Friday, September 29, 2006

A Failed War, Corruption, And A Do Nothing Congress (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. I guess Anderson is on his way to the Congo. I'm really looking forward to that coverage, though I didn't expect him to leave so soon. Anyway, we've got John Roberts tonight and he leads us right into a Jamie McIntyre piece on a civilian contractor that was ambushed in Iraq when he turned down the wrong road. Preston Wheeler was working for Halliburton subsidiary KBR when he caught the ambush on his personal video camera. What he went through was pretty terrifying. When the ambush began, he called for help from the military that was traveling in his convoy, but they took off and no one came back for 40 minutes. He was shot twice and witnessed another contractor get killed. Wheeler feels like he was abandoned by the military, but a military investigation found the soldiers did things by the book. You might think I'm going to blame the military on this one, but I think it is very possible they did everything right. Poor Wheeler was cowering in his truck and wasn't able to assess the entire situation and what the troops were doing out of his view. After the piece we get Wheeler live and John mentions that this incident happened over a year ago and CNN has had the tape since April. Wha? If they've had it since April, why did they wait until now to go with it? Wheeler says KBR told him not to talk, but I'm a little perturbed at CNN now. Seriously, why did they sit on this? Wheeler says KBR terminated him due to his injuries and he thinks, "they don't no more care about me than they care about a dog walking on the road." I can't say I disagree with him here. These guys are slimey and in my view they are the ones primarily at fault in the first place. They should have provided better security, resources, and accurate maps. Wheeler thought about suing, but has been unable to find an attorney willing to take on the KBR giant. I wonder if someday they could do a class action against these guys. Surely Wheeler is not the only one who wants to sue.

Next up we have Michael Ware live to talk about the new tape from Al Qaeda in Iraq's new leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The tape calls for kidnapping of westerners and indicates they're trying to recruit nuclear scientists. The latter threat is pretty real and fairly terrifying. To get an idea of just how badly the US screwed up when it comes to this matter check out this Mother Jones piece from last year. It's what immediately popped into my head as soon as I heard Michael mention the nuclear scientists. A possible bright side is that Michael believes it's all just rhetoric. The recent poll is mentioned that indicates Iraqis want us out and Michael states that "US forces are simply unpopular in this country." He explains that in the beginning they gave us the benefit of the doubt, but it's been three years now and things are worse.

Transitioning now to Joe Johns and Suzanne Malveaux live to talk about Jack Abramoff and a new report that shows over 400 contacts between him and the White House. Hmm, but I thought they barely even knew who he was. Don't tell me they lied. Gasp! Joe tells us that nine of these contacts were with Karl Rove himself. Suzanne explains that the White House denies that Abramoff curried favor and they view the report as fradulent because it is made of billing records that they think are false. Suzanne notes that it's telling that the report hasn't even been released yet and the White House already has a response. Following this piece John gives us a little summary of the unbelievably big news that our Congress just did away with hapeas corpus for detainees. All we're getting on this is a summary?!! The foundation of our country just changed today and we're not even getting a full piece of coverage. 360 dropped the ball on this big time.

On now to a Dana Bash piece on our do nothing Congress. She ticks off the failures like immigration reform and privatizing social security, but really after the legislation they just passed I almost wish they would do nothing more often. The republicans of course blame all these failures on the democrats, which I guess makes sense since they control everything. Oh wait. No they don't. They don't control anything. Um, how is this their fault again?

Next we tackle the recent Bush speech where he claims the party of FDR has turned into the party of cut and run. Way to be a uniter there, dubya. And does that mean the party of Lincoln has turned into the party of preemptive war and torture? With us to discuss this we have democratic strategist Anna Greenberg and republican strategist Cheri Jacobus. Both women diss on the other party, but Jacobus says something really amazing. She believes Bush has been "very direct with the American people." Oh my. She's not drinking the koolaide anymore, she's having it IV'd in. She also tries to claim that immigration reform is currently being passed and John counters, "building a fence isn't immigration reform and there's no money to pay for it." Wow. Go John.

Transitioning now to a Tom Foreman piece on evil Citgo fuel. Citgo is owned by Venezuela and people want to boycott the company because Hugo Chavez called Bush the devil. I'm sorry, but this is stupid. First off, as noted in the piece, if we don't buy it, China will and this is actually going to hurt American owners. And do we really think that the other oil companies are pro-American? They're pro money. That's it. And if they could make more money selling out this country they'd do it in a second. Anyway, now 7-11 no longer sells Citgo fuel-though really they were going to stop selling it anyway.

Lou Dobbs then joins us live because, well, why wouldn't he? Lou, of course, did not like Chavez's comments. You know, I see a snippet of Lou's show every now and then and one topic he's been tackling is electronic voting. Why can't he go on all the CNN shows and talk about that instead? I do however have to give Lou props for pushing energy independence. Amen to that.

Next up we have a Peter Viles piece on what they call the Day Fire because it's a huge wildfire that started on Labor Day. In the piece we see a fire tornado. That's right, a fire tornado. I'd never seen anything like that before. Doesn't it sound like some sort of scenerio you'd see in a made for tv movie on Fox? I'm vaguely remembering a movie called something like "Atomic Train". Anyway, The Shot tonight is Borat, aka, Sasha Cohen, going to the White House and trying to get a meeting with Premier Bush. Pretty funny. I think I'll rent that movie when it comes out on DVD. Tonight's first hour was pretty solid (save the missing piece on the torture legislation), but the second hour had a lot of repeats and a lot of rehashing, so I'm not even going to review it. Of note was some Israel/Lebanon conflict coverage and a piece on a church leader who thinks he's better than Jesus. Ooookay. B-

Also, my apologies to Mr. Cooper for the prior "hot date" comments. Apparently it takes a really long time to get to the Congo. They're in transit. Is everybody else looking forward to the Africa coverage as much as I am? And for discussion: What is your opinion on private contractors in Iraq and what do you think about a Citgo boycott?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fighting Allies And Polygamy Returns (Wednesday's Show)

Hey guys. We begin tonight with emmy award winning Anderson Cooper giving us what is perhaps the Best Flub Ever. Anderson corrected himself quickly, so probably not many people caught it, but as he went to say "president Bush", it came out "president duh." He was either going for Dubya or it was just an awesome Freudian slip. Whatever it was, I certainly got a kick out of it. Anyway, I guess I should get on with the show. The lead story tonight is the bickering going on between Hamid Karzai and Perez Musharraf. In a piece by Suzanne Malveaux we're told both presidents are accusing each other of not doiong enough to fight terrorists. Karzai is mad about the deal Pakistan cut with tribal leaders and Musharraf thinks Afghanistan is weak and Karzai is not taking responsibility for his failures. Oh boy. I can't say I didn't see this coming. My guess is that if it gets bad enough Karzai will be pushed out. Pushing out Musharraf is not possible. However, we're no where near that point yet. After the piece we get Suzanne live and she's basically cooling her heels and waiting for a dinner with Bush, Musharraf, and Karzai to be over.

Next up we have a John Robert's piece that aims to analyze just how good our allies really are. It is noted that both leaders have very complicated political situations and neither controls their whole country. The Taliban is currently gaining ground in Afghanistan, but that seems to be part of Pakistan's plan. Karzai is doing a bad job cracking down on poppy growing because he doesn't want to anger war lords and Musharraf is doing a bad job tracking down Bin Laden because to catch him would be political suicide. Basically these two aren't great, but Karzai is loyal and Musharraf is about as good as we're going to get. So...yay? When the piece ends we get Peter Bergen live and they pretty much go over stuff we've heard several times before. Peter thinks that Pakistan is using the Taliban as a kind of insurance card that they can play when need be.

On now to a Michael Ware piece that shows us some really fierce fighting going on in Ramadi. The battalion he is with has lost 17 guys in just seven months and the general admits he does not have enough troops to win the battle. Are you hearing this Bush? You say you listen to the guys on the ground. This is a guy on the ground saying he needs more troops to win. Give them more troops or pull them out. "Stay the course" is a slogan, not a policy. Michael then joins us live and Anderson asks, "Do they feel like their voices are being heard?" Michael says they basically just want their story told. Anderson also asks if they're still doing things like building schools (Remember when the media used to get slammed for not covering that stuff enough?) , but a departing civil affairs head has said they've given up on that. Basically the battle for hearts and minds is over and we lost big time. Now they're mostly just trying to prop up the government.

