Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Passing Of Gerald Ford, Adding Troops, Oprah Opens Her School, And Sago One Year Later (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everyone! Did you miss me? I know I kind of disappeared there for a while. I decided to just chill during my holidays and boy was it nice. What did I do? Well I spent a lot of time with family and I also went through two seasons of Veronica Mars. I am officially hooked. The show even kept me engrossed through 360 a couple of nights, so that's an official AC360 Review recommendation for you. So anyway, previously on 360 we were all about the missing climbers, but the world keeps on spinning and now the lives of a former president and a brutal dictator have ended.

We begin tonight with a John King piece on the day's Ford commemoration and I have to say, as much as I'm a news junkie, I just could not get into all the Ford coverage. Maybe it's because I have no connection to the man. Hell, I barely remember living under Reagan. From the little amount of coverage I did watch it sounds like he was very nice. Although he did give us Cheney and Rumsfeld, so it's a toss up really. After the piece, Tom DeFrank who covered Ford a lot, and David Gergen join us live. Anderson mentions how Ford was a born again Christian, but didn't mention it like Carter did. Hmm, I did not know that. I think it's fine if a politician mentions it, but don't exploit it and for the love of God don't base your policy on it. I'm talking to you, Dubya. Anderson also mentions that Bob Woodward did an interview with Ford to be released upon his death, where he criticizes the Iraq war. However, Tom kind of disputes this, saying Ford told him several times he supported the war. Either way, I have to say the whole idea of not making your voice heard until after you're dead is complete BS. I don't care if it's not proper for a former president to criticize the current one. You know what else isn't proper? Starting a war on lies. Anway, then Tom does a little show and tell with some old Ford-era press passes and both he and The Gerg lavish the former president with praise. All this happy, happy, joy, joy stuff is making me nervous. Is this how they'll do Bush too? God I hope not.

Next we transition to a Tom Foreman special on the lives and deaths of four marines: Jesse Strong, Chris Weaver, Karl Linn, and Jonathan Bowling. It is at this point that regular viewers of 360 go, "Wha? Live Anderson for 10 minutes and now a special?" They like to keep us on our toes apparently. Anyway, the special would make difficult blogging, so I didn't. Plus I like my blogging laced with snark and there is nothing to snark on here. Nothing.

So I'm thinking that the night is done for live coverage, but then about eight minutes into the second hour, there's Anderson again. Interesting. The John King piece is repeated and then we get Jeanne Meserve live in Grand Rapids where they have taken Ford's body. She tells us that people are getting in line to pay their respects. I'm looking at the Ford building, which is either a museum or library (I didn't hear which) and I'm sorry, but it looks like a car dealership. Isn't my commentary for this story wonderful? John King and Jeanne then tells us a little about what will go down tomorrow.

Moving on now to Suzanne Malveaux live with the news that Bush's new strategy is most likely going to be a surge of 20,000 to 40,000 troops. Prior to the announcement he will consult with Congress and by "consult" he means he will call them and tell them what he's going to do. You know, like always. Never mind the American people don't want a surge and the Iraq Study Group advised against a surge. None of that matters I guess. And hey 360, where's all the angles on this story? It might have been nice to include the recent Military Times poll in which we learn that the troops aren't really behind this escalation thing either. Sigh.

Next up we have an Arwa Damon piece on the debacle that was Saddam's execution. Now the Iraqi government has launched an investigation into the cell phone video that caught and broadcast the hanging. Okay, raise your hand if you didn't think a video of the execution would be on youtube within a day. I mean, did people seriously think there would be no video? Anyway, now it's just a huge mess because the taunting caught on video made this a sectarian affair and the Sunnis are pissed. This could even drive away moderates. Can we not even get an execution right? Actually, I guess I shouldn't say "we" since word is the Bush Administration tried to get Maliki to hold off. It sucks when you can't control your puppet.

Moving on to a piece from Mary Snow on how Rudy Giuliani lost his playbook and it, oops, ended up in the hands of New York Daily News reporter Ben Smith. Okay, "lost" probably isn't the right word. The Giuliani camp claims it was taken on the 2006 campaign trail when he was stumping for republicans. I bet he's glad he did that now. The book holds all the things he would have to be worried about when running for president, such as his divorce. You know, if he runs. And he hasn't said he's gonna. And don't ask him yet either missy because he ain't telling. It's funny how these things happen and yet they still continue to write this stuff down. As you can probably tell, my heart doesn't exactly bleed for Giuliani. Hey, he better get used to this stuff now because that primary is going to be fun. He can just ask McCain. Speaking of McCain, Ben Smith says he got the book from a source sympathetic to a possible Giuliani opponent. After being a Rove victim, perhaps someone has picked up a trick or two.

Transitioning now to a Jeff Koiange piece on the opening of Oprah's Leadership Academy in Africa. I say yeah for Jeff for getting to do a good story. Anyway, about 150 girls will go to the academy and lots of celebs have come for the opening. There's Spike Lee and Chris Rock and others. What, no Angelina? The piece is then ruined for me when they put up a statement from Oprah wherein she basically gives up on US inner city schools and makes the wide generalization that all the kids in them don't want to learn. It goes on to say that they're only interested in getting things, such as ipods. First of all, there are plenty of kids in those schools who want to learn. And second, I'm sorry, but what talk show host is always flaunting her celeb friends and their/her material posessions? Am I hallucinating or does she not in fact do a whole show on her favorite things? Oprah sweetie I honestly greatly admire what you do, but let's not kid ourselves. When it comes to rampant consumerism and wacked out priorities, you're part of the problem. Awesome school though.

