CONTAINING LINKS TO 35725 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARCH 18, 2010
For the second straight day the countdown to the climactic vote on healthcare legislation was the unanimous Story of the Day. ABC has led with healthcare every day this week. CBS and NBC joined ranks Wednesday. Now all three newscasts lead with their Congressional correspondents as the final wording of the amendment to the Senate bill is published and its pricetag is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office. Per the CBO, over the next ten years, the federal government will spend an extra $94bn annually to provide healthcare to the uninsured and will collect enough new taxes to shrink the deficit by an annual average of $14bn. NBC's newscast was anchored by substitute Ann Curry from Today.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR MARCH 18, 2010: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
click to playstoryanglereporterdateline
video thumbnailCBSHealthcare reform: universal and managed careHouse amendment posted, costs estimated by CBONancy CordesCapitol Hill
video thumbnailNBCHealthcare reform: universal and managed carePresident Obama cancels trip in order to lobbySavannah GuthrieWhite House
video thumbnailABCHealthcare reform: universal and managed careVP Biden lobbies by telephone while on the roadJake TapperNorth Carolina
video thumbnailNBCWar on Drugs: Mexico narcotics gang warsJuarez police outgunned by cartel turf violenceMark PotterMexico
video thumbnailCBSMoslems in western nations recruited by terroristsLinked to conspiracies after Internet contactsJan CrawfordWashington DC
video thumbnailABCCatholic Church pedophile priests sex abuse scandalPope under fire after Ireland, Germany exposesNick WattLondon
video thumbnailNBCAdoption of Haitian immigrant orphans controversyThose taken by Idaho missionaries back with kinNancy SnydermanHaiti
video thumbnailCBSSolar energy panels generate electricityArrays on roofs, in vineyards attract thievesJohn BlackstoneCalifornia
video thumbnailABCBrain surgery experiment for uncontrolable tremorsMusician plays violin while under stimulationRichard BesserNew York
video thumbnailNBCTV actor Fess Parker dies, aged 85ObituaryLee CowanLos Angeles
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
ALL EYES ON CAPITOL HILL SHOWDOWN VOTE For the second straight day the countdown to the climactic vote on healthcare legislation was the unanimous Story of the Day. ABC has led with healthcare every day this week. CBS and NBC joined ranks Wednesday. Now all three newscasts lead with their Congressional correspondents as the final wording of the amendment to the Senate bill is published and its pricetag is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office. Per the CBO, over the next ten years, the federal government will spend an extra $94bn annually to provide healthcare to the uninsured and will collect enough new taxes to shrink the deficit by an annual average of $14bn. NBC's newscast was anchored by substitute Ann Curry from Today.

ABC's Jonathan Karl channeled his inner Tim Russert by keeping track of the votes in the House of Representatives on a white chalkboard. Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs 216 votes for passage. Karl calculated that she needs to pick up just eight more from the total of 14 members who are still undecided.

CBS' Nancy Cordes showed us the handful of amendments that the House wants to add to the Senate bill in the process of passing it--just 153 pages worth. She assured us that the estimates of deficit reduction come from the "nonpartisan" CBO, which is "trusted by both parties as the authority on budget matters." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported on a "giddy" mood among Democrats when they discovered their bill's fiscal soundness. Tuesday NBC's Chuck Todd quoted his network's opinion poll as finding 46% support (45% opposed) for the legislation. CBS' Cordes countered with numbers from a Pew poll: 38% support, 48% opposition. CBS' White House correspondent Chip Reid (no link) offered another nugget from the Pew poll: 51% predict healthcare costs will rise if the bill passes. "That sounds bad, right?" he asked--except for the fact that 63% predict costs will rise in the event of its defeat.

At the White House, Barack Obama announced that he would cancel his already-postponed diplomatic trip to Indonesia and Australia in order to be on hand when the House vote is held. Congressional Democrats wanted "the President here, on the ground, closing the sale on healthcare, not halfway around the world," observed NBC's Savannah Guthrie. ABC's White House correspondent Jake Tapper was on the road with Vice President Joe Biden in North Carolina as he lobbied House Democrats by telephone. Among the waverers, Biden is targeting those pro-life Democrats who worry that the Senate bill may have a loophole that subsidizes healthcare plans that cover abortions. Tapper pointed out that Roman Catholic bishops oppose the bill for that reason whereas Roman Catholic nuns see no obstacle. "That is easy," Biden told Tapper. "I love the nuns."


