CONTAINING LINKS TO 58103 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM DECEMBER 14, 2009
CBS' primetime news magazine 60 Minutes obtained the soundbite that set up the Story of the Day. "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of--you know--fat cat bankers on Wall Street," President Barack Obama told Steve Kroft. All three newscasts led with the follow-up. The trio of White House correspondents covered the President's meeting with those same fat cats to urge them to extend more credit to small businesses and to mortgage borrowers. In attendance were the chief executives of the major banks that received, and for the most part repaid, TARP bailout funds from the Treasury Department.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR DECEMBER 14, 2009: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailNBCFinancial industry regulation, reform, bailoutPresident Obama urges TARP recipients to lendSavannah GuthrieWhite House
video thumbnailCBSFinancial industry regulation, reform, bailoutTARP banks repay bailouts, escape constraintsWyatt AndrewsWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCGlobal warming greenhouse effect climate changeUN conference faces boycott by poor nationsAnne ThompsonDenmark
video thumbnailABCAndes glacier depletion sparks water warsBolivia relies on snowmelt, faces shortagesJeffrey KofmanBolivia
video thumbnailCBSMount Hood climbing adventuresTrio in trouble: one dead; missing duo searchPriya DavidOregon
video thumbnailABCHealthcare reform: universal and managed careSenate Democrats' Medicare compromise collapsesJonathan KarlCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCDiagnostic CT scan overuse may cause cancerMachines vary, some emit dangerous radiationRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailABCItaly politics: PM Silvio Berlusconi attackedPunched in face by Milan souvenir, nose brokenNick WattLondon
video thumbnailABCGolf champion Tiger Woods in late night car crashScandal threatens sponsorships, PGA fan baseJohn BermanFlorida
video thumbnailABCABC News anchor Charles Gibson retiresHighlights of Washington DC political coverageCharles GibsonNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
FAT CAT BANKERS MEET THE PRESIDENT CBS' primetime news magazine 60 Minutes obtained the soundbite that set up the Story of the Day. "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of--you know--fat cat bankers on Wall Street," President Barack Obama told Steve Kroft. All three newscasts led with the follow-up. The trio of White House correspondents covered the President's meeting with those same fat cats to urge them to extend more credit to small businesses and to mortgage borrowers. In attendance were the chief executives of the major banks that received, and for the most part repaid, TARP bailout funds from the Treasury Department.

NBC's Savannah Guthrie interpreted the President as making "a show of his frustration with Wall Street" when she ran a second 60 Minutes soundbite: "The people on Wall Street still do not get it." She called his tone "angry, frustrated." On CBS, Chip Reid exaggerated when he referred to Obama's words as "angry, populist rhetoric." His assessment that the meeting "seemed a bit awkward" avoided such sensationalism.

ABC's Jake Tapper told us that the banks are extending $600bn less in credit to consumers and businesses than they were a year ago. The federal program for homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages was supposed to apply to 4m loans whereas 760K applications have been filed and only 31K have been granted. NBC's Guthrie reported that lending to small business "has decreased for the last four consecutive quarters." CBS' Reid reminded us that the President also called the same group of bankers to the White House in March (here and here) to make the same pitch to extend credit. The bankers "said the same thing, that they would do everything in their power to increase lending. Since then lending by the big banks has decreased steadily."

So what are banks doing with their capital instead? CBS' Wyatt Andrews filed a Reality Check: $20bn has been used by Citigroup to repay much of its TARP bailout loan and $45bn from Bank of America; $17bn has been set aside by Goldman Sachs to pay year-end bonuses. CNBC's economist Steve Liesman told NBC anchor Brian Williams that Wells Fargo would repay $25bn to TARP. All the paybacks mean that the leverage for the federal government to make the banks loosen credit is "slim to none," CNBC's Liesman observed. "At the end of the day the government is tremendously conflicted here. They want the banks to lend to small business but they also have to regulate the banks. And they do not want them making lousy loans out there."


NBC STAYS IN COPENHAGEN NBC continues to be the only network to file regular reports from the United Nations conference on global warming in Copenhagen. Anne Thompson's latest update concerned the African-led boycott staged by 135 nations "angry over what they say are insufficient carbon cuts proposed by the world's rich countries." The response by the United States, she reported, came from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, with an offer to transfer clean energy technology to developing nations.

