Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dirty Politics (Wednesday's Show)

Hi, everyone. Man, this election has got me stressing out! I will be so glad when this is all over. We begin tonight with a Jamie McIntyre piece regarding an Iraq chart that was leaked to the New York Times. The chart shows that Iraq is near chaos and I think that' s pretty apparent to anyone who is paying attention. Tony Snow, of course, denies and BS's and searches for something good to say. Hey, I hear the coffin business is booming. There you go. Jamie then joins us live to say that military commanders have to present a positive public front even if they think things are going badly. I think that's so stupid. I understand that they can't go too far because that could cause chaos in the military, but people are dying while they're putting on their happy face. Jamie also talks a little about the increase in Iraqi troops, but notes that we won't see results from that before the election. I'll be happy if we see results before the 2008 election.

Next we have Suzanne Malveaux live to discuss the completely unwarranted and bizarre vote of confidence Bush just gave Rumsfeld and Cheney. Um, did he forget that people hate those guys? People hate those guys even more than Bush himself. For the life of me I can't think of why he would do this, so I'm just going to file it under "unbelievably stupid", which is a file that has gotten pretty big under this president. Seriously, he just totally cut out the legs from under people like Chris Shays who is in a close race and has stated that Rumsfeld needs to go. Anderson then gives us some much needed perspective (Yay perspective! Where did you go?) by bringing up the fact that Bush also praised Michael Brown and Harriet Miers. And we all know what happened to them. Anderson also points out that Cheney was elected (well...) and therefore not really Bush's call.

Before the next piece Anderson informs us that republican majority leader John Boehner has stated that the problems in Iraq are the fault of the commanders on the ground and not Rumsfeld. We then go into a bunch of coverage over this controversy. Oh wait, no we don't. I guess this is another case of IOIYAR (It's okay if you're a republican). Look, I 'm glad they're not giving this coverage because it's a distraction and stupid, but the difference between how they covered Kerry and how they're covering this are glaring. I realize that the Kerry thing became big because of all the shrieking coming from the republicans, but it's journalist's job to put things in perspective and not just run after the ball that the republicans keep throwing. The democrats aren't going to make a mountain out of a mole hill and they shouldn't.

All this intros us into a John King piece about how Kerry has apologized for the misinterpretation of his words. Both Anderson and John both again state that Kerry says it was a botched joke. It was a botched joke and by saying, "Kerry says," it makes it sound like there's a question there. They know exactly what he meant, so it's infuriating that they're playing this ridiculous fake balance game. Plenty of journalists have said that it's clear what Kerry was trying to say, so it's not like they'd be going out on a limb. And why aren't they playing more than just the soundbite? Some context would be nice. I don't think 360 is being consciously biased here, but they are being lazy and timid and that's just as bad. They burned a lot of air time over nothing and meanwhile the US just literally abandoned an American soldier in Sadr City.

Transitioning now to an Anderson piece on negative ads. We're shown a particularly sleazy ad that accuses a democratic candidate of calling a phone sex line on tax payer dollars. Now I already knew that the real story behind this was that it was actually an aid that dialed a wrong number, so I was pleasantly surprised when Anderson reported just that. You'd think that would be a no brainer, but based on the previous reporting on John Kerry I was a little nervous. Anyway, we learn that 1.8 billion dollars are being spent on ads this election and most of them are negative (91% of the republican ads and 81% of the democratic ads). Unfortunately, attack ads work and they don't even have to run that much. The infamous 1964 Johnson ad with the little girl and the mushroom cloud only ran once, but became famous because of all the news coverage. Thanks, media, for doing your part to lower the election discourse. Something Anderson doesn't mention is that it seems pretty clear that all the nastiest ads right now are being done by the republicans. I'm not talking about negative ads or even ads that fudge the facts because I know both sides are doing that, but I'm talking about the really dirty ones like the phone sex ad and the race baiting ad. I could be wrong because I haven't seen all of them, but wouldn't it be great if a journalist with guts compiled all of the ads and then showed us what party was worst?

On now to a taped interview with democratic strategist James Carville. I really don't like this guy, but I guess that's neither here nor there. Carville thinks negative ads work better at the beginning of a campaign and it's important that candidates respond to all negative ads. He's recommended that the democrats go positive from now until election day. We then have republican strategist Mike Murphy live. I guess Anderson didn't want any possible clashes or he might just be doing them seperate because of an availablity issue. Anyway, Murphy agrees that negative ads are better early, but thinks they can also be powerful later if new information comes out. He brings up the fact that not all negative ads are actually negative. That's true. There's nothing wrong with pointing out things that are factual. The problem is when they get all sleazy and start lying. Murphy also makes the excellent point that the ads are so bad now because the press used to blow the whistle on ads that were BS, but now they cover politics like a sport. Amen to that! Anderson mentions this too. Pssst. Dude. You are a member of the press! He's talking about you! It's incidences like these that I feel the need to bang my head against the wall.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece on those lovely 527 groups that are not officially connected to any campaign, but run ads for the candidates. The most infamous 527 being swiftboats veterans for truth, the group that lied about and smeared John Kerry. These groups raise money like candidates, but they're not as regulated, so they're much harder to control. Because of that, 527's will often be more controversial than the actual candidate.

Before introing us into a Randi Kaye piece Anderson shows us an ad against Lincoln Chafee that talks about Roe v Wade being overturned and Anderson points out that the ad is false because Chafee supports abortion rights. That's true, but if I'm remembering correctly he voted to confirm both Alito and Roberts who were generally felt to be abortion opponents. That's why even though I'm pro choice, I'd vote for a pro life democrat like Harry Reid over a pro choice republican like Chafee. Just saying. Anyway, Randi's piece is about how the parties are collecting all our personal data so that they can microtarget us as individuals and customize their message. Basically the politicians are choosing you and not the other way around like it's suppose to be. They've got it down to a science and can determine how you will vote based on what you buy. For example, if you buy wine online you're are a democrat. Okay, I have never bought wine online. I've actually never bought wine, period. No wonder I haven't gotten any calls. They don't know what to do with me. Although I do have a subscription to Mother Jones, so that should be a pretty big shout out to the democrats. Anderson finds this story both fascinating and a little scary too. Yep. Big Brother is watching and he wants your vote.

