CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 04, 2010
What a slow day for news! There was not a single story that was newsworthy enough to warrant coverage by a correspondent from all three networks. NBC, with Brian Williams anchoring in Washington, kicked off with highlights from Karl Rove's memoir Courage & Consequences; neither of the other two newscasts mentioned the book. ABC selected statistics from California on increasing numbers of mothers dying in childbirth; neither of the other two newscasts mentioned the trend. CBS started in Boston where a new full-body scanning machine is being tested at the airport; neither of the other two newscasts mentioned it. There was no news that qualified as Story of the Day. Instead a feature investigation on CBS attracted most time--a probe of bungled police work in a Cleveland serial murder case.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 04, 2010: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailNBCWhite House former aide Karl Rove writes memoirCourage & Consequence discusses Iraq, KatrinaAndrea MitchellWashington DC
video thumbnailABCIraq: political progress, parliamentary electionsMany candidates on ballot, high turnout expectedMiguel MarquezBaghdad
video thumbnailCBSHealthcare reform: universal and managed careScramble to assemble House majority for billNancy CordesCapitol Hill
video thumbnailABCHealthcare reform: universal and managed careDemocrats argue over bill's abortion provisionJonathan KarlWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSSerial rape-murders exposed in Cleveland mass graveDetectives accused of bungling rape complaintsArmen KeteyianCleveland
video thumbnailCBSAirline travel: anti-terrorism security precautionsTSA tests full-body scanner at Boston terminalBob OrrBoston
video thumbnailABCChildbirth trends: maternal mortality increasesMore pregnant women are obese, more cesareansKate SnowNew York
video thumbnailNBCChile earthquake hits city of Concepcion: Richter 8.8Hard-to-reach fishing village is near epicenterMark PotterChile
video thumbnailCBSCruise liner buffeted by Mediterranean stormsFreak wave kills two Louis Majesty passengersMark PhillipsLondon
video thumbnailABCFormer Gov Sarah Palin (R-AK) in spotlightTries to sell Alaska-based TV reality seriesDavid MuirNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
A DAY OF NEWS THAT IS AS SLOW AS MOLASSES What a slow day for news! There was not a single story that was newsworthy enough to warrant coverage by a correspondent from all three networks. NBC, with Brian Williams anchoring in Washington, kicked off with highlights from Karl Rove's memoir Courage & Consequences; neither of the other two newscasts mentioned the book. ABC selected statistics from California on increasing numbers of mothers dying in childbirth; neither of the other two newscasts mentioned the trend. CBS started in Boston where a new full-body scanning machine is being tested at the airport; neither of the other two newscasts mentioned it. There was no news that qualified as Story of the Day. Instead a feature investigation on CBS attracted most time--a probe of bungled police work in a Cleveland serial murder case.

NBC groped for the puniest of news hooks for Andrea Mitchell's report on Rove's book. George Bush's political architect is launching his book tour just as elections are being held in Iraq. So Mitchell focused on Rove's explanation for his White House's case for war in the build-up to the 2003 invasion. Mitchell came so close to accusing Bush and Rove of fabricating a case for war but then stepped back. She quoted Rove as writing that without a threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, "Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution." Yet those WMDs did not exist. "So then did Bush lie us into war?" She quotes Rove: "Absolutely not."

Mitchell offered no further explanation from Rove's own words. So that bald denial just lay there. What was left was tease. Rove, we were told, has been booked for a three-part interview on NBC's Today.

As frustrating as that tease was, at least all three newscasts now have a correspondent in Iraq ahead of the weekend's elections. CBS had Elizabeth Palmer file on Wednesday. Now Miguel Marquez files from Baghdad for ABC. "An incredible place to see," he exclaimed, delighting at the now-bustling Shorja Market. NBC's Richard Engel was embedded with the USArmy's First Armored Division in Nasiriyah yet had little to show for it: "Troops are mostly confined to their bases. They rarely leave without Iraqi permission. It is a training mission now."


