CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 09, 2009
The publicity blitz by Chesley Sullenberger and his crew from USAirways Flight 1549 qualified as Story of the Day. Sullenberger had ended his silence with the news media by granting an exclusive to CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday. Now the floodgates are open and it is all Sully all the time. Yet the recapitulation of the icy crash landing of his jetliner into the Hudson River last month was not exactly news so the networks reserved their feelgood features for the second half of their newscasts. ABC led with another exclusive, from ESPN, its sibling sports channel in the Disney media empire, in which baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez confessed to cheating. NBC and CBS both led with hard news as Barack Obama went on the road to campaign for fiscal stimulus legislation.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 09, 2009: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailABCEconomy is officially in recessionPresident Obama to Indiana to urge stimulusJake TapperWhite House
video thumbnailCBSUnemployment: corporate layoffs continueElkhart especially hard hit, 15% jobless rateDean ReynoldsIndiana
video thumbnailABCManufacturing industrial sector cuts back, retoolsGreen jobs revival from solar powered fansBill WeirIndiana
video thumbnailNBCManufacturing industrial sector cuts back, retoolsGreen jobs revival from solar roofing panelsAnne ThompsonMichigan
video thumbnailCBSCommercial banks in financial trouble, consolidateWells Fargo buys Wachovia with federal subsidySharyl AttkissonWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCFinancial industry trade show at Las Vegas resortLuxury event sponsored by federally-aided firmsLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCWild brush fires in Victoria, AustraliaWind whips flames in drought zone, kills 170Sara JamesAustralia
video thumbnailABCAfghanistan's Taliban regime aftermath, fightingSurvey finds civilian pessimism, insecurityMartha RaddatzAfghanistan
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Baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez admits cheatingSteroids doping for three years with RangersJohn BermanNew York
video thumbnailCBSUSAirways 1549 crash lands in NYC's Hudson RiverPilot Chesley Sullenberger has to cope with fameKatie CouricCalifornia
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
ALL SULLY ALL THE TIME The publicity blitz by Chesley Sullenberger and his crew from USAirways Flight 1549 qualified as Story of the Day. Sullenberger had ended his silence with the news media by granting an exclusive to CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday. Now the floodgates are open and it is all Sully all the time. Yet the recapitulation of the icy crash landing of his jetliner into the Hudson River last month was not exactly news so the networks reserved their feelgood features for the second half of their newscasts. ABC led with another exclusive, from ESPN, its sibling sports channel in the Disney media empire, in which baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez confessed to cheating. NBC and CBS both led with hard news as Barack Obama went on the road to campaign for fiscal stimulus legislation.

All three White House correspondents accompanied the President to Elkhart Ind, a town that was until recently the thriving center of the recreational vehicle manufacturing business. RV sales have slumped; plants have closed; and the unemployment rate in the county now stands at 15%. The message Obama's team wanted to communicate was that the heartland understands the urgency of the economic crisis even if some in Congress do not.

This is what the President's unidentified aides told NBC's Chuck Todd: "This event is a chance to explain what is going on in Elkhart to a polarized Washington rather than having to explain what is going on in Congress to hurting Americans." Those aides told ABC's Jake Tapper that "Washington is always the last town to figure out what is going on in the rest of the nation." CBS' Chip Reid reported that "until recently" the White House believed Obama "could sell the stimulus from the White House." When he garnered precious little Republican support on Capitol Hill "the President decided to take his message directly to the American people."

CBS' Reid quoted Gallup Poll statistics on approval for the actors in the stimulus drama: President Obama 67%; Congressional Democrats 48%; Congressional Republicans 31%.


RAYS OF HOPE IN THE HEARTLAND Tyndall Report pointed out on Friday that the nightly newscasts had already noticed that Elkhart is the embodiment of heartland misery, even before the Presidential visit. CBS' Dean Reynolds recapped the travails of the town's Dakota restaurant that his colleague Seth Doane had documented here and here. NBC and ABC tried to counter the jobless gloom with the prospect of green manufacturing. NBC's Anne Thompson traveled to Greenville Mich, an industrial town recently abandoned by Mexico-bound Electrolux. United Solar Ovonic has filled that vacuum by manufacturing flexible stainless steel solar panels for export to Spain and Korea, even New Jersey. ABC's Bill Weir revisited Elkhart's neighboring town of Warsaw to refresh our memories about Bill Keith's expanding SunRise Solar plant, which makes solar-powered roof extractor fans, exported to make sunny attics cooler in Hawaii and California, the Caribbean and Spain.