Transitioning now to a live interview with columnist Rolan Martin and the Congress of Racial Equality's Niger Innis. Niger is in the studio, but we briefly lose Rolan who is via satellite. Whoops. But it's all good because we get him back. Anyway, for those that didn't watch, both of these men are black and the interview is about the Harold Ford race baiting ad. Niger thinks the ad went too far, but politics is a full contact sport and Ford is being treated as a real candidate that could win. Rolan is not so positive. He thinks the ad went extremely far and may have benefited Corker. Basically to sum up, Rolan thinks racism is a much bigger problem than Niger does. I think I probably fall in between the two.

Okay, now for some fun. The Shot tonight is one of the best ones evah. Anderson on Sesame Street! In a trash can! He says it was a childhood dream come true. His little skit begins with him popping his head out of the can (and ouching under his breath in the process) and then he goes on to "interview" some of the characters. This is all made even more adorkable by the fact that, well, Anderson can't really act that well. Oh, but we love him anyway. Erica wants to know if the can was stinky and Anderson admits it was "pretty rank". But was it as bad as that Israeli tank? We're informed that the episode will air next September, which I hope Anderson got wrong because, wha? Why would it take that long? Hmm, Anderson is sneaky because that Shot totally softened me up at grading time. Tonight wasn't as infuriating, but there's still not much substance here regarding real issues. C

Screencaps by stormi0611.

Do you think it's the media's responsibility to look past the horse race and inform the public on the issues?


Anonymous Sharla said...

OMG, Anderson on Sesame Street.

Even my KID likes Anderson. Actually, tonight (Thursday), my oldest came out, looked at the TV, and went "wow, I like his suit!" Yeah me too- he was wearing my fav tie :)

I heard about the "phone sex". I also heard about the "I met Harold at a Playboy Party!" ad. THAT guy (Harold Ford, I think) responded by saying something like, "I like football and girls too, so what?" Yeah, really, so what?

I was wondering- why do they show The Shot almost always when Anderson is talking to Erica? Is it because they TOTALLY get along and their banter is great? So he has someone to talk to? Because she's the only other newsperson that will make a personal comment?

(P.S.- Tonight he said MissourI properly. I'll bet you were thrilled.)

11:40 PM  
Blogger xtina said...

Anderson and John were shaky on the John Kerry topic because they know Kerry lied about it being a "joke" and they had to cover up the fakeness of the report. Anderson and John know something isn't right with Kerry. And they know it's a phony apology. We're supposed to pretend it's a botched joke. But what's the joke, John. Why is CNN giving top billing to Kerry anyway? CNN can run whatever they want, right? Why still the Kerry? He isn't going to matter to people voting for Senate offices, is he? He shouldn't even be in office, he has contempt for the military.

11:42 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@sharla-Erica and Anderson have great chemistry. They've actually done The Shot before even when Anderson isn't there, but honestly the show is really inconsistent with segments like that. And yes, I was thrilled he said Missouri right. I even had big exclamation points on my notes and everything. :)

@xtina-Oh man. I honestly don't know what to say to you anymore. Please feel free to continue reading and commenting, but there comes a point when a person gets so far out there (and this is in reference to the other thread too) from the other that debate becomes impossible. I would assume you watch the show, so how you can have views that are so divorced from the facts that are presented on said show are beyond me.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Mathilde said...

Did Niger Innes used to be called Roger or Ray Innes and got into a physical fight w/Rev. Sharpton on the old Morton Downey Jr show? Any TV heads know what I'm talking about?
Eliza tonight's (Thursday's) show is much better. No Anderson in the trash can though.

12:05 AM  
Blogger xtina said...

because facts don't begin and end in the Time Warner Center in New York! But hey, you could ban me if you only want bloggers who walk in perfect synch with what CNN tells you and who agree 100% with the blog owners.

12:28 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

xtina-Did I not explicitly say please feel free to continue reading and commenting? CNN is no where near my only source of news and I wouldn't say it's my primary source of news either. You seem to get your news from a place that doesn't exactly deal in the factual. I like to make my opinions based on facts. You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts.

12:39 AM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

Rumsfeld said he has offered to resign twice (even HE knows he should get out) but Bush has turned him down. Bush is apparently more interested in saving face than doing the right thing for the troops. Stupid, arrogant, stubborn, criminal, you name it.

It does seem that the Republicans are responsible for the majority of negative ads and the amount of money spent on them is obscene, I've never seen an ad that has made me change my view of a politician one way or another.

I enjoyed Anderson's discussion with Roland Martin and Niger Innis, I tend to agree more with Roland, we've gotten better with racial issues, but there's still a LONG way to go.

I absolutely feel that the media should provide more in depth coverage of actual issues. One of the reasons why people are so apathetic about politics and voting is because of the media's emphasis on trivial matters. Of course you can't rely completely on tv news programming for everything, there are plenty of other media outlets to get pertinent info, but still, that's no excuse for them to skimp on the meat of the issues and shortchange their audience by not giving them a full picture. We should demand more from them.

Seeing Anderson and the muppets was great, I loved when he popped out of the trash can. No, his acting ability could use some improvement, but it is endearing, as you said.

1:19 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

Bush is apparently more interested in saving face than doing the right thing for the troops.


11:57 AM  

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