Next Anderson informs us that a new poll has found that 71% of Iraqis want the US out of their country within a year. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't dear leader at one point say that we would leave when asked? I guess they were talking about the puppets they help prop up and not the actual Iraqi people. Because who really cares about them anyway, right? Not us obviously. We call that collateral damage. 3,000 Americans die and we completely freak out. Hundreds of Iraqis die EVERY SINGLE WEEK and we shrug. Sorry. Right before writing this I learned of the vote on the detainee bill, so I'm a little bitter. Anyway, the stats segway us into a piece from Jamie McIntyre concerning the internal military battle over war plans. Right now our strategy is "clear, hold, and build." For those keeping score at home, that's the same strategy we had for Vietnam. And that worked out just peachy, didn't it? General Casey believes the war is in transition and basically everyone is now putting all their victory eggs in a unity government basket. Sorry if I'm not optimistic.

Big transition now to...polygamy! This story just won't die. I guess I should be thankful they didn't play that creepy tape of Warren Jeffs singing. Because I swear to God if they do that again I will find a way to make them all listen to John Ashcroft singing "Let the Eagle Soar". Be kind to your viewers, 360. Torture is bad. So anyway, Jeffs is in court and he's charged with arranging marriages to underage girls. His attorney has this really freaky looking bow tie. Maybe he's Tucker Carlson's dad. You all can probably figure out by my comments I didn't pay much attention to all this because I don't care. I'm really, really glad he's caught, but I don't want to see full pieces on him anymore Poor Gary Tuchman is on the case again and he says Jeffs' followers have become even more insular (if that's possible) and he's never been anywhere on the planet where he gets such an unwelcome reception. Aw Gary, I would totally talk to you. Poor Gary is going to have self esteem issues when this is all over.

We move on to a taped Harry Reid interview that Anderson intros as "in his own words." In the tape, Reid, a mormon himself, rails against polygamy, but I wasn't really listening because I was too fascinated by meta issues. I want to know where this interview came from. Reid looks to be in his office and he's talking to someone, but our camera isn't over the interviewer's shoulder like normal, it looks to be coming at him from the side. And we never hear or see the interviewer. Did 360 jack someone else's interview? Inquiring minds want to know. Following the interview we have a Rick Sanchez piece where he goes up in a plane and shows us this big polygamist compound in Texas. I have a really hard time taking Rick seriously.

Next Anderson gives us a clarification about the clogging piece they did the night before. Oh good. Because if you'll remember I was a little confused. Apparently the money Hal Rogers got did not build the center. Well that clears things up. Except, uh, totally doesn't. In fact that makes it even more confusing. You know what? I'm just going to let it go and choose to believe someone at 360 is just really amused by clogging. Maybe there was some sort of bet made. Who knows? But that's all the brain space I'm using on this. The Shot tonight is....OUCH! This woman totally got pierced through the foot and you pretty much have to see it. After The Shot there is a little piece on Musharraf's Daily Show appearance. Did you guys watch it? So funny. Anderson agrees, "pretty darn funny." And so weird to see someone like that on there. Jon is my fake news hero. And he's got a little Oprah effect going on too because Musharraf's book bumped up to #4 on Amazon.

This is about the time that 360 does their best to totally confuse me. Anderson had said there would be a taped second hour, so I figured I was done for the night. However, when the second hour began they ran the (now taped) beginning from the first hour, which really threw me. And then suddenly Anderson's live again. WTF? The reason for this is apparently because that dinner Suzanne Malveaux was waiting on just ended, lasting longer than expected. She and Anderson then discuss stuff like body language and basically a bunch of speculation that's really not helpful and not worth staying live.

Next we have a repeat of the John Robert's piece and at this point I don't know if they're staying live for the hour, reruning the first hour, or running a special. After the piece, there's Peter live again. He and Anderson talk a little and Peter says Afghanistan is starting to look like 2003 Iraq. However, Afghans tend to be more pro-American than Iraqis. Eh, give them time, Peter. Give them time Peter then takes a breath to say more, but Anderson totally cuts him off. He is ready to go, people. I think Anderson has a hot date. In his hurry, Anderson proceeds to completely butcher the word "proliferation". It takes him about three tries to get it out and even he can't help but laugh. "It's getting late," he tells us. Yes it is. But, uh, you do this the same time every night. Heh. Like I said, Anderson totally has a hot date. Tonight was a pretty eh show. C+

Screencaps by liberation337 and stormi0611.

So what do you guys think about the bickering between Musharraf and Karzai? And...have you had enough of polygamy?

Keith Olbermann: Our Own Murrow

Hey everybody. I know this blog is about a CNN show, but I think I need to give a little love to my other favorite news guy, Keith Olbermann. Any other Countdown fans out there? Anyway, Keith has been on fire lately with his special comments. Check out his latest:

Also, as my previous post states, I didn't watch the show tonight, so I have no idea what's going on here:

But it cracked me up anyway! Thanks to liberation337 for the cap. I did get to watch the show tease and it looks like I missed a good one. I'm particularly interested in seeing the orphan piece. I caught a minute of it this afternoon, but had to get back to work. I wasn't bummed though because I knew it was exactly the kind of thing 360 would cover. I'm a little nervous to see how they did with the Bush/Clinton fact checking. Not a hack job I hope. Anyway, talk about the show and show your Keith love in the comments.

PS: Cards lost. Boo.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

War And Clogging (Monday's Second Hour)

We open the hour with more calls for Rumsfeld to resign and then go straight into a repeat of the earlier Tom Foreman piece, followed by a rerun of the Suzanne Malveaux piece. Then we get a taped interview Anderson did with Major General Paul Eaton and Lieutenant Colonel Robert McGinnis. Eaton thinks we didn't plan for phase four of the war and Rumsfeld incompetently tried to fight the war on the cheap. He'd like to see a Manhattan Project type approach to solving the problem. Really the only BS thing he says is he thinks the Iraqi forces are on their way to "standing up". Well, that might be true, but who are they standing up for? According to Michael Ware many of those forces are infiltrated by death squad members. Eaton may be a general, but I'm going with Michael on this one. McGinnis on the other hand is pretty much a total bush apologist. He parrots the 'fighting them over there' BS and says that Bin Laden has said Iraq is the epicenter of the War On Terror. I'd like to know why we're letting Bin Laden direct our foreign policy. Following the interview we get the sobering news that we've now hit 2,700 soldiers killed in Iraq.

On now to a Brian Todd piece on the French report that Saudi intelligence is saying Bin Laden might have a water born illness. It's possible he could have E coli or something. E coli? Has he been eating spinach? Anyway, they say this could be significant because his immune system might be damaged from a gas attack in the 1980's. My guess is that if anything comes of this we'll be hearing something around late October.

Next up we have a piece from Nic Robertson on what Al Qaeda might look like after Bin Laden. Basically people are very loyal to the man, but even if he dies it won't end Al Qaeda because groups can operate independently. It might not end Al Qaeda, but you know it might be nice for the man that killed 3,000 Americans to be held accountable.

Anderson now intros us into a Keeping Them Honest from Joe Johns. He's been teasing video of people clogging and now he urges us to, "get out your clogging shoes kids." Darn. I seem to have misplaced my clogging shoes. Joe then tells us about Hall Rogers, a congressman from Kentucky who has been accused of luring businesses to his district by using his power over homeland security. They call him the prince of pork and he's even used the money to build a big community center, which I think is where the clogging comes in. Although actually I'm really not sure. Seriously, did I miss the clogging? They clog at the center, is that all it was? I don't really think that merits the big clogging previews they did. Somebody really wanted to roll footage of cloggers.

Transitioning now to a repeat piece from Anderson on the Clinton interview and then we see another run of the David Gergen interview. This is followed by a Jeanne Moos piece that gives us a unique take on the situation. Then we're on to a repeat of Randi's piece that is followed by headlines. Hey, they moved the Pope story to the headlines just like I suggested. Keep listening to me guys, you won't be sorry. Heh. The Shot tonight is a road rage incident among race car drivers. Anderson dubs it "three stooges meets Bruce Lee." We then end the night with the crappy news that a woman's rights advocate has been killed in Afghanistan and this segways nicely into a piece from last week on the vice and virtue police. And...we're out.

Announcement: I'm going to a baseball game tonight (Go Cards!) and will therefore have to tape 360. If it's in any way an exceptional show I'll do a regular review and post it this weekend. Otherwise, I'll probably just post a general comment or two about it-if that. Please feel free to use the comments to discuss anything they cover. Tawk amongst yourselves. Heh. Be good, kiddies. Wednesday's show should be posted as usual.

