closed, CBS' David Martin reports that President George Bush had wanted to do the same thing in 2005. "It was his own Vice President who stood in the way," Martin claimed. Even today Dick Cheney calls it "naïve" not to incarcerate suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial. Martin fact-checked Cheney's claim that 61 former inmates of Guantanamo--out of the 530 released so far--have taken up terrorism upon their release. The Defense Intelligence Agency tallies the confirmed number of recidivists at 18, of whom "most have subsequently been killed or captured."


BEST IN SHOW NBC's sibling cable channel USA has the rights to air the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and in a flurry of corporate cross promotion NBC's sibling financial news cable channel CNBC is running a documentary in its American Originals series on the economics of pooches. So NBC invited CNBC's Trish Regan to close its newscast with a preview of her documentary that previews USA's live coverage. The canine event, held at New York City's Madison Square Garden, is the second oldest continuously running sporting competition in the country, behind only the horses of the Kentucky Derby. "The pageantry and the thrill of competition makes dog lovers of us all," Regan gushed.