Next up we have a piece from Joe Johns that recaps the Sago Mine tragedy that happened a year ago. I cannot believe it's been a year already. I still find watching the clips of this upsetting. It's strange, I'm never really affected by stories like this, but watching it all go down live made it different. Talk about a roller coaster of highs and lows. I must have watched about seven hours straight, but it didn't feel like it at all. I'm assuming everyone is familiar with the details of what happened, but one thing you might not know is that last September two former Sago miners commited suicide, adding to the tragedy.

Keeping with the topic, Randi Kaye attempts to keep them honest. You see, six months ago federal mine safety legislation was passed, but not much has actually been done. After the tragedy, 360 did do some good stories on mine safety, but I wish they would have stuck with it a little further because the legislation ended up being weaker than some wanted. Also, I don't believe they covered the fact that Bush's MSHA chief actually walked out of a mine safety hearing. Unprecedented. If you follow that link you'll find a whole series on Sago. Anyway, back in the piece we learn that miners still don't have the technology they need to stay safe. In fact, thousands are still using air packs from the 70's. The Mine Association seems to think we're expecting too much too fast. Whatever.

This is what happens when you put people from the industry in charge of enforcing the rules. Sago had hundreds of violations. Also, whistleblower Jack Spadaro has publicly stated that the Labor Department has been unwilling to enforce safety regulations. Click here for more indepth reading. I really wish the media and the public would understand that Sago, Katrina, Iraq, and the next horrible thing that happens are all connected. And there WILL be a next horrible thing. They are all the same story of cronyism, arrogance, and greed. After Katrina we realized how messed up FEMA was and after Sago all eyes were on MSHA. Where will we be looking next? And maybe the better question is why aren't we shining a light on other agencies now before the next disaster happens? Every agency is stacked with political appointees. We let it all happen under our noses and now we pay. I only wish our watchdogs in the media could spend more time holding people accountable and less time tripping over each other to be the first one to report the latest sensational drivel.

The Shot tonight was a football player proposing to his girlfriend...a cheerleader. How appropriate. Let's see, I can be cynical or just say "aw". I guess I'll go with "aw". Tonight was hard to grade due to the big chunk missing, but I'll give it a B

Screencaps by sherynroyce.

Did you watch Sago happen live? Your views on Ford or the troop increase? Am I the only one that has issues with Oprah?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back Eliza.

4:13 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Thank you, anonymous person. :)

5:26 PM  
Anonymous courtney said...

Welcome back, Eliza! Good to see you.

You're not the only one with Oprah issues. I can't stand her. She's a hypocrite, as far as I'm concerned.

Make that a self-righteous, conceited, self-centered hypocrite.


Your comments about Dubya are spot on. Great post with lots of snark!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliza, Welcome back. Hope you and your family had a nice holiday.

I watched the Sago mine accident, and felt so bad for all of them and for Anderson after he had announced that some of them were alive, when they were all gone, but one. I know he was only reporting what the guy had told him and he kept saying that it had not been confirmed by CNN and was asking everyone who had told whom,what. I think he took a lot of heat for that. I can't believe they are not any closer to more updated safety measures than they were a year ago.

As for Oprah, don't get me started. I don't know why Anderson thinks he needs her to help his career, but I think Africa is a topic that he is so interested in, and this is why he will be covering it on Monday. I hope that he does ask her why she doesn't do more for the schools in the United States. I think it is a copout as that kids in the United States ask for material things. I'm sure there are some, but not all.

I just hope Bush watched the special last night. He needs to get a grip on what is going on over there. I think what those families did to let Tom Forman tell their stories was great. As he said this was only four stories out of 3003.


7:29 PM  
Blogger Sheryn said...

Welcome back!

On Oprah: Have you seen my post today? I think I found about 40 people who feel the same way!

I'm glad Anderson touched on the Sago Mine anniversary. I was wondering how he would handle it. I had read about the miners who had committed suicide. What a shame...

I thought Tom Foreman's special was a wonderful tribute to the 3000 soldiers who have perished. It is certainly sobering to put faces and personal accounts with the daily number KIA.

11:42 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Courtney-Thanks! Good to be back. Wow. Tell me what you really think re: Oprah. ;) It's not that I dislike her a lot, but I there are definite issues that irk me. The special on Monday better not just be a lovefest. I want some hard questions.

@Jan-Thanks. Yeah, I remember Anderson took a lot of heat over Sago, which was totally unfair. I, um, won't get you started on Oprah. ;)

@sheryn-My goodness, you opened quite a can of worms with your post, didn't you? I didn't know there was all that Oprah hate out there. It's a shame because she does great things and has some really good shows, but lately I find her hard to watch sometimes.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Sheryn said...

Hehe, Eliza. I was floored by the response.

I have to laugh because our comments on the 360 blog today are really similar.

I am not so much an Oprah hater. I just don't like how she goes about doing things nowadays. Its a bit much.

I'm not sure I can actually bring myself to watch the show on monday.
But you know I will.

5:26 PM  

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