Screencaps by sherynroyce

A Smackdown From Our Last Great President (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. I hope you had a nice weekend. Before we jump in I'm going to need to complain about the teaser again. "The Big Dog Barks?" Please stop. I know I'm never going to get the quietness and graphicless presentation of PBS, but toning it down a little won't kill anyone. Anyway, on with the show. We begin tonight on the new leaked summary of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and guess what? Iraq is actually making things worse in terms of world terrorism. In other news, the sky is blue and ice is cold. Seriously, all you really need is a pulse to know that Iraq is making things worse. Anderson intros us into a Tom Foreman piece, which basically sums up what I just said (though perhaps with a bit less snark). We also get to hear the reaction to the NIE from war supporters and that reaction is essentially, "La la la la I can't hear you la la la la."

On now to a piece from Suzanne Malveaux that tackles the White House side. Not in any way surprisingly, they say that the NIE does not actually say what we think it says. Up is down. Black is white. War is peace. Basically the deal is that what was leaked was a summary and they say that real NIE has good stuff in it too. So can we see proof of that? Nope. Sorry. That's classified. Pat Roberts, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee actually wants to declassify it to prove their point, but I've got a couple of issues here. First of all, they could just declassify the stuff that makes them look good (don't think they wouldn't do that) and second of all, if they can just show us stuff willy nilly for political purposes, what the hell do we classify things for in the first place?

With us live next to discuss all this we have John King, John Roberts, and Candy Crowley. John King thinks people have already made up their mind on the war, so this may not make that big of difference politically. They seem to all agree that the defining issue is whether or not you agree we should be over there, we can't just leave. Except, we can't just stay either.

Transitioning now to a live assessment with Michael Ware and Peter Bergen. Michael says that the fact that Iraq has been worsening has been "self evident here on the ground since at least...2004." Anderson wants to know if US officials should have seen this coming. Um, yes. Peter agrees and then he pokes a hole in their stupid, "we'll fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here" argument by reminding us that the terrorists are not a finite group of people, meaning their ranks keep growing. Michael then states that Iraq fuels the terrorist's platform and Peter adds that "terrorist attacks have gone through the roof" since the war began. Mission Accomplished.

Next up we have a Randi Kaye piece that was done in partnership with the Associated Press. Apparently sexual misconduct is out of control among military recruiters. Randi interviews a woman and her teenage daughter, who was raped by a recruiter. The mother trusted this guy because you would expect to be able to trust a military recruiter. Not so. A total of 80 recruiters have been disciplined for sexual misconduct and that comes out to 1 in every 200. Scary. Also noted, is that in a little known provision of No Child Left Behind, recruiters are given major access to teenage students, including their addresses and phone numbers. Something not mentioned in the piece (which might have been helpful) is the fact that parents can opt out of having their kid's information given to the military, but they have to actively request it, otherwise the info is given out automatically. I know this piece was on recruiters, but I'd like to see some investigation into troop on troop sex crimes being committed in Iraq. I've been hearing things and I'd like to know how true they are.

On now to an Anderson piece on the Clinton/Chris Wallace interview. You know, Bush acts angry in interviews all the time. Why is that never a huge story? Anyway, Anderson basically sums up the interview and then gives us a little response from Wallace, who didn't think Clinton's anger was preplanned. For anyone living under a rock, Clinton went on Fox News to talk about his global initiative, but instead was asked about his failure to get Bin Laden. Then Clinton got mad. Very mad. He believed he was lured on the show under false pretenses and then stated that though he failed to get Bin Laden he did try and he came closer than anyone else has. Rock on, Bill.

Transitioning now to a fact check from Jamie McIntyre on what Clinton said. This is a fairly decent piece that pretty much vindicates everything Clinton said, though they did throw in right winger Louis Freeh. Mentioned is the fact that critics said Clinton was trying to Wag the Dog when it came to going after Bin Laden and he was unable to get good intelligence on who really did the USS Cole until after the 2000 election. What I would have liked to see in this piece is an investigation into the right wing conspiracy. They mention that Clinton says he was set up by ring wingers, yet where's the reporting? There is a right wing conspiracy and it needs to be exposed. Follow the money, people. Read David Brock's books. Google "Arkansas Project". It's there. I didn't believe it until I saw it myself. And the very same people who are blaming Clinton for 9-11 were the ones screaming 'wag the dog' back then and financing projects to find anything they could get on him. All evidence concludes that the Monica fiasco did not distract Clinton from fighting terrorism, but if it had, it wouldn't be his fault, it would be the fault of those that created the distraction.

In the studio now we've got "Jawbreaker" author Gary Berntsen. He explains that during Clinton's first term he cut back on some programs and that wasn't helpful, but during his second term they were kicking butt and destroying networks around the world. However, Gary says he didn't want to go into Afghanistan or Somalia with troops and he implies that was a bad thing. I'm not so sure there Gary. Basically Clinton handled terrorism like law enforcement (which is now it should be). It should be noted that neither Anderson nor Gary mention anything about Bush's first eight months in office. Hello? Maybe that would be a good question to have asked. What did Bush do in his first eight months to fight terrorism? You know what I think the answer is? A big, fat, nothing. Anyway, Anderson asks if Bush is fighting terrorism effectively now and Gary says yes and no. Okay then.

Transitioning now to David Gergen live and though this might break Anderson's heart, I'm going to have to reveal that I totally saw The Gerg cheating on Anderson with Brian Williams. He was even using some of the same lines and observations. Oh Anderson, I know it hurts now, but there are plenty of other former presidential advisors in D.C. Aaaanyway, The Gerg thinks that Clinton felt he was sandbagged. Anderson says that Bill Kristol thinks Clinton planned it. Well, I think no one should listen to Bill Kristol. Ever. The man is wrong about everything. How's that project for the new american century coming along for you, Billy? The Gerg then brings up the hack job ABC miniseries and how that's partly probably what brought out angry Clinton. He also mentions that this might be good for democrats because Clinton got a lot of congratulatory calls and emails, so it could be a symbolic moment.

Closing out the hour, Anderson previews a story coming up that involves clogging. Then he "yee haws". Loudly. No, I'm not kidding. Tonight was okay. There are a fair amount of repeats next hour, so tonight gets a B-

Screencaps by liberation 337.

I'm going to do a little experiment and start asking questions to see if we can generate a discussion. What did you guys think about the Clinton interview? Was he justified in his anger? Was he set up? Do you think there's a vast right wing conspiracy?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Weekend Fun: My (Indirect) Interview With Anderson Cooper

Have you ever wondered what you might say if you ever ran into a journalist or politician in an airport or someplace? Just me then? See, after watching the country more or less go to crap over the last few years I've increasingly been thinking of things I'd like to say or ask of those in power and those holding those in power accountable. However, I live in St. Louis and I've only ever even been on an airplane twice in my life, so I figured I would never get the opportunity.

Then last spring I found out that Tonight Show intern Ross Mathews would be interviewing Anderson Cooper for his blog and he was requesting questions. I thought to myself, "hey, I've got questions. What the hell?" So I emailed Ross some questions I had been holding in my head for quite a while, just waiting for a journalist to cross my path. Ross, BTW, is a really cool guy. Very enthusiastic. He then emailed me back right away to say he received my questions and they were really good. After some waiting, I found that one of the questions Ross used in the interview was mine:
My Question: Lately there seems to be an endless strain of depressing news - Iraq, Katrina, corruption, scandal, global warming, and the list goes on. As someone who is immersed in all of this on a daily basis, how do you keep yourself from getting down?

Anderson's Answer: I think it’s easy to focus on the bad news, but it’s important to remember that human beings are capable of anything. Great acts of brutality and barbarism, but also extraordinary acts of kindness and compassion. I find that comforting. Terrible things happen, but the world keeps spinning.
So that was pretty cool. Then a few weeks back my pal Stillife went to a talk Anderson had with Charlie Rose at the 92nd Street Y. She mentioned they might take questions, so I decided to send one with her. And guess what? It was the first one they asked. Anyway, here's excerpts from Stillife's most excellent recap:
The auditorium was packed. We had good seats – Row G near the center. As we were seated, we were given index cards to write questions for Anderson – I wrote Eliza’s question, “Do you think it’s more important to tell stories that people want to hear or stories they need to hear?”

Then came the Q&A session. My (Eliza’s) question was the first one that Charlie read. Both Anderson and Charlie said that it was a really good question. Anderson said (are you listening, Eliza?), “Realistically, it’s gotta be a mix - if all you’re going for is ratings it’s pretty easy to program a whole show” on that basis. He said that fortunately, CNN says that not all ratings are crated equal. He talked about staying in Israel after other reporters had gone home and said that people weren’t writing in begging him to stay there. “I’d rather be able to sleep at night.”