STUPAK FACT CHECKED CBS and ABC followed up on Wednesday's Story of the Day, the looming vote in the House of Representatives on the Senate's version of healthcare reform legislation. CBS' Nancy Cordes followed the whip count--the fiscal hawks who may switch from Nay to Aye because the Senate bill is more frugal than the House version; the pro-lifers who may switch from Aye to Nay because the Senate language on abortion is different. ABC assigned Jonathan Karl to file a Fact Check on whether the difference in the abortion language was substantive. Karl concluded that the case made by pro-lifer Rep Bart Stupak is not correct. Stupak argues that the Senate offers government subsidies for abortion. Karl quoted the provision in question: "If you choose a policy that covers abortion, you have to pay $1 a month out of your own pocket to pay for the abortion coverage. The insurance company is supposed to keep that dollar separate."


KUDOS TO KETEYIAN The death of the teenage jogger Chelsea King near San Diego has inspired scaremongering and inflammatory reporting from ABC's Terry Moran and CBS' Ben Tracy. Tyndall Report complained (here and here) about their reckless generalizations concerning parole registries of released sexual offenders.

Kudos, then, to Armen Keteyian for his Investigation on CBS into the case of Cleveland 's Anthony Sowell. Sowell is an ex-con who happened to be listed in a sexual offenders' registry. He stands accused in the serial murders of eleven women, charges to which he pleads not guilty. Yet Keteyian's reporting, admirably, confined itself to the specifics of this case. Unlike Moran and Tracy, he did not insinuate that all 700,000 ex-cons on registries nationwide deserved the scrutiny that Sowell failed to attract. Instead, Keteyian accused the Cleveland sex crimes unit of a simple failure to perform basic detective work. Almost a year before the eleven corpses were discovered in Sowell's home, he had been arrested after a complaint of attempted rape. He was released when detectives concluded that the woman's allegations were "unfounded." Keteyian cited statistics showing that Cleveland has the highest rape rate of any major city yet 65% of the cases go unsolved. Keteyian has a strong track record of investigating police failures to investigate rapes thoroughly. He exposed forensic shortcomings in testing rape kits (here and here) last November and inspired follow-up Senate hearings.


LEADING WITH FEATURES NOT NEWS ABC and CBS both kicked off their newscasts with extended features. CBS' Bob Orr filed from Boston's Logan Airport where the Transportation Security Administration has installed a full-body scanner. Orr took us behind the scenes for a demonstration of the "virtual strip search" that was not at all salacious, brimming with reassurance about privacy protections. Of the 2,100 security lands at airports nationwide, only 490 will use these scanners. It is "no magic bullet" against terrorism, Orr assured us.

ABC's Kate Snow worried that more women are dying in childbirth or in the immediate post-partum weeks. She found statistics from California that maternal mortality is now as high as it was more than 30 years ago. Having emphasized the risks of unnecessary cesarean sections and getting pregnant while obese, Snow put her report in perspective: "We should point out these deaths are not common. We are talking about 95 women dying in California in a year--out of a half a million births."


MAKING WAVES All three newscasts covered killer waves. NBC was the only network to persist with its earthquake coverage from Chile as Mark Potter arrived at the fishing village of Curanipe, close to the epicenter, where 40 campers were killed by the tsunami. ABC and CBS had London-based correspondents (Nick Watt and Mark Phillips) narrate homevideo from tourists aboard the Louis Majesty cruise liner off Barcelona. The ship steamed through a Mediterranean storm when a freak wave formed, 30 feet high. It crashed through the dining deck and killed two passengers.


THE HOUSEWIVES OF WASILLA ABC had David Muir explain television economics for its viewers. Producer Mark Burnett, who created Survivor thinks he has found an A-lister to set his latest reality TV series idea apart from a low-rent series like MTV's Jersey Shore. She has what "reality star wannabes do not have, a built in following. Take The Housewives of…-- well, you name the city. They once threatened to pull the show out from under producers, demanding six figures an episode, but in this industry, leverage is everything and the bosses answered: 'There are more Housewives… down the street.' There is only one Sarah Palin."