QUESTIONS FOR WELLS FARGO Tuesday is slated as the day for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to roll out his plan for spending the second $350bn tranche of the TARP bailout of the financial system. While CNBC's Steve Liesman filed a brief teaser on NBC, more attention was paid to the recipients of capital under the first TARP. NBC's Lisa Myers zeroed in on Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and FreddieMac as sponsors of the Annual Securitization Forum, a luxury conference of 4,000 financiers at Las Vegas' five star Venetian Hotel. The sponsors stand accused of accepting federal funds with one hand and subsidizing junkets with the other. NBC's Myers was fair: "In fact the dollar amounts are relatively small, $32.5K to be a sponsor" and FreddieMac had tried to withdraw after it was nationalized "but could not get a full refund so negotiated a lesser fee."

Sharyl Attkisson for CBS' Follow the Money feature made a more telling case against Wells Fargo. Its executives have promised that its $12.7bn buyout of Wachovia Bank was achieved entirely without federal help, using only its own capital. So what, wondered Attkisson, did Wells Fargo's press release mean when it mentioned "money raised by issuing stock and the capital investment from the government." Within six days, Attkisson reminded us, Wells Fargo flip-flopped from expressing no interest in Wachovia to closing the deal. "What changed so drastically?" The Internal Revenue Service revised its tax rules to give Wells Fargo a $25bn subsidy for a buying spree and Congress passed TARP. "That would provide $25bn in direct funds to Wells Fargo."


FIRE DOWN UNDER The brush fires in Victoria were so terrifying that all three newscasts saw fit to pay attention to the undercovered continent of Australia. ABC and NBC each had a correspondent on the scene; CBS had Barry Petersen voice over the Aussie videotape from Tokyo. ABC's Miguel Marquez (embargoed link) described a "blast furnace, fed by record heat, searing winds and miles of dry grass and brush." NBC's Sara James saw eucalyptus forests left "tinder dry" by a twelve-year drought. She showed us the damage from a 60-mile line of fire north of Melbourne that destroyed 750 homes and killed 170. The winds were so strong that cars were unable to outpace the flames. ABC's Marquez showed us a clip from Australian TV of a woman "who survived with her children in a wombat hole," its entrance covered with wet sheets.


AFGHANISTAN STANDS ON SHAKY GROUND Where Things Stand is the title of the occasional series ABC runs on public opinion in Iraq, co-funding a questionnaire survey with fellow broadcasters ARD from Germany and BBC from Britain. Now Martha Raddatz walks us through an Afghan Where Things Stand and the answer is on shaky ground. Some seven years after the United States military helped oust the Taliban regime "last year was by far the most dangerous." Right-track-wrong-track numbers are a mess: 77% saw Afghanistan moving in the right direction four years ago; 40% today. Support for NATO and US forces is 37% and "more Afghans now blame the violence on the United States than on the Taliban."


A RODíS A DOPE All three newscasts treated Alex Rodriguez' cheating as newsworthy enough to assign a correspondent to the slugger's confession but presumably because of copyright issues neither NBC's Mike Taibbi nor CBS' Armen Keteyian had his story posted online and ABC has John Berman's report behind an embargoed link. ABC did post a brief stand-up by Peter Gammons, the baseball reporter from ESPN's Sportscenter who conducted the interview. Rodriquez told Gammons that he was a doper at the Texas Rangers in 2001, 2002 and 2003: "I am very sorry and deeply regretful." During those three seasons Rodriguez averaged 52 home runs and 131 runs batted in. During all other seasons in his career--albeit in less batter-friendly home fields--his home run average has been 39. CBS' Keteyian played a clip from anchor Katie Couric's 60 Minutes interview with Rodriguez from 2007. "For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance enhancing substance?" "No."


RETELLING SURVIVAL ON THE HUDSON ABC had anchor Charles Gibson sit down with the crew of USAirways Flight 1549 plus a pair from the Waterway ferry that picked up passengers from the icy waters of the Hudson River off midtown Manhattan. Ferry captain Vince Lombardi recounted the delicacy of the rescue: "If I had hit the wing I probably would have disturbed the whole plane. I probably would have rocked it and people would have fallen off. Then we would have had an actual full water rescue on our hands."

Flight attendant Doreen Welsh told NBC's Tom Costello about panic inside the cabin: "A passenger knocked me over and went just wildly. I mean she was just frantic and she said Open the Door! Open the Door! and she cracked the door. I had to take her and get her away but she had put it up just enough that broke the seal and water came gushing in."

On CBS, anchor Katie Couric focused on the personal toll for pilot Chesley Sullenberger. His wife Lori called him "a changed man" after the accident. "It has been intense. It has been a blur. You know, the investigation, the first few days were difficult," Sullenberger recalled. He described returning home to his family: "I was not able to connect with them emotionally right away the way I hoped I would."