That left him wide open for the next question: Charlie asked him, “What have you done that prevented you from sleeping at night?”

Anderson said, “A lot! Why do you think so many people use Ambien?”
Okay, so nothing groundbreaking here. The answers have been pretty much what one might expect, but now I've got the bug. My new completely pointless goal is to somehow get a full interview out of Mr. Cooper. I figure ten questions total ought to do it. So, assuming my math is correct and assuming I will continue to be able to indirectly ask Anderson a question every three months or so (and what could possibly go wrong there?), I expect to have the interview completed sometime around September 2008. Stay tuned!

So what was the point of this post? Well, not all that much actually, but I thought I'd open up the floor. What career related question would you like to ask Anderson, or any journalist for that matter?

Musharraf Book Pimping And More Pope Bashing (Friday's Show)

Hey everybody. It's the weekend! Tonight we begin with Bush and Musharraf's weird little press conference in which they try to sell a book. A piece from Suzanne Malveaux lays it out for us. In an interview that is to air on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Musharraf reveals that after 9-11 Richard Armitage of the State Department told him that if he didn't cooperate with the US on terrorism Pakistan would be bombed back to the stone age. Armitage denies the claim. During the joint press conference Musharraf is asked about what he said and he basically tells everyone his book drops the 25th and they should check it out. WTF? Suzanne then joins us live and explains that both leaders are under pressure at home, but they need each other too.

Next up we have a Brian Todd piece which is basically tribal leader deal redux. Pakistan struck a deal with tribal leaders and now Taliban leaders have actually been launching more raids. Brian reports that part of the reason this deal was struck is because when the Pakistanis battled the Taliban the Pakistanis would get their "head handed to them." Maybe the Taliban wouldn't be so strong now if we would have kept the focus on them instead of going to Iraq. Anybody else feel like banging their head against a wall?

In the studio now we have Gary Berntsen, author of "Jawbreaker" and he explains that how likely we are to launch an attack against Bin Laden inside Pakistan depends on how close he is to the border. He says that the tribal deal is about domestic politics for Musharraf and the only thing worse for the US than letting Bin Laden go would be to loose Musharraf. Also noted is that Bin Laden is able to hide so well because he is extremely low tech. Or maybe he's dead. That would be really low tech. Anderson then lets us know the rewards for some of these guy's captures. Taliban leader Mullah Omar can net up to $10 million and he's thought to be in Quetta, so Anderson says, "If you happen to go to Quetta and you see him--$10 million." What a coincidence. I was just planning my next vacation for Quetta. I hear it's very jihadi this time of year.

We transition now to a Brent Sadler piece on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's first public appearance since the Lebanon war. And what an appearance it was. Hundreds of thousands filled the streets to hear him speak about, among other things, the 20,000 rockets he says he still has. The Israelis on the other hand think Hezbollah is weakened. Well I hope they're right, but thinking/wishing it doesn't make is so.

To talk about this, we have Lebanese journalist Hisham Melhem joining us live. I think he was on before, but I wasn't able to get his name down. Anyway, Anderson and Hisham talk about how there is basically a battle for Lebanon going on between the followers of Hezbollah and the cosmopolitan Beirut of old. It is noted that Nasrallah likes to talk about unity government, but he does all he can to get rid of his critics. They also talk about how Israel is claiming this as a victory, but Anderson points out that the soldiers aren't free and no one is even talking about dismantling Hezbollah anymore. As we run out of time Anderson turns all problem solver and talks about how we need to figure out to support the Lebanon moderates more. I agree.

Next they run a little bit of the Ahmadinejad interview. Again. They're gonna pimp this for all it's worth. The clip shown includes Anderson's zinger about how we have a free press-unlike Iran. Me thinks Anderson is proud of that comment. Anyway, on now to a Delia Gallagher piece with more Pope details. The faith and values correspondant is getting a workout this week, people. We usually hardly ever see her and now she's on every day. The latest developments included hundreds of people marching through Kashmir due to anger about the Pope's comments. One leader wants the Pope to take the comments back. In reply the Pope issued a statement that said, "I know you are, but what am I?" Okay, I might have made that part up. I have to say I think I'm getting a little Pope fatigue. I think it's time for them to move this story to just headlines unless something major happens. Of note is that some moderate leaders think in the end the comments might be a good thing because they will open a dialogue. I guess we'll see. People will probably have to stop calling the Pope 'Satan' first though.

With us live now we have Fewaz Gerges, the lover of Anderson's name. Last time Fewaz joined us he couldn't stop saying it. This time he holds back a little. Fewaz thinks great damage has been done by the Pope's comments and he and Muslim leaders must repair it. He says no one is suggesting Muslims should not be criticized, but why insult them at their deepest core? Also, every speaker he has seen has called for peaceful resistance. Anderson then reads him a quote from Charles Krauthammer on the subject and I really wish he would have chosen someone else to quote because I don't think anyone actively advocating war with Iran is really all that credible. But I guess that's neither here nor there. Anyway, Anderson asks if there can be open discussion about Islam without mobs and death threats. Fawaz then goes on this long spiel about how the countries we are see the riots in are filled with political and economic oppression and therefore people turn to religion . Okay, I can agree with that, but it didn't really answer the question.

Up next we have a preview of Christiane Amanpour's special "Where Have All The Parents Gone?" The special deals with AIDS in Africa and how it's leaving many children parentless. In the preview we follow a little boy in Kenya whose parents are infected. The special airs this weekend. Watch it.

Our final piece tonight is from Dan Simon who informs us that someone is plastering stickers that say "BNE" all over San Francisco. There's plenty of speculation about what they stand for with one guess being, "Bush Not Elected." I like that guess. The stickers are hard to get off and are costing the city a lot of money, so the cops are on the case. And that's about it. Not much point to this piece, but it was kind of funny and only took up three minutes, so I'm not complaining. That's it for tonight because next hour is a taped special. B
Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate.

Screencaps by stormi0611.

Friday, September 22, 2006

From A Fiery Speaker To The Country On Fire (Thursday's Second Hour)

We open the second hour with a Zaine Verjee piece on Hugo Chavez and I actually didn't pay attention because I initially thought it was a repeat. Oops. But seriously how much Chavez coverage do we really need anyway? After the piece we get a little bit of rerun of the Ahmadinejad interview and then we go back to the studio where Aneesh Raman joins us live. It's good to see Aneesh somewhere he doesn't have to worry about his safety. Aneesh let's us in on the fact that Ahmadinejad really isn't all that popular at home and the Iranians don't care about the nuclear program as much as we'd might think. They're nationalistic about it, but actually more worried about the economy. Also of note is that off camera an Iranian told Aneesh he likes Bush because Bush got rid of Saddam, but on camera the same guy says Bush is Satan. Man, wouldn't it be a trip if Bush's actual approve rating in Iran is higher than it is here? Rick Sanchez and Gary Tuchman also join us via satellite and Rick mentions that Chavez got a law passed in Venezuela that bans speaking out against him, which is something some Venezuelans see as hypocracy. Gary says Chavez is the shock jock of politics. Going back to Ahmadinejad, Aneesh mentions the little talked about notion that the Iranian president has a messianic vision and thinks the world will end soon. That can't be good. The rapture ready people freak me out enough as it is and they're not trying to get nukes--well that I know of anyway.

On now to a Jamie McIntyre piece on how the US wouldn't wait for permission to go get Bin Laden inside Pakistan. Basically there's not much new here, though some Raw Data from Anderson teaches us that Pakistan has 115 million people and is twice the size of California.

The next piece comes from Bill Nealy of ITN and I'm kind of fascinated by the whole meta workings of news sharing because I saw this same piece on the NBC Nightly News. Does anybody get to use footage from ITN? Anyway, Bill brings us video of a scary Taliban ambush on British troops in southern Afghanistan. Luckily all troops came out unscathed, but it just goes to show that the Taliban are still a force to be reckoned with.

Transitioning now to a David Mattingly piece, which I think is the most important of the hour. You may remember the horrific story of a 14 year old Iraqi girl that was raped and murdered by US soldiers. The only reason they didn't get away with it is because another soldier blew the whistle on them. That whistleblower's name is Justin Watt and in my view he's a hero. Unfortunately, the military doesn't view these kind of things as heroic and Justin was so worried that he wasn't going to make it home alive he wrote a last letter to his parents. I just can't understand this. The military is suppose to be a place of courage and honor. This man did something courageous and honorable and then had to fear for his life because of it. Obviously all of the military can't be painted with one brush, but sometimes the code of honor doesn't seem so honorable. Justin is not allowed to talk about the case or his testimony and he still has two more years in the army. I hope they are good years. Also, what a joke it is that criminals and incompetents are given the presidential medal of freedom and people like Justin are not. If only this blog could hand them out.

