CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 16, 2009
The Presidents' Day holiday saw two of the three network anchors take the day off and only one story rated as newsworthy enough to warrant coverage on all three newscasts. Thus the Story of the Day was the continuing investigation into Thursday's crash of Continental Airlines' Connection Flight 3407 in suburban Buffalo. CBS and NBC both led from the crash site where bereaved kin were granted access to mourn the 50 dead. ABC chose to lead with the continuing recession. As for substitute anchors, both ABC and CBS used their morning programs as their bench. CBS chose Harry Smith of the Early Show; ABC went with Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 16, 2009: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSContinental Airlines 3407 crash in Buffalo: 50 deadFlight's final uncontroled seconds reconstructedJeff GlorNew York State
video thumbnailNBCObama Presidency gets under wayWeek's schedule on economy, Canada previewedChuck ToddWhite House
video thumbnailNBCHealthcare reform: universal and managed careFederal spending for Medicaid, records, CobraRobert BazellMinnesota
video thumbnailNBCPacific Rim diplomacy: Secretary Rodham Clinton tripFirst stop Japan, talks on global recessionAndrea MitchellTokyo
video thumbnailCBSPresidential Marine One helicopter fleet expandsLavish Pentagon-mandated upgrade costs $11bnBob OrrWashington DC
video thumbnailABCCongressional perks: foreign travel is expensiveDelegations use USAF charters or first classJonathan KarlCapitol Hill
video thumbnailCBSSen Roland Burris (D-IL) takes officeTalked to governor's aides before appointmentNancy CordesCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingPakistan-based guerrillas step up attacksRichard EngelAfghanistan
video thumbnailCBSHollywood movie Slumdog Millionaire set in MumbaiRare depiction of sprawling Dharavi shantytownSeth DoaneMumbai
video thumbnailCBSAvalanche season on ski slopesDeadly winter requires extra emphasis on safetyBill WhitakerUtah
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FINAL STOMACH CHURNING SECONDS OF DOOMED FLIGHT The Presidents' Day holiday saw two of the three network anchors take the day off and only one story rated as newsworthy enough to warrant coverage on all three newscasts. Thus the Story of the Day was the continuing investigation into Thursday's crash of Continental Airlines' Connection Flight 3407 in suburban Buffalo. CBS and NBC both led from the crash site where bereaved kin were granted access to mourn the 50 dead. ABC chose to lead with the continuing recession. As for substitute anchors, both ABC and CBS used their morning programs as their bench. CBS chose Harry Smith of the Early Show; ABC went with Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer.

All three correspondents described the stomach churning final 26 seconds of the Continental turboprop's flight before it crashed into a house. CBS' Jeff Glor described how the plane "suddenly began to gyrate wildly like a rollercoaster," falling 800 feet in just five seconds according to radar. ABC's Lisa Stark (no link) reported that the crew had been using autopilot until a warning went off in the cockpit about imminent stalling. "The airline does recommend pilots fly by hand in severe icing to better feel how the plane is handling," she noted, without addressing whether the ice that night was normal or severe. NBC's Tom Costello looked into the crew's experience: Marvin Renslow, previously a Saab pilot, had only been certified to fly the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 in December, logging just 110 hours since then; Rebecca Shaw, his 24-year-old co-pilot, "had seven times more flight time in the Dash 8 than the captain."


THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT The fiscal stimulus plan is not yet signed into law and already economic coverage is moving on. ABC's David Muir (no link) previewed the next "dizzying and daunting amount of federal spending" including loans to the automobile industry and intervention in the housing market. By week's end, Muir predicted, President Barack Obama will have committed the government to spending $1tr. CBS' Chip Reid called it a "staggering array of tough decisions on the economy." NBC's Chuck Todd predicted that Obama's plan to spend between $50bn and $70bn to prevent evictions after home mortgage foreclosures will be "detail heavy…in contrast to the vagueness of the bank bailout plan" last week from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

For ABC's A Closer Look, Betsy Stark filed an economics explainer on the so-called multiplier effect: how one worker's layoff has a ripple effect of contraction throughout the economy. The only silver lining she could think of was that the multiplier "should also kick in when businesses start hiring again. So what is true on the way down should be true on the way up."