"Industrialized countries have a responsibility to give money to poor countries so they can respond to a crisis they did not create." Thus ABC's Jeffrey Kofman quoted Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia. Kofman filed a feature on the warming of the high Andes from Bolivia, a crisis that Anne Thompson covered from Peru last week for NBC's A Perfect Storm series. Thompson showed us the shrinking Pastoruri Glacier; Kofman used time-lapse photographs from 1980, 1994 and 2005 to show us the totally melted Chacaltaya Glacier. Water from snowmelt in Bolivian villages is now so rare that taps are kept under lock and key.

While ABC's Kofman was in the Bolivian Andes worrying about global warming, NBC's Lee Cowan and CBS' Priya David were at Mount Hood in Oregon, worrying about a pair of climbers. A trio of twentysomething mountaineers set off for the summit Friday and failed to return. The body of Luke Gullberg has been found. Searchers hope that Katti Nolan and Anthony Vietti dug themselves into a snow cave in order to survive .


COUNTING 51 CERTAIN AYES Jonathan Karl counted heads on Capitol Hill for ABC. He concluded that Republican determination to filibuster healthcare reform legislation in the Senate was unanimous. Therefore Majority Leader Harry Reid needs all 58 Democrats plus the two independents that support his caucus to pass the measure.

Karl drew a pyramid to show the nine senators who are threatening to kill the bill. On top was independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut with his decision "to torpedo the latest compromise, which would expand Medicare coverage. Lieberman supported a similar Medicare expansion during his 2006 reelection campaign." Next comes Ben Nelson, who insists on tighter restrictions on abortion. Then there are Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu and James Webb, "who have expressed concerns about the cost of the bill." Lastly four liberals "may bolt" if the legislation is scaled down too much: Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown, Jay Rockefeller and Raymond Burris.


DIAGNOSIS CAN CAUSE ILLNESS Back in November 2007, when the New England Journal of Medicine warned that diagnostic CT scans were responsible for thousands of cases of cancer, Tyndall Report castigated NBC's Robert Bazell for his failure to point out that his corporate boss--General Electric--is a major manufacturer of the equipment in question. Now two years later the Archives of Internal Medicine issues a report that projects 15K annual cancer deaths from exposure to radiation in the 72m CT scans performed each year. The CT machines can be miscalibrated, with as much as a 13-fold variation in radiation dose. Both NBC's Bazell and CBS' in-house physician Jon LaPook covered the Archives' research. This time Bazell did the right thing and acknowledged General Electric's role--even as GE intends to cut its ownership of NBC from 80% to 49%.


WHAT IRONY? From London, ABC's Nick Watt narrated the videotape from Milan, showing the bloodied face of Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy who is facing charges of bribery and fraud. He was hit in the face by a souvenir statuette of Milan's cathedral. The spires broke his nose. "Ironically, this attack might shore up his waning popularity," Watt speculated. He did not explain what the irony was.


OVER PAR "Losing luster and money"--ABC's John Berman"His career seems in freefall"--CBS' Bill Whitaker (no link)"Reputation in freefall"--NBC's Lee Cowan (no link). All three newscasts continued to cover the fate of Tiger Woods. Yet, presumably because of rights issues surrounding fair use of copyrighted sports footage, only ABC decided to post its report as an online videostream. NBC's Cowan, in his report on Friday, calculated that "the amount of tabloid ink spilled on the Tiger Woods story would likely fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool"--which must surely be an underestimate. Both CBS' Whitaker and ABC's Berman warned that audiences for PGA tournaments will likely shrink now that Woods has decided to withdraw from competition. "When Woods was out with an injury last year TV ratings dropped by 50%," ABC's Berman reminded us.


YES, IRISH MAY APPLY ABC anchor Charles Gibson began his final week at the World News desk before retiring. "I must apologize a bit for what is to follow. It is somewhat self-indulgent," he confessed, as he introduced a montage of his political reporting during his 34 years at ABC News. Gibson called himself "a kid who grew up in Washington" working "in a profession that gets you inside the gates to report on those who live there." The most memorable pol Gibson ever covered? "I do not have to think about it." Gibson was assigned to Capitol Hill for six years to cover the Speaker "whose instincts for politics were flawless"--Tip O'Neill.