CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 18, 2009
Now the Obama Administration turns its attention to the housing market. Barack Obama traveled to Phoenix to unveil his $275bn plan to protect an estimated 8m homes from looming foreclosure. The press corps joined his entourage and all three newscasts led with a summary of the President's speech from their White House correspondents followed by a trio of reaction pieces, making it the Story of the Day. ABC anchor Charles Gibson continues to take time off work this week. This time his substitute was George Stephanopoulos.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 18, 2009: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increasePresident Obama proposes $275bn prevention planChuck ToddWhite House
video thumbnailCBSReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseEconomists see help from Obama, not solutionAnthony MasonNew York
video thumbnailNBCReal estate home mortgage foreclosures increaseRisky borrowers will not be helped by Obama planMike TaibbiNew York State
video thumbnailCBSState government budgets face fiscal crisisSome GOP governors may not take federal stimulusBill WhitakerLos Angeles
video thumbnailABCFinancier Allen Stanford investigated for fraudGoes on the lam as SEC probes $8bn bank loansBrian RossNew York
video thumbnailABCContinental Airlines 3407 crash in Buffalo: 50 deadPilot error investigated, may have caused stallLisa StarkWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCContinental Airlines 3407 crash in Buffalo: 50 deadCommuter carriers' pilots can lack experienceTom CostelloWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingTroop reinforcements sent to southern provincesDavid MartinPentagon
video thumbnailNBCInternet used for social networkingFacebook backtracks on permanent archive planLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailABCGreat white shark conservation effortsDiving cages for tourists promote awarenessNick WattSouth Africa
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
OBAMA AIMS TO BAIL OUT UNDERWATER HOMEOWNERS Now the Obama Administration turns its attention to the housing market. Barack Obama traveled to Phoenix to unveil his $275bn plan to protect an estimated 8m homes from looming foreclosure. The press corps joined his entourage and all three newscasts led with a summary of the President's speech from their White House correspondents followed by a trio of reaction pieces, making it the Story of the Day. ABC anchor Charles Gibson continues to take time off work this week. This time his substitute was George Stephanopoulos.

"The basic goal of the plan is to help homeowners who owe more than their house is worth, who need to refinance but cannot get a new loan," was how NBC's Chuck Todd explained Obama's concept. The President divided those so-called underwater homeowners into two groups: those with good credit; and those with "high debt who need a little help." The President proposes that FannieMae and FreddieMac extend a new low interest loan with no downpayment to the creditworthy group; he wants the Treasury Department's TARP fund to extend $200bn to Fannie and Freddie to allow them to keep those rates low. For the latter debtladen group he proposes a $75bn TARP subsidy to encourage banks to offer them a break. ABC's Jake Tapper reported that his sources--identified as unnamed "senior administration officials"--claim that the President needs no legislation from Congress to enact this plan though "they are pursuing legislation that allow bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgages."

On CBS, Chip Reid quoted Harvard University economist Nicolas Retsinas' skepticism that preventing foreclosures alone will do the trick: "You can modify all the loans you want…but if you do not have money coming in through some weekly paycheck, you cannot pay anything." ABC's Jeffrey Kofman, too, found reason for skepticism since the bailout was trying to turn around "an $11tr housing market." CBS' Anthony Mason estimated that more than 6m homeowners owe in excess of 110% of the market value of their homes, some owing as much as 140%. He warned that Obama's plan "will not close the door on the housing crisis" yet, hoping that prices will stop falling "by next year maybe."

In his speech the President promised that his plan would not be used "to reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would not be able to afford." NBC's Mike Taibbi introduced us to a case in point. Maelynn deLayle (?sp), a young widow in Merrick NY, knew that they had bought "too much house" in 2003 even before her husband died of cancer. To start with, they paid an interest-only loan but now she faces a 40% increase in monthly payments. "She cannot sell, cannot stay, cannot sleep through the night."