BOGGED DOWN IN THE ECHO CHAMBER As for that fiscal stimulus legislation, ABC looked at process while NBC's In Depth looked at substance. Robert Bazell walked us through the new federal spending on healthcare: $87bn to fund state Medicaid programs; $36bn to help physicians convert their written records into electronic files; and nine months of federal copayments to help laid off workers pay for continued health insurance with their former employer's plan.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos walked us through a montage of behind-the-scenes White House photographs depicting Barack Obama lobbying lawmakers for his $787bn legislation: "The White House believes that they turned the corner on getting support for this package as the President went on the road." NBC's Chuck Todd heard the same analysis from Obama's unidentified aides. Their tactics will now involve "hitting the road in an attempt to avoid that Washington chattering class…Campaign-style events on the road have actually been very helpful to the President, reenergized him. Frankly it has been a way to get away from the Washington echo chamber, which, they feel, has in some ways bogged their own staff down and almost distracted them."


BLOOM IS OFF TOKYO ROSE NBC's Andrea Mitchell and CBS' Wyatt Andrews both joined Hillary Rodham Clinton's entourage as the Secretary of State began her diplomatic tour of the Pacific Rim. "Japan's economy tanked at the end of last year," CBS' Andrews told us, with its Gross Domestic Product shrinking at a 12% annual rate. "Increasingly Japan's leaders, like China's, blame the United States" for the recession, NBC's Mitchell remarked. CBS' Andrews disagreed: "While the talks here in Tokyo will be friendly," he predicted, in China "officials are far more inclined to blame the United States" for the economic slowdown.


WHICH BRANCH TRAVELS MORE OPULENTLY? Lavish spending on travel by inside-the-Beltway politicos found itself in the crosshairs at both ABC and CBS. CBS' Bob Orr focused on the White House and its Marine One helicopter fleet. Lockheed Martin has been assigned the task of updating the President's 30-year-old choppers and has come up with an $11bn price tag. Each helicopter would be equipped with "tons of communications gear and defensive systems capable of fending off missiles and even the effects of a nuclear blast." Lockheed is building 28 of them so that three are at the President's disposal at each stop when he makes a trip on Air Force One.

ABC's Jonathan Karl looked at expensive overseas travel by Congressional delegations. He cited a recent oversight trip on NATO to Belgium, Austria, France and Germany that had used a military aircraft. Rep Gary Ackerman had teased automobile industry executives for traveling in private jets last year: "Couldn't you all have downgraded to first class?" Karl pointed out that first class was precisely what Ackerman used in an official trip to Britain last February. The round trip cost was $14,000.


BURRIS RETESTIFIES Was the book on Rod Blagojevich closed when he was removed from office last month? Not really. CBS' Nancy Cordes now opens a new chapter, this time on Roland Burris, the senator Blagojevich appointed. Burris swore that he recalled having only one meeting with Blagojevich's staff when he testified at the then-governor's impeachment trial. Burris now revises his testimony in an affidavit: he had four meetings and took three telephone calls from the governor's brother. In response to talk of perjury, "Burris insists none of the contact was inappropriate and says he raised no money" for Blagojevich.


SWAT PEACE MAY MEAN WORSE KANDAHAR WAR NBC's Richard Engel reported from a bus on the Kabul-Kandahar highway about the potential fallout from the ceasefire in Pakistan's Swat Valley. The fighting between government troops and Taliban guerrillas has halted and the Pakistani government has acceded to Taliban demands to impose Islamic law there. Engel feared that the ceasefire will allow the Taliban to intensify its fighting in Afghanistan. "Kabul now feels under siege," he warned, with Taliban roadblocks as close as ten miles south of the capital. Engel's bus driver told him "he has seen the Taliban behead Afghan soldiers by the roadside."


SLUM REPORTAGE, SLUM TOURISM The shantytowns of Mumbai are now newsworthy because they were first fictionalized. Inspired by the movie fairy tale Slumdog Millionaire, NBC's Ian Williams covered them last month. Now CBS' Seth Doane files a four-minute feature on the slum of Dharavi, area one square mile, population one million. Dharavi boasts 10,000 small business generating $600m each year. Doane showed us gem stone embroidery and grain mills and leather workshops--and tourism. The hit movie has generated demand not just for journalism but for Slum Tours too.


AWESOME BACK COUNTRY VIDEO Los Angeles based Bill Whitaker used the long Presidents Day weekend to catch up on some skiing in Utah's Cottonwood Canyon. He made the ski trip work-related by stringing together some "awesome and powerful" videotape of back country avalanches. Heavy snowfall on top of a base of frozen rain has made this season especially perilous. Avalanches have killed 16 so far this winter, including three inside the safe boundaries of designated ski resorts. Check out the jaw-dropping CBS video.