On now to a Peter Viles piece on our record year of wildfires. They started early this year and have taken out 1.5 million acres in Nevada alone. After the piece we get Peter live form Los Padres National Forest and he tells us the weather is going to shift and perhaps make things more difficult. Continuing with the subject of fire we get a Gary Tuchman piece on how Montana is using computer software to better fight the fires. We then get Gary live from the nerve center in Montana and he walks around asking the people at their computers what they're working on. I don't know why, but that kind of cracks me up. Back now to another piece from Peter on a female fire commander. Man, this is a lot of fire coverage. Maybe I'm prejudice against fires, but did we need all this? I would have traded one of these pieces for some Thailand coup coverage.

Next up we've got a piece from Susan Candiotti on the teenager whose father was let out of jail to donate him a kidney, but skipped town instead. Anderson informs us the kid ended up getting the much needed kidney from an anonymous donor "despite his deadbeat dad." Anyway, the jerk dad is still on the lam.

We had a The Shot tonight, but I sort of missed. It was guys stuck on some sort of ski lift thingee. Or something. Anyway, the second hour was definitely weaker than the first. That's it for the night.

Screencaps by stormi0611 and liberation337.

America's Many Enemies (Thursday's First Hour)

What's up, people? Anderson is sporting his young republican tie again. I told you he wears it a lot. We begin tonight discussing Hugo Chavez, who's having a grand old time calling Bush any name that pops in his head. Anderson refers to him and Ahmadinejad as, "blowhards with plenty of oil." Christine Romans then gives us a piece regarding Chavez's most recent comments, which referred to Bush as a "cowboy" and "ex-alcoholic." We learn that though very loud and annoying, Chavez is giving 100 million gallons of oil to US poor. And I know that was mostly political, but I don't think Chavez is all bad. I mean, we don't even see our own country helping the poor that much. I just wish he'd shut up.

Next we have Rick Sanchez live from Caracas and he indicates that Chavez's comments play well there. Of note is that the government wanted to see some of the video that Rick and crew shot. That certainly doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy. We also learn that as the fifth largest oil producer in the world, Venezuela is swimming in petrol dollars. After this we get a clip of Ahmadinejad and then some rehash of the interview Anderson did with him Wednesday.

On now to a Tom Foreman piece that fact checks Ahmadinejad's claims about nuclear programs. First off, he basically called the US hypocritical because we have our own nukes, but Tom reports we haven't done any testing for 14 years. However, a quick google brought up this, so I don't know what to think. I admit I haven't really done any research. Anyway, Ahmadinejad claims the IAEA has been monitoring the program, but in reality the Iranians started in secret--initially flat out lying to them. Regarding Israel, Ahmadinejad says, "zionists are zionists period...they are a power group." It's unclear how much he really believes and how much is a sales job.

Transitioning now to a taped interview with The Gerg (David Gergen) who thinks that all this criticism of Bush might actually help him at home. Anderson notes that Holocaust denial doesn't play well here. You think? I'm loathed to admit it, but I am a little annoyed at them coming to our country and criticizing Bush so harshly. That's my job! Apparently Charles Rangel and Nancy Pelosi feel that way too. The Gerg thinks this has been the best three or four weeks Bush has had since Katrina and Anderson seems surprised by this. Also noted is that Bush's crazy base is starting to come back to the mothership and the republicans have more money than the democrats. You'd think that it should be who governs the best, not who has more money. You'd think that, but you'd be oh so wrong.

Next up we've got Michael Ware live from Baghdad, where things seem to be getting worse everyday. Michael says that Al Qaeda-inspired or Al Qaeda-backed death squads-some backed by the US-are responsible for massive numbers of dead. Who dies is both random and targeted and the government death squads might be the scariest because they can just show up at your home in uniform in the middle of the night and take you away. No one can trust anyone anymore and you especially can't trust that checkpoints are legitimate. Sigh. Stay safe Michael.

On now to a piece from Suzanne Malvaeux regarding Bush's recent comment that if we knew Bin Laden was in Pakistan we'd go get him with or without permission. You can probably guess Musharraf did not take kindly to that because he'd rather do it himself. The last time we violated their soverignty there were huge protests and it is noted that Musharraf has survived two assasination attempts. When it comes to him and Karzai, both men think the other should be doing more to stop the terror.

Transitioning now to Sarah Chayes, Nic Robertson, and Peter Bergen live in a discussion that is basically a rehash of most of what regular viewers learned last week. Sarah says Pakistan is actively helping insurgents in Afghanistan because they want to gain control of the country. Peter notes that violating Pakistan's soverignty isn't new because we did it under Clinton and recently when we tried to get Zawahiri. Anderson mentions that when he went to Afghanistan he was surprised to find there really is no one actively hunting for Bin Laden and Nic agrees the trail has gone cold. Finally, Sarah believes Bin Laden might not be in Pakistan because they would most likely turn him over due to the fact that they're only concerned with Taliban. Interesting, though I don't know if I buy it.

Next up we have a Delia Gallagher piece about how now the Vatican is on high alert and some Muslims are planning a "Day of Hate" due to the Pope's comments. Day of hate? Guys it's time to let it go. Oh and apparently the guy who shot the last Pope is now threatening this Pope not to go to Turkey. The Pope is not having The Best Week Ever. I really hate how a small group of wackos can taint a whole religion.

Tonight was just okay. When Erica gave the update it reminded me of things that weren't being covered. There's been a whole big battle regarding the Geneva Conventions and 360 has been somewhat MIA. Also, for those that were wondering, Atlantis landed smoothly. C+

Just for fun, here's Anderson's reaction to the prospect of eating a roach:

Screencaps by liberation337.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

CNN Celebrates Crazy President's Day (Second Hour)

The second hour begins with the normal annoying intro, but uh oh, there's no sound. "That's what they call a technical problem, " Anderson snarks. I actually think it was an improvement. Anyway, we go right into a Michael Ware piece and learn that Al Qaeda is becoming stronger in Iraq because they're taking over other groups whose leaders have been killed. In the piece we see Michael interviewing an Al Qaeda fighter. Eeeek! Michael has said in the past that he let's these guys take him places. That just freaks me out. After the piece we get Michael live and he tells us that Al Qaeda has taken over the Ramadi Oil Ministry and are pulling in between $400,000 and $600,000 a month. Good Lord. "Remember there was no Al Qaeda here under Saddam," Michael says. Oh, I remember.

On now to an interview with Peter Bergen and he tells us that violence has spiked in Iraq since Zarqawi's death. Also, Zarqawi was kind of a loose canon, but the new leadership is probably more likely to take their orders from Al Qaeda central. When asked about civil war, Peter says that "train already left the station." Peter believes that Iraq has now become the center for the war on terror. I don't. I think it's Pakistan. Peter has a short memory. Following this we get a Tom Foreman rerun and some rerun of the Ahmadinejad interview.

Transitioning now to the Wolfbot's interview with Bush and it's brought up that Bush friend James Baker wrote years ago that we should not take out Saddam. Now Bush is the one that goes all robotic. 9-11 changed everything! Does not compute. 9-11 changed everything! Somebody must have superduper charged the Wolfbot's batteries before this because he gets all up in Bush's grill about Bin Laden, "why can't we find these guys?" Bush then talks to the Wolfbot like he's retarded. That's our president, folks.

Next up Brian Todd gives us an overview piece about Hugo Chavez. Of note is the mention of the 2002 attempted coup, which US officials in the piece deny was backed by the US. Yeah, right.

On now to a Dan Simon piece on John Karr. Oh, man! I thought we stuck a fork in this guy already. This should not be news. Anyway, Karr was charged with having child porn, but the cops lost his computer and now...blah blah blah. I so don't care. Oh, but it gets better. In the studio to waste their time discussing this, we have Jeffrey Toobin and Court TV's Lisa Bloom. Anderson wishes Lisa a happy birthday. Crappy way to celebrate, Lisa. They sort of seriously discuss the case and then Anderson wants to know if this guy will write a book and do the tv circuit. This makes me want to cry. If 360 books him they are so on notice. Lisa doesn't think he'll get on any shows, but Anderson knows "one network seems to rotate hosts pretty often." Oh, snap again. Anderson's on a roll tonight. Anyway, after more chitchat Anderson says, "I got nothing left to ask." Well good. Let's never speak of this again.