WILL TEXAS HOLD ‘EM? Reporting from Los Angeles, CBS' Bill Whitaker was obviously preoccupied with the $9bn that California will receive as part of the federal fiscal stimulus. It is arriving to help close the state's $42bn deficit "after a three month marathon budget session" in Sacramento. "The last push had legislators sleeping at their desks." Whitaker also noted an emerging split in Republican ranks at the state level: Alaska, Louisiana and Mississippi will likely refuse to accept funds, citing "philosophical objections;" the Republican-run states of Minnesota, Florida and California will take the Democrats' money. Texas has yet to decide.


ANTIGUA, VENEZUELA, THE VIRGINS & MEXICO ABC and CBS followed the imploding finances of Sir Allen Stanford. "Nervous depositors swarmed Stanford-related banks in Venezuela and Antigua," CBS' Bob Orr observed, while the billionaire's whereabouts are unknown. "With no arrest warrant pending he is not technically a fugitive," Orr conceded, "but with a sprawling financial empire that includes six airplanes, offices around the world, and homes in Antigua and the Virgin Islands, officials are worried Stanford may try to hide." ABC's Brian Ross noted sardonically that "until recently he was hardly camera shy," showing us a Stanford photo-op with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and an exchange on CNBC: "Is it fun being a billionaire?" "Well--yes, yes, yes!" Ross' unidentified sources among "federal authorities" told him that it is not only the Securities & Exchange Commission that is after Stanford but the Federal Bureau of Investigation too. His bank may have laundered money for Mexican narcotraffickers.


KEEP THE NOSE DOWN ABC's Lisa Stark and CBS' Jeff Glor both reported that the National Transportation Safety Board investigation into last week's fatal Continental Airlines crash in suburban Buffalo was focusing on the actions of pilot Marvin Renslow. After a stall warning sounds in the cockpit, "pilots are trained to push the controls forward to bring the nose of the plane down," thus increasing air speed, ABC's Stark stated. Renslow pulled the nose up. "Why would the pilot have done that?" NBC's Tom Costello generalized about the relative inexperience of pilots at regional airlines--such as Continental Connection, which is operated by Colgan Air--compared with major carriers. New pilots at the majors already have at least 5,000 hours of experience; Renslow had 3,400 hours of which 110 were in the type of plane that crashed while his co-pilot Rebecca Shaw had 2,200 hours, 770 in the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.


HEADING FOR HELMAND NBC's Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski filed a brief stand-up Tuesday on the deployment of 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan--8,000 from the Marine Corps, 4,000 from a USArmy Stryker brigade, the remainder support troops. Now ABC's Martha Raddatz (embargoed link) files a fuller report from Logar Province while David Martin gets the assignment from the Pentagon for CBS. ABC's Raddatz reported that the troops will be assigned to the "dangerous" southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Farah "where the Taliban has made enormous gains." CBS' Martin acknowledged that "the added troops will undoubtedly kill more Taliban" before reminding us that fatalities are no measure of success. "In a war of counterinsurgency the primary mission is not to kill the enemy but to protect the people."


DO NOT DELETE THE 25 THINGS ABOUT ME It was either an about-face under pressure or the speedy correction of a clumsy revision of a form of words. Either way, NBC's Lisa Myers told us about the 100,000-member protest group that formed on facebook.com when it seemed that the social networking Website had changed its Terms of Service to control users' private content in perpetuity. "Rest assured that if you delete your profile it disappears forever," Myers concluded, "except whatever items you may have shared with friends." For example, those "frivolous" 25 Things About Me.


DO NOT FEED THE WILD ANIMALS ABC's Nick Watt earnestly tried to interest us in marine biology, telling us about depleted populations in the southern Atlantic Ocean off South Africa and 20m-year-old species. Let's face it, what he really wanted to show us was his adventure in an underwater cage coming face to face with a great white shark: "I could see the shark's eye about this far away from me and his mouth was open and his teeth were bare!"