Friday, November 17, 2006

Killer Weather, Iraq Kidnapping, Hoyer's Win, Bush In Vietnam, More OJ, And Yukking It Up For Katrina (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. I hope all the readers are of legal age because we're kicking the night off in Vegas, baby! Okay, yeah, it's actually not going to be as fun as it sounds because we start tonight with a killer tornado that hit North Carolina. Rick Sanchez is on the scene and we get the requisite "it sounded like a train" quote from a survivor. I actually never believed that until I heard it myself. It really does sound just like a train. I've never actually been in a real tornado that touched down, but believe me, the downbursts are just as scary. I was so freaked out that I actually drove all the way home without even realizing that my back windshield was gone and I was sitting on glass. Yeah, my car was totaled. Still ran though. Anyway, the town that took the worst hit didn't even have a warning siren. You'd think they'd have one of those.

We then have a piece from Rob Marciano that breaks down the wacky weather we've all been experiencing. Wednesday in St. Louis it literally rained all day. I was about to start gathering up two of every animal. Now that I see what some people got I feel bad about complaining. Anyway, the storm went through the gulf states and then up the east coast, dropping tornados and rain. As we move on to a David Mattingly piece we learn that one of those tornados flattened a skating rink that had a daycare inside. Initially it looked as if all the children were dead, but as it turns out none of them even have any serious injuries. Now THAT is awesome news.

Transitioning now to Iraq and Michael Ware joins us live to inform us that approximately 14 security contractors in a supply convoy were kidnapped when they stopped at an Iraqi checkpoint. Four of the contractors are Americans. We learn that the kidnapping occurred in a Shia dominated territory and therefore Michael thinks it was paramilitary. Anderson wants to know if they're still beheading people over there. Thinking about your trip, Anderson? As it turns out, yes, they are. Beheadings are the speciality of the Sunnis, while the Shia prefer to just drill you to death. Lovely. Michael states that there are three kinds of kidnappings: for ransom, politically motivated, and sectarian motivated. Are you sure you want to go back over there, Anderson?

Next up we have a piece from Dana Bash that I can only call extremely biased. Steny Hoyer beat out John Murtha for majority leader and some in the media have taken this as something catastrophic for Nancy Pelosi since she backed Murtha. The spin and rhetoric here is simply amazing. Dana is throwing around phrases like "stinging defeat" and "major strategic blunder". If I only watched CNN I'd think the house democrats were in tatters and about to implode. Thank God I get my news from other places too. Earlier I was watching Keith Olbermann's show and he covered it quite differently. In fact, the reporter on his show didn't seem to think the situation was a big deal at all.

Some of you reading right now might be thinking, "but that show is liberal." And you'd be right. But here's the problem, I know Countdown leans left now (when I first started watching it was pretty objective with hard news). I'm not stupid. I catch the leading questions and know that a lot of the analysts are picked because they often reinforce a certain view. 360 is suppose to be my objective news program and it wasn't with this story. It was the opposite of Countdown, meaning they took a turn to the right. There are over 200 democrats in the House and every one of them has their own viewpoint about what happened in there. And I'm betting there's not one reporter that talked to every single one of them. I don't think Dana and CNN consciously did a biased piece, but they bought into the conventional wisdom spin and then tried to sell it to we the viewers. Meanwhile, the republican senate just elected Trent Lott as minority whip by a margin of one vote. We do remember why Lott got kicked out last time, right? So why was a story on that not aired along with this negative Pelosi story? For a show that often promises to give us "all the angles" they missed a really big angle tonight. Anyway, after her piece we get Dana live and she tells us that some of the newbie House members were asked to switch their votes to Murtha, but they wanted Hoyer, so they refused. Good for them. I wanted Murtha, but you should never vote for someone or something you don't want or believe in.

Up next we have an Ed Henry piece on Bush's trip to Vietnam. Hey, does this count toward finishing his service? Maybe they'll keep him. One can only hope. Bush is there to talk free trade at a summit, but it's kind of awkward for him to be there now because of the parallels between Iraq and the Vietnam War. At least Ed gives the impression that it's awkward or weird. For all we know Bush has thought about nothing but cheeseburgers since he got there. Keeping with the Vietnam parallels we have a Jamie McIntyre piece that ties in the generals. Some are now saying that General Abizaid should be replaced. If he's advocating stay the course I tend to agree he should go.

On now to OJ coverage again. Oh yay! Because you can never get too much of a murderer who is making money off his crime. In a Ted Rollins piece we learn that even OJ's own lawyer thinks the book is in bad taste. We also learn that both ABC and NBC turned down the television special. TV networks with standards. Who'd a thunk it? I'm actually feeling pretty good right now because those are the two networks I watch most, besides CNN of course. Already the book is climbing the charts at Amazon and major book stores plan to sell it. Though ironically, Murder Ink, a small store specializing in the crime genre, doesn't plan to sell it.

Jeffrey Toobin and Court TV's Lisa Bloom are back again, this time to discuss a statement that has been put out by Judith Regan, the book's publisher. It goes a little something like this: blah blah...I've been a victim myself...blah blah blah...Katie Couric did it too...blah blah's okay because I paid through a third party...blah blah blah...Nicole and Ron are in my heart...blah blah blah. Toobin claims this is the "single most deranged statement" from a corporate figure he's ever heard. He reminds us that this isn't just a deal with Judith Regan, it's a deal with Rubert Murdoch's company and Harper Collins. I wonder how Anderson feels about his book being connected to evil like that. Lisa points out that while Judith is obviously immoral here, OJ might have actually done something illegal. Please let it be something that doesn't involve a public trial. Anderson then discloses that the 360 team debated whether they should even cover this at all since it kind of gives OJ publicity and Anderson says he himself wrestles with the question. Well I guess I should be happy that they're at least thinking about these things. I still think it's way too much.