Transitioning now to a Dana Bash piece on the congressional debate over fixing immigration with a 700 mile fence. Democrats compare the fence to the Berlin Wall and note it will cost $9 million a mile. It's noted that the immigration legislation stall was a blow to Bush and this wall is basically like throwing him a bone. Yeah, I'm sure this wall is a great idea. That'll stop them. Why can't these people understand that until living conditions improve in Mexico they will keep coming no matter what we do? The Europeans realize this and that's why the richer countries invested in the poorer countries that border them.

Continuing on the topic of immigration we have Pat Buchanon on to pimp his book, which I am not mentioning because I don't want you to buy it. Pat thinks we're being invaded. I think Pat is a racist. Look, I'm all for border security, but I'm for things that work. A fence won't work. I wish Anderson would have called Pat out on some of his inflammatory comments in the book. Whatever. The Shot tonight is video of a jewel heist...and we're out.

Screencaps by Stillife.

CNN Celebrates Crazy President's Day (First Hour)

Hey everybody. It turns out Anderson did not go plane hopping, but he did do some big time interviewing. We begin tonight again at the UN, a place Anderson says you might think is duller than watching paint dry. But, oh buddy not today. Why? Hugo Chavez and his belief that Bush is the devil, that's why. Anderson is very amused. "Seriously. He called him the devil." But we'll get into that later. Right now we've got a Tom Foreman piece that covers the tale of two speeches. In regards to Iraq making things worse, Bush states that the middle east was already unstable to begin with. Mmkay. You know, my house is kind of messy, but that doesn't mean it's okay to take a wrecking ball to it. Ahmadinejad is all angry because he sees the UN as a puppet and worthless.

On now to Anderson's interview with Ahmadinejad. Yep, you heard me. He got an interview with the man himself. Score! I'll get into the specifics in a second, but first I'd like to say that its overall choppiness was kind of annoying. Obviously there's translation issues (and there was actually some feedback or something going on at one point), but the weird editing I think has more to do with the fact that they tried to spread a 20 minute interview over several segments. The Angelina Jolie interview was also poorly edited and that was the same case. Okay, on now to the interview itself. Anderson began by asking about his Israel comment and Ahmadinejad replies with a nonanswer that the US is prejudiced when it comes to Israel. But he takes many, many words to say this. Seriously, the guy like gave a monologue. I've seen Anderson be Mr. Interrupty Guy before, so I don't know what happened there, but it was allowed to go on too long. To his credit, Anderson finally counters that that was a nonanswer. Then Ahmadinejad said the Palestinians should decide about the land, which is another nonanswer. He still hasn't said yes or no whether Israel should be wiped off the map. And actually, he never does.

Anderson then asks, "Do you really believe the Holocaust never happened?" Ahmadinejad answers with the question, "Where did it happen?" Basically what I think he's going for here is that he thinks the Palestinians are being punished for what was done to the Jews and the Holocaust didn't happen in Palestine, but I could be wrong. He states that there were 16 million civilian deaths in WWII and he wants to know why only one group is focused on. This is where I wish Anderson would have jumped in and said that what happened in the Holocaust was deliberate genocide of a race, but instead he moves on. Ahmadinejad wants to know if he got the answer he was looking for and Anderson laughs and say no, but they're pressed for time. Anderson thinks the conversation is fascinating and would have liked to talk to him for two hours and then Ahmadinejad wants to know if he's asking the questions on his mind or what's given to him. "Actually in America we have a free press--unlike in parts of Iran." Oh, snap! Anderson again mentions he's asking what he interested in, but his time is limited. Then Ahmadinejad gets in his little dig, "Given all the questions are very similar, it speaks for itself." Ouch.

Next there's a little bit of the Bush interview done by Wolf Blitzer, known to me as the Wolfbot, but I wasn't really paying attention. My bad. Oh, for those that don't know, Blitzer is totally a robot. You can't convince me otherwise. Anyway, on now to a background piece from Anderson on Ahmadinejad. We learn he never wears a tie, is prone to wearing sports jackets, is BFF with Castro and Chavez, and the more he angers the US the more popular he gets. However, despite his popularity there's grumbling in Iran about the economy.

Back now with more of the interview. Ahmadinejad says Bush fails to understand the reality of the world. Well, uh, yes. And he invites Bush to speak to his people for 30 minutes every day. Oh, he should do that! Because you know Ahmadinejad is totally bluffing. Ahmadinejad also wants to debate Bush. Uh, Bush probably shouldn't do that. Not without his little helper bump on his back anyway. Also stated, is that the leaders of Iran love the US as they love their own people. But, um, we just learned your people are really ticked about the economy, so maybe you need to love them a little more.

After the break, the subject of the interview moves to the Chavez speech and whether or not Ahmadinejad too thinks Bush is the devil. "Do you want to interview me or Mr. Chavez?" Geez. This guy is very media savy and knows how to work an interview. Anderson also brings up the fact that the IAEA says Iran's nuclear program is not transparent. Ahmadinejad counters by talking about the US program. Another nonanswer. Did this guy answer anything? That's it for the interview and as Anderson says, you "deal with the time you got." I think he did a pretty good job with it. He could have been more aggressive, but I don't know that Anderson has done many of these big time interviews. I guess you have to ease into it because he seemed like he might have been a wee bit intimidated. I know I would have been. Dude's a tough interview. But like I said, pretty good.

Transitioning now to John Roberts and the Wolfbot live and the Wolfbot points out that both presidents gave pretty standard comments. John states that Ahmadinejad is well liked on the Arab streets and is now friends with Chavez. Anderson comments that they were even holding hands and it was like, "wonder twin powers activating." Heh.

On now to a Delia Ghallagher piece on more of the Pope fallout. Really the only thing I caught in this piece is that Muslims have made cartoons depicting the Pope as Satan. Wasn't there some sort of uproar about cartoons depicting Islam poorly? Oh, irony. How I love you so. Next we move into a live interview with blogger Andrew Sullivan. I actually read Andrew's blog and for a conservative he's fairly rational, but I have to say on tv he usually comes off like a jerk. IMHO. Andrew thinks the Pope's comments were inflammatory, but courageous and he's not sure the guy "realizes yet he's the Pope." Hmm, didn't they have a ceremony? Heh. Anderson points out that the Pope glosses over the church's long history of violence. Crusades, anyone? Andrew thinks the Pope thinks Muslims are unable to reform like the church did. Hmm. Anyway, obviously the violence and whatnot are completely ridiculous, but it's still a very small percentage of Muslims. Andrew needs to remember that.

Well that's all for the first hour. I'll have the second one up ASAP. B+
Screencaps by Stormi0611

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Speechifying At The UN (Tuesday's Show)

Hey guys. Did you do a lot of pirate talking on Talk Like A Pirate Day? Just me then? Okay I actually didn't, but I did wear an eye patch...because I went to the eye doctor and had a fields, yeah, I guess I didn't properly celebrate the day. Anyway, let's get this party started. It's about time for me to complain about the intro again. I would have written (wridden) down the specific lines of voiceover man to share with y'all, but I was too busy rolling my eyes. Seriously 360, fix this.

We begin tonight with a tale of two speeches at the UN. Tom Foreman goes first with a piece on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech and to no one's surprise he blames the West for everything and dismisses concerns about Iran's nuclear program. Tom says he's trying to portray himself as a voice of peace and reason. I think the whole Israel thing might throw a wrench in that. Also noted is that much of the American delegation skipped the speech. How sad is it that the UN is just like high school? Also sad is the fact that while I don't trust Ahmadinejad, I can't trust what my own government tells me about him either.

John Roberts then gives us the other side with a piece on Bush's speech, which aimed to burn bridges. Oh no, I'm sorry that was "build bridges." My bad. Burning them is what he does. Anyway, Bush talks directly to the people of the middle east, which is kind of funny since it really doesn't go all that well when he talks to the people of the US, and I'm guessing that's a tougher audience. Bush speaks of the "extremists in your midst," and now I'm wondering if he's still talking to the middle east people or if he's looking in a mirror. Oh, but his approval numbers are actually up. Who are these people that are so easily swayed?!

Next up we have David Gergen, or The Gerg if you will, and Anderson is very excited because he hasn't seen him in while. The Gerg says Bush's first audience of his speech was the people at home, but it's probably not going to work because conservatives will think he's gone soft on Iran and liberals will think the US is being too much of a bully. Also, our European allies are moving away from us on the sanctions talk, so bridges have definitely not been built. Anderson then brings up the fact that Bush insists this isn't a war with Islam, yet he paints all our enemies with a very broad brush. Fareed Zakaria actually had a good piece on this recently in Newsweek. Anderson then talks about how the public is being sold this monolithic enemy and the "US could do a better job exploiting," specific group's differences. Yes, they could. And it seems like there's a whole profession that might educate the public on this too. People with tv shows and newspapers perhaps. The Gerg points out that even Nixon knew how to divide and conquer our foes. My Lord, you know it's bad when we're wishing for Nixon.