MEXICAN DRUGS & SCANDINAVIAN CARTOONS NBC's Mark Potter followed up on the narcotraffickers' turf wars in Mexico by riding the streets of Juarez with an outgunned police force. Disappointingly, he did little to move the story forward, however, contenting himself with the obvious observation that Juarez-El Paso is a "lucrative smuggling route" because of its network of highways and railroads. He warned that Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville were heating up, too.

CBS' Jan Crawford concentrated on a much smaller threat: the handful of American Moslems who are suspected of signing up for jihadist terrorism. She ticked off the plots--and alleged plots--in which US citizens have been implicated: a plan to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist, the attack on luxury hotels in Mumbai, a bungled bid to bomb New York City subways, the shooting spree at Fort Hood by an army psychiatrist. She added a New Jersey man under arrest in Yemen and five DC-area students held in Pakistan--but did not tell us what plots they are accused of.

Unidentified "national security experts" told Crawford, vaguely, that "the Internet is emerging as a key recruiting tool." Of course, one could start any sentence with the phrase The Internet is emerging as… and complete it with innumerable examples, positive, negative and unimaginable. On ABC, Pierre Thomas did not try to make a trend of just a couple of cases. Colleen LaRose, whose nom d'Internet is Jihad Jane, pled not guilty to charges that she conspired to assassinate the Swedish cartoonist, who lampooned the Prophet Mohammed. David Headley of Chicago admitted a role in planning the Mumbai attacks and pled guilty to an unexecuted conspiracy to assassinate a pair of cartoon publishers in Copenhagen.


ABUSE OF CHILDREN AT THE HANDS OF CHRISTIANS NBC's Dawna Friesen and CBS' Mark Phillips got the timing right by choosing St Patrick's Day to report on Pope Benedict XVI's decision to write a letter of "repentance, healing and renewal" to the Roman Catholics of Ireland about child-molesting priests. ABC's Nick Watt now covers the same scandal a day later. The Holy Father himself "stands accused of complicity" in supervising the 30-year career of a pedophile priest in Germany, Watt noted. "There is no one who can fire the Pope except for the Almighty," the Rev Dr Thomas Patrick Doyle reminded us. Doyle is a doctor of canon law.

NBC's in-house physician Nancy Snyderman returned to Port-au-Prince to follow up on the group of 30-or-so children that Laura Silsby and ten fellow Baptist missionaries from Idaho tried to spirit out of Haiti to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic in the days after January's massive earthquake. Silsby is still in jail on suspicion of child trafficking. The children have been returned to their families: "It turned out not one child was an orphan."


FROM WINE TO WEED There was a cute twist in John Blackstone's report for CBS on California' latest crime spree. There "appears to be a black market in green technology." Thieves are taking solar power cells from roofs and selling them to construction contractors. A 12-square-foot panel can cost $1,000. The ironical trade for fencing panels was found in Napa Valley. Panels used to power vineyards are being knocked off to power indoor pot farms--from merlot to marijuana.


BRAIN SURGERY The day's best videotape was supplied by the Mayo Clinic and narrated by ABC's in-house physician Richard Besser. It showed open brain surgery being performed on Roger Frisch, a lead violinist in the Minneapolis Orchestra. Frisch suffered from uncontrolable tremors in the hands, ruining his bow work, threatening his career. Mayo decided that deep brain stimulation was indicated but its surgeons did not know just where to tap the gray matter. So Frisch played while they probed.


BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES NBC substitute anchor Ann Curry promised us that the mere mention of Fess Parker's screen credits would have you humming along. So here is Lee Cowan's obituary of Parker, dead at age 85. "Think of Elvis. Think of Beatlemania," suggested film historian Leonard Maltin. "This was bigger."