On to something more fun, we have a taped interview with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal. The trio are on what Billy dubs the we "still have our own hips tour" in order to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Whoopi is loath to say it, but she believes that the response would have been different if it was mostly white people and Billy agrees with her. I'm not sure I do. To me it was more of a class thing, as well as a timing thing. After all, there were plenty of white victims in Mississippi, they just didn't get as much coverage. It's not that Bush is racist, it's that he just doesn't care about anything or anybody that doesn't benefit him politically. If Katrina hit in August 2004 I bet you anything Bush would have been there on the ground with help surrounding him. And the whole time he would have been thinking of all the great photops that he could then use during the election. Unfortunately the hurricane hit in an off year and Bush just didn't care enough to even watch the news. This is what happens when you elect people to run the government that don't believe in government. Anyway, as I mentioned before, Robin Williams is also there, so even though this is an interview in name, Anderson doesn't actually have to ask any questions. Robin of course interrupts everyone through the whole thing and Anderson yuks it up, which is basically the only thing you can do in that situation.

Joe Johns doing the headlines tonight for a change. It's nice to see them giving him a shot at the anchor desk. I like Joe. Gary Tuchman's another fave if anyone in power happens to be reading this. The Shot tonight is a guy doing a slam dunk for $100,000 for charity. Kind of meh, but they can't all be laughing babies. The show tonight could have been better. The OJ story is getting way too much coverage and the political coverage is slanted. C-

Screencaps by stillife.

Anyone ever been in a tornado? Do you think race played into the Hurricane Katrina response?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've been in a tsunami! But no tornado. I was at the CNN studios NY today - Anderson's studio is not as big as you would think. But very blue. Paula Zahn uses it too. And, checked out the news desks. Very business like till I noticed that the people on AC's side seem to have more fun. There was a Scrabble game, a basketball... yeah. And some chick watching YouTube, no kidding!

Sharla (blogging from NYC!)

4:58 PM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

It was really irritating how CNN spun the majority leader vote results, it was hardly worth all of the yammering about trouble in the Dems ranks and there was no need to make so much out of so little, I do wonder what CNNs motive was in taking this sort of "Pelosi is a failure" attitude with that story. The Trent Lott story should've been covered, I was hoping he'd remain in his kicked to the curb status.

I really need to do some more reading, because I was under the impression that the kidnappings in Iraq were all politically motivated.

Anderson said something about how he felt 360's job regarding the OJ story was to help people determine whether or not they should watch or read the book, I thought that was strange because I don't really need a news program to assist me in figuring out whether I should watch or read a particular thing, I wouldn't have watched that OJ special anyway, I think 360 spent more time on this than they really needed to, but it's all about ratings.

I do think that racism was a big factor in the slow response. I sort of think that if there had of been more footage of poor whites wading through the water with their babies and elderly the way the blacks were shown, help may have come a little faster. Blacks are considered the lowest on the totem pole and people tend to feel less sympathy for them because they see them as criminals and "welfare queens" who deserve what they get. There are even some blacks have this attitude towards their own, which is sad, Ray Nagin didn't even step up like he should've.

I like Joe Johns too, it was good seeing him doing the updates, he was very smooth for his first time out, so I'll add him to my list of favorite Erica subs along with Tom Foreman and Gary Tuchman.

It was fun watching Anderson laugh with Whoopie, Robin and Billy but Robin Williams can be a little much, he tends to hijack an entire show, he really needs to take it down several notches, but it's probably not going to happen anytime soon.

I've never been in a tornado but I know that earthquakes can sound a little like trains too, just like tornados.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Istanbul,Turkey during Katrina and remeber watching the coverage on CNN. The caption said New Orleans and I remembered thinking, huh? I didn't know there is another New Orleans in Africa?? All I saw was some really poor black folks. I'm a Canadian. I thought to myself how could the reachest country in the world treat its own like this. Makes no sense to me.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not turn off the tv during Katrina. I watched every free second for aa week or more. I was stunned that either the V.P. orthe pres. did not even know till Thurday. yes, race had a lot do do with it.

8:05 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Sharla-That's funny. Yet another confirmation about the youtube watching. What are you doing in NY?

@midnite-From what I've read and seen, a lot of the kidnappings are for ransom. It sounds to be a frequent occurence over there-I think we just hear about it more when it's someone like a journalist.

I guess I agree that race was a factor in the amount of pressure placed on the administration to do something. Yes, there was a public outcry, but I think the outcry would have been greater if it was white people on everyone's television screen. However, I still think Bush's criminal negligence in the matter went beyond race. Remember, he never even watched the coverage-they had to give it to him on a DVD, so he didn't even know the racial makeup.

@anonymous 7:39-I remember reading the headlines of the world's papers after Katrina and feeling so very ashamed.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm actually in NJ to look at a special school for my son. Figured I was close...


9:36 PM  
Anonymous Mathilde said...

Our boy seems to have a morbid fascination with beheadings.

I'm from the Gulf Coast and yes, I think race was a factor in the slow response to the situation in New Orleans. But I also agree with you, Eliza, that BushCo doesn't care about anybody but their rich friends.

Many if not most of the deaths in New Orleans were elderly people who were unable to evacuate.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Bev said...

I also think race was a factor. I'm Canadian too and turning on CNN I was sure whatever catastrophe they were showing was somewhere in Africa, there wasn't a single white person shown at first.

12:57 PM  

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