On now to a taped interview with Frank Rich, New York Times columnist and author of "The Greatest Story Ever Sold". Wow, a moderate republican followed by a liberal and I'm not watching Countdown. Nobody tell newsbusters. I love Frank Rich. Damn the New York Times and their pay wall. Anyway, Rich talks about the lie of the Iraq war and how even the whole Mission Accomplished thing was staged like a scene from Top Gun. He says no one really knows why we went to war, but in his opinion it was mostly because it was a handy next front in an election year. I don't know if I would go with that for the main reason, but I definitely think it played in. Anderson wants to know why the Bush Administration is playing down Afghanistan now and maybe it's the media's fault. Well, yeah it sort of is the media's fault in that Afghanistan has been going bad for a long time now, but it wasn't until recently that anyone noticed in a major way. After Rich, we get a news update where we learn a military coup went down in Thailand today. That doesn't sound good.

Transitioning now to the semi-breaking news that baby Abby has been found alive. Yay. Anderson goes straight into a live interview with a sheriff that was on the case and they apparently just got this interview because Anderson doesn't even know his name. The sheriff tells Anderson that his name is Gary Toelke and he even helpfully spells his last name out for the poor graphics minion. We learn that the abductor had a miscarriage and baby Abby is fine and has been reunited with her family. Anderson then asks if she's been reunited with her parents. Um, what did he just say? It's apparent that this is all being done completely on the fly, so I guess I shouldn't nitpick that Anderson is clearly using his listening time to think up more questions. Oh hell, I'm gonna nitpick anyway. Basically I'm wondering why we need this interview in the first place. Really all I need to know is the baby is found and fine. No video even required. Whatever. Also, though sheriff Gary here seems like a really nice guy, he pronounced Missouri as "Missourah" and now I am unfortunately required to hate him. You don't say "Mississippah." This shouldn't be any different.

Next up we have a piece from Anderson that pretty much recaps everything we learned last week from Afghanistan/Pakistan. This intros nicely into a taped interview Anderson has done with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Ooh, quite the get. Anderson asks him about the Taliban resurgence but Karzai doesn't think there actually is a resurgence. Uh, has he looked around lately? Then they talk about the Pakistan deal and Karzai said he was taken aback and that since the deal there has been an increase in terrorism in Afghanistan. Karzai then becomes about the 57th person I've heard say that Pakistan is the key. He has no doubt that is where Taliban leader Mullah Omar is hiding out. Finally, Anderson asks if he feels Afghanistan has been forgotten and this is where Karzai plays diplomat. He says they are very grateful for everything the US has done, but they would be even more grateful for more help. I can't really blame Karzai for failing to criticize the Bush Administration. If he goes too far out of line we'll just find someone to push him out and I'm sure he knows that all too well.

On now to more coverage of the Pope comment fallout and joining us are analyst John Allen and Fewaz Georges of Sarah Lawrence College. John basically defends the Pope, but Fewaz is very insulted. Fewaz also LOVES Anderson's name. So much so that he says it every five seconds. Anyway, these guys kind of battle it out a bit until Anderson points out that they're basically agreeing with each other. John thinks the Pope will end up going to Turkey if there's good security. I guess we'll see.

Finally tonight we touch on the scary news that something floated by the space shuttle Atlantis, which means they might have damage and are therefore holding off on going anywhere right now. If this shuttle is damaged like Columbia was they just might scrap the whole program. Geez. I really thought we were going to get a piece on this. Where's CNN space shuttle enthusiast Miles O'Brien when you need him? He would do a piece. And he'd bring spiffy props too. I guess I'm just perturbed the found baby got an unneeded interview while this story got snubbed. Maybe it's just me, but I think the potential shut down of the whole shuttle program trumps the safe return of a baby. Well that's all for tonight because next up we've got a taped special from their time in Afghanistan. I guess Anderson either has a hot date or he's hopping a plane to cover that Thailand coup. We'll find out soon I suppose. A mostly strong show with a few weak spots. I'll give out a little extra credit for the Karzai exclusive. B+

Screencaps by Stormi0611.

I almost forgot. This wasn't in the show, but a special envoy has been appointed to help stop the genocide in Darfur--just like George Clooney and his dad Nick wanted. So yay! It's a baby step, but a good development.

Attack Of The Killer Spinach (Monday's Second Hour)

We open this hour on spinach. Yep, spinach. This whole E Coli thing is still quite the problem. Ted Rowlands gives us an update piece where he basically tells us they still don't know the cause of the outbreak. Not much of an update there. Do we really even need all this? Just don't eat spinach! There. Done. We don't have to freak out about it. Or maybe we do. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us live and Anderson speculates as to whether or not this was a deliberate attack. Oh, way to ratchet up the terrorism fears there, Anderson. Great, now you've got people thinking Al Qaeda wants to take their freedom and mess with their salads. Seriously, really not helpful there, dude. Bad Anderson. No soup for you! Sanjay tells us there's no evidence to support this was deliberate. Thank you, Sanjay. I knew I could depend on you to be responsible about this. Sanjay says all spinach should be thrown out...and then he goes on to tell us how to try to cook the E Coli out. Sanjay! What are you doing?! Now a bunch of idiots who think they don't need to abide by the FDA are going to be cooking their spinach, which may not actually help to kill the bacteria. I don't know what's gotten into Sanjay and Anderson during this segment, but they both need a time out in the bad reporter corner.

Next up, whoa, we've got riots breaking out in Hungary. The people are ticked because state radio played an audio tape of a Hungary minister admitting to lying about the state of the country's economy for the past two years. Wow, a high government official continuously lying about a really important issue. I can't imagine what that's like. Oh wait. I'm sure we'll be taking our outrage to the streets any day now. You know, after Dancing With The Stars is over. Oh, and then there's baseball playoffs and then...well, we'll get around to being outraged about the state of the country at some point. It's just there's other stuff to focus on, you know?

Erica pops in now to give us the business news and guess what? Gas prices are falling. "It's like and early Christmas present, Anderson," she says. "Or a pre-election present perhaps," Anderson counters. Touche, Anderson. After the break we get a rerun of the John Robert's piece, except at first they run the wrong thing and they have to stop it and have Anderson explain what happened. Ooops. Somebody's getting in trouuuuble.

On now to an interview with Time editor Richard Stengel and their cover story on Ahmadinejad. Anderson asks how good the intelligence is and Richard replies,"not so good." He says it's possible Iran is much further from a nuclear program than what many believe now. I hope the press keeps questioning on this because they were total cheerleaders during the lead up to Iraq.

We transition now to a piece from Ben Wiedeman on the fallout from the 34 day Israel/Labanon war. Many in Israel are angry, including one of the kidnapped soldier's father, because they believe it was a poorly planned campaign with a shortage of supplies--even water. Water? Geez. Now many see Hezbollah as heroes. Back in the studio Anderson has an interview with the western bureau chief of a Lebanon newspaper and he believes Hezbollah is weakened. Next up the Israeli ambassador to the UN comes on to basically agree with everything just said, except he really lays it on thick. Anderson notes that the soldiers are still held captive and the ambassador says that expectations were too high and nobody believed a military solution would bring the soldiers back anyway. Um, what?! But that's what you kept saying through the whole damn thing! I never believed it, but I think some Israelis did, which might be why they're so ticked now. Anyway, I really wish Anderson would have made him clarify.

Up next we have a piece by Peter Viles on the Black Dahlia murder. Basically it's this old really gruesome murder of a young woman named Elizabeth Short. After the piece Anderson has an interview with a retired LAPD officer who thinks his dad did it. Creepy. I really have no idea what the point was of all this. How this is news escapes me. But don't think I don't know that CNN's parent company has a relationship with the studio putting out the new movie based on this murder. Ah, synergy. Anyway, the night ends with some blog comments. They haven't done that in a while. That's all folks.

Screencap by bcfraggle.

Get Your War On (Monday's First Hour)

Happy new week, everybody! We're back in the studio tonight and Anderson is looking dapper in what I have dubbed his young republican tie. I don't usually notice things like ties, but this one seems to be his favorite because he wears it all the time. Anderson explains to us that Tuesday Bush will be addressing the US General Assembly about Iran. You know what? I don't even want to think about this. Going to war with Iran would just be so demonstrably stupid, yet you look at our leaders and you know it may very well happen. Scared people on the inside have been furiously leaking to people like Sy Hersh regarding the coming war for quite a while now. Anyway, Anderson intros us into a John Roberts piece on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his strategy to appeal to the Muslim streets in order to become the dominant power in the Middle East. It is believed that Ahmadinejad's rise in popularity/dangerousness is due in part to both his comments about wiping Israel off the map (although Juan Cole has said he was quoted out of context and I really wish CNN would look into that further) and Bush's idiotic insistence on using Islamophobic language that ticks Muslims off. Plus us taking out Iraq really helped him too. Ahmadinejad is trying to drive a wedge between the US and its allies and it may be working a little because France is backpeddling on sanctions. Oh geez. I hope we don't have to start eating freedom fries again.

We then go into a rare studio interview with Christiane Amanpour and she talks a little of the sit down that she did with Ahmadinejad last year. She says he has a debating quality, wry smile, adn is aware of how the world perceives him. After seeing his interview with Mike Wallace I would have to agree. This isn't some wackjob, people. He knows what he's doing. Christiane says that he feels that under international treaties Iran has a right to a nuclear program. The problem is what they're going to do with that program. I have to say that letting India go ahead with their program is definitely sending mixed messages here. And I think some of this could maybe be diffused with direct talks, but Bush has to play the cowboy.

On now to a Brian Todd piece on how close Iran is to enrichment. The Internation Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) doesn't think they're anywhere near close. Funny. I just watched a clip of Matt Lauer interviewing Bush and Bush basically said the exact opposite. Anyway, a republican House report states things are way further along and there's charges that they're actually pressuring the IAEA to say so. If things are feeling a little deja vu to you, there's a good reason. Prior to Iraq the IAEA was saying the same thing and Bush was very critical of them. Now, remind me, who was right in that case? Oh yeah. But hey, that all worked out, right?

Next up we have a Jamie McIntyre piece on what war with Iran would look like. We actually don't need this piece because I can tell you it will look bad. Very, very, bad. Jamie explains that a preemptive attack on Iran would involve bunker buster air strikes on their two dozen nuclear facilities that are underground. The problem is that they're all spread out and some are in populated areas. The best case scenerio after an attack would be that Iran doesn't retalliate and simply rebuilds. The worst case? You don't even want to know the worst case. Basically it involves unleashed terrorism, major attacks on our troops, and skyrocketing oil prices that could shake the economy. The Pentagon assures Jamie they're just contingency planning. Yeah, right. 360 did a pretty good job with all the Iran stuff tonight. A responsible look at a scary possibility.

Transitioning now to Michael Ware live in Iraq and the topic is civil war. Michael says that at this point it's just semantics and I have to agree. I mean, people didn't call what happened in Rwanda 'genocide' until after it was over. "People are dying here in droves," Michael tells us and their bodies are being found with evidence of horrific torture. Basically the torturers take a person, take a drill to the bottom of their body, and just work their way up putting holes everywhere. Michael says there's no reason for this other than to send a message and provoke. In a letter from the now dead Zarqawi to Bin Laden, Zarqawi laid out a plan to antagonize the Sunnis so much that they would rise up and attack the Shia and that's what's happening.

On now to an Anderson piece over the Pope's recent comments that have angered the Muslim world. The Pope has given a sort of apology. I say sort of because really he only apologized for their interpretation of his comments. Anyway, things are out of control once again. Al Qaeda has issued threats and West Bank churches were burned. Hey, remember last Wednesday when I said we needed some Reza Aslan (author of "No god but God")? Well guess who we have live after the piece? Yay. Our faith and values correspondant Delia Gallagher also joins us in the studio. Delia says that the Pope was bringing up the controversial question of whether Islam is at odds with reason and Reza points out that the comments have been taken out of context and used by jihadists as propaganda. It is also pointed out that as a Cardinal this Pope also said some controversial things. Anderson brings up the fact that there have been art exhibits with a cross dipped in urine, but Christians aren't rioting and Reza notes it is important to remember that the numbers of those doing violence are small and in few places. And I'm going to point out that there are almost a billion Muslims, so obviously the majority of them are not going crazy over this. Reza thinks rhetoric like this from the Pope only serves to help jihadists and he thinks a better apology is needed. Delia thinks this apology is as good as it's going to get.

We then move into a Delia piece on the Pope and his life. The requisite Hitler Youth reference is made, as well as his controversial positions. I'm really not sure that we need this piece. Afterwards we get Delia live again and she says the Pope is more theologian than diplomat. Obviously.

Next up we have a piece from Jonathan Freed about the baby that was abducted from Union, Missouri. The mother let a woman in the house to use her phone and the woman slashed her throat and took the baby. The mother is okay, but the baby is still missing. Since this happened about an hour from me it's been all over the news here and I was actually watching tv Friday when the Amber Alert first came up. I hope they find her, but I also hope this doesn't turn into some sort of media saturation thing. Drew Griffin then gives us a kind of similar piece about a 14 year girl who was kidnapped and held in a bunker, but escaped when she was able to steal her captor's phone and text her mother. Good for her.

Erica now gives us the headlines and she shows Anderson some video of a shark that walks on its fins. Anderson is quite shocked, "What?!" Heh. The Shot tonight is an elephant that is all painted in an effort to draw attention to poverty. Okay at first I totally don't get it, but then Anderson explains it's the elephant in the room. Oooooooh. Erica comments about how he's so smart to get that, but Anderson admits he actually just read about it earlier. C'mon Celebrity Jeopardy Champion, you should have just known that! That's it for the first hour, which was pretty good. I'll have the second hour up as soon as I can. It was a little weaker, so tonight barely gets a B.

Awesome screencaps by bcfraggle.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tuesday's Show (Second Hour)

Yay, I'm all caught up now! I swear, blogging and having a life do not mix. Anyway, we start the hour with a Nic piece I already covered and then move into an Anderson piece on how Bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora. As we've heard before, Gary Berntsen got intelligence of Bin Laden moving with small groups and he requested more forces, but they never came. And where were those forces? Preparing for a quagmire. Anderson and Nic then join us live and Peter informs us that the general consensus is that Bin Laden is in northern Pakistan. Nic says that not many people are actually hunting Bin Ladin because there are other more immediate people they need to go after first. Plus it is noted that critics of Musharraf believe he doesn't want Bin Laden caught because having him free keeps Pakistan important to the US.

Next up we get an update from Anthony Mills on the Syrian attack and it is believed to have been the work of Islamic fundamentalists. I figure that's a pretty good wager and I guess since this story is days old I should have googled up a real update for you, but I didn't. Sorry.

On now to a Michael Ware piece and things just keep getting worse and worse. Michael explains that Al Qaeda's plan is to take over the Al Anbar province, specifically Ramadi, and use it as their base of operations. And guess what? We don't have enough troops to stop them. The marines have a new strategy of fanning out more to fight them, but it's not helping enough. Michael then joins us live to explain that really it's like "moving chess pieces across a board." I would say it's more like playing whack-a-mole. We take control in one place, leave, and then trouble just pops right up again. Michael thinks we need to hurry up and take advantage of the split between the Baathists and Al Qaeda.

We transition now to a repeat Nic piece and then go into a new Nic piece on how the Taliban attacks schools. I actually posted about this on the 360 blog and am honored they took my suggestion. Or, you know, it's just a coincidence seeing as though this is a pretty common story there. Shut up, I like to feel special. Heh. Anyway, there have been 150 attacks/threats on schools this year, which is an increase. Villagers are eager to help rebuild, but they don't want to talk about who is behind the attacks because they're scared. Also mentioned in the piece is that the army is using our tax dollars to hire Afghan contractors to build roads and this makes everybody happy because it creates jobs and gets intrastructure built. Yay! Smart counterterrorism. I better document this because it doesn't happen often.

Next up Anderson has a taped interview from London with documentary filmaker Kirsten Schmidt. She covered the Taliban in Afghanistan and in her view they are fairly free in Pakistan. She also notes that there are some people who claim to be Al Qaeda/Taliban who were actually never recruited. I think this happens a lot. I'm not all that convinced there's this big network out there. I think there's a lot of wannabes, though not any less dangerous. We end the night with a repeat piece from Anderson. I guess it's back in the studio Monday. See you then. To tide you over here's AC360Review's own special The Shot:

Check out Anderson all layered up while Nic and Peter don't even look chilly. Finally someone on television representing us cold natured people of America! I've felt so alone. Hee.

Awesome screencaps